Cirque Sells 20% Stake to Dubai

From the Cirque Fascination newsletter comes info that Cirque Du Soleil has sold a 20% stake to Dubai.

From The National:

Istithmar World, the investment arm of Dubai World, and Nakheel, one of the largest developers in the country, have acquired a 20 per cent stake in Cirque du Soleil, both companies announced yesterday.

Cirque du Soleil, based in Quebec, has annual sales in excess of US$700 million (Dh2.6 billion) and attracts nearly 10 million visitors a year, making it one of the world’s largest entertainment companies. Under the terms of the agreement, the remainder of the business will continue to be owned by Cirque du Soleil’s founder, Guy Laliberté, and his team.


“In addition to establishing a permanent theatre in Dubai [on the Palm Jumeirah] we will open a show production office, a ticketing company and a technical equipment and set design rental company,” said Mr Laliberté.

(emphasis added by me)

More here in a column from "Report on Business" in the Canadian Globe and Mail paper:

The 48-year-old Mr. Laliberté, a high school dropout who is worth $1.7-billion (U.S.), appears to have found the perfect such partner in Dubai government-owned property developer Nakheel and its sister investment arm Istithmar World, which together are buying a 20-per-cent stake in the Montreal-based Cirque.

The scale of what is being built in Dubai – an almost Disney-like city sprawling over the desert in the United Arab Emirates – defies nature and any semblance of balance. Where else can you ski indoors while the temperature outside hovers above 40 C? In Dubai, fountains and streams abound despite a total absence of any fresh water source. Nakheel has built an island in the shape of a palm tree – the Palm Jumeirah, where the Cirque will launch a permanent show in 2011 – and has even wilder projects in the works.