Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dubai Owns 20% of Cirque du Soleil

In follow up to our June 19th post, it has been confirmed that Dubai property developer Nakheel and investment company Istithmar World Capital have purchased 20% of Cirque du Soleil. Nakheel and Istithmar are part of Dubai World, a diversified holding company owned by the government of Dubai. The agreement keeps control of the company in the hands of founder Guy Laliberte, putting to rest for now speculation that the troupe would be sold outright.

"This partnership is the best of both worlds for me and my management team," Laliberte said in a joint statement with Nakheel and Istithmar. "We can keep control of our creative challenges and operations while accelerating our growth doing projects all over the world."

Nakheel, one of Dubai's biggest developers, and Cirque du Soleil agreed in May to build a theatre on Palm Jumeirah, a massive palm-shaped island housing development Nakheel is building in the Persian Gulf. The 1,800 seat facility is expected to house a permanent Cirque du Soleil show beginning in summer 2011. More than 100,000 visitors attended a monthlong run of a Cirque du Soleil performance in Dubai last year, the companies said.

In June, Cirque du Soleil denied media reports that it was for sale. A spokeswoman at the time said the company is approached regularly about possible deals, but that a report that it had received takeover bids from Dubai worth close to $2 billion was false.

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