Cirque du Soleil Files for Bankruptcy, Axes 3,500 Employees Worldwide

The employee cuts come from over 4,600 individuals who were furloughed back in March

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Cirque du Soleil has filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection in order to restructure its capital structure and has been forced to layoff just shy of 3,500 of its employees, the acrobatic entertainment company announced on Monday.

The company said that it has brought in zero revenue since COVID-19 forced the French-Canadian circus group to shut down all of its performances, including six in Las Vegas and suspend 44 of its live shows internationally back in March.

The cuts of 3,480 employees come from the over 4,600 individuals who were furloughed back in March, with multiple reports saying that Cirque du Soleil is nearly $1 billion in debt.

“For the past 36 years, Cirque du Soleil has been a highly successful and profitable organization. However, with zero revenues since the forced closure of all of our shows due to COVID-19, management had to act decisively to protect the Company’s future,” Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, said in a statement. “I look forward to rebuilding our operations and coming together to once again create the magical spectacle that is Cirque du Soleil for our millions of fans worldwide.”

Cirque du Soleil has now entered into a “stalking horse” bid from private equity backers in the U.S., Canada and China of $420 million that aims at drawing other bidders in an auction. The organization also received $300 million in funding as relief for affected employees, as well as assume some of its outstanding liabilities.

Cirque du Soleil also issued a statement on Twitter as well as an FAQ, saying that tickets to suspended shows are still valid, even though all shows, with the exception of “The Land of Fantasy” that reopened in China on June 3, are still postponed.

Among the Las Vegas shows impacted by the closing of the theaters were “Mystère” at Treasure Island, “O” at the Bellagio, “Zumanity” at New York New York, “KÀ” at the MGM Grand, “The Beatles LOVE” at The Mirage, “Michael Jackson ONE” at Mandalay Bay and “Blue Man Group.”