Consortium nabs stake in Cirque

Dubai group snags 20% share in company

A consortium of investors based in Dubai has acquired a 20% stake in Cirque du Soleil.

News of the deal comes less than two months after Cirque du Soleil denied that it would accept takeover bids from outside financial interests.

Istithmar World, which functions as the investment arm of Dubai World, and Nakheel, one of the world’s largest real estate developers, are partnered for the venture.

Guy Laliberte, the founder of Cirque du Soleil, owns 95% of the entertainment giant whose average yearly sales reach $700 million.

“This partnership is a unique opportunity that puts forward the dream I have forged for Cirque du Soleil to continue at another level,” Laliberte said. “With this partnership, I can retain control of my business with the support and input of a partner that is recognized and highly respected throughout the world.”

Nakheel and Cirque had previously announced a partnership last year to build a new 1,800-seat theater to house a specially created resident show in Dubai, scheduled to open in the summer of 2011.

Cirque is currently producing 18 shows around the world, with new productions scheduled for Macau, Tokyo and Las Vegas over the next three months.

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