Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group has announced its acquisition of the Works Entertainment, the creative and production company behind shows like the live magic franchise “The Illusionists.”
This deal is the third acquisition for the group in about three years, says president and CEO Daniel Lamarre. It acquired Blue Man Group in 2017 and VStar Entertainment Group in 2018.
Lamarre confirms the deal was for about $40 million, and tells Variety that the Works was appealing as the nature of its shows was scalable and allows Cirque du Soleil to expand. Lamarre says Cirque du Soleil is the only entertainment company that tours in 450 cities globally, and he hopes to grow that number in the future.
“We were never in the magic world the way that the Works has been,” Lamarre says. “With this concept where there are several magicians participating in the same show, it allows us to make it scalable, meaning we can have two-five magic shows traveling around the world.”
The Works is known for live magic shows like “The Illusionists” and content developed from the big screen like “Now You See Me Live,” based on the 2013 heist film about criminal magicians. The Works’ portfolio also includes circus arts shows like “Circus 1903 — The Golden Age of Circus,” cabaret-style shows, and musical theater productions.
Cirque du Soleil will have a hands-off approach in regards to the content of the Works’ shows, Lamarre says. To keep each brand relevant, the idea is not to “mix genres,” but to leverage the creative capabilities of the companies Cirque du Soleil has acquired.
Since the acquisition of Blue Man Group two years ago, Lamarre claims the company’s profitability has “quadrupled.” He hopes to keep adding new cities to the roster every year — recently added Cirque du Soleil tours have been in China and India — and first up is planning stops in more cities in India.
Lamarre says the company is eyeing more expansions and development in the future, but that identifying complementary artistic content is the first priority. “In an ideal world, we would like to acquire one new organization per year. We’re not doing it for those conditions,” he says.
“We’re very excited that this strategy we have developed three years ago is working,” Lamarre adds. “We always said that we wanted to become a global leader of entertainment and live entertainment, and we’re gold.”