- Jim Murren, the former CEO of MGM, is one of the board members of Cirque du Soleil.
- He became part of the company’s leadership after a group of lenders assumed control over the show operator.
- Cirque du Soleil filed for bankruptcy protection in June after the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the entertainment industry.
- Murren resigned from MGM in March this year to join Gov. Steve Sisolak’s COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force.
The bankruptcy of Cirque du Soleil is over, thanks to creditors who moved to take ownership of the Canada-based circus operator. The takeover comes with two fresh board members, one of them being former MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren.
Toronto-based private investment firm Catalyst Capital Group led a group of other lenders to assume control of Cirque du Soleil. The creditors exited the show operator from bankruptcy through the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) of Canada and Chapter 15 in the United States.
“The closing of this recapitalization marks a significant milestone for Cirque du Soleil, as it provides the company with a solid foundation for a successful relaunch,” explains a release on the ownership reorganization.
Cirque du Soleil got into debt following the coronavirus pandemic shutdown of the entertainment industry around the world. This year saw the company suspend all its 44 shows worldwide and furlough 95% of its 4,679 workers. Cirque filed for bankruptcy protection in June.
At the time of the shutdown, the company had several shows in Las Vegas at properties such as Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Bellagio, and New York-New York.
Many Las Vegas travelers didn’t find a Las Vegas trip complete without experiencing a show from Cirque du Soleil. The largest gaming operator on the Strip, MGM Resorts, has been a longstanding official partner of the circus production firm.
The new leadership of Cirque will have abundant knowledge about Las Vegas because of Murren, the co-chairman of the board. He enters the company’s boardroom with over thirty years of executive leadership in Nevada’s gaming industry.
Murren was the CEO of MGM from 2008 to March this year. He resigned to head the Gov. Steve Sisolak’s COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force and is still the body’s chairman.
“As a company with global opportunities and the ability to grow quickly, it is critical to Cirque’s successful expansion — and to its customers and partners — that we continuously execute on the right strategies,” said Murren.
Daniel Lamarre, the President and CEO of Cirque, will still serve in his position under the new leadership. Murren says he has known Lamarre for years.
The managing director and partner at Catalyst Gabriel de Alba will co-chair the board with Murren.
“I am very pleased to co-chair the Board with Jim Murren, whose leadership and knowledge of the industry is unparalleled,” he said.
Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, the owner and operator of 18 casinos in British Columbia and Alberta, is part of Catalyst’s investment portfolio.
MGM says it will continue partnering with Cirque du Soleil and will bring back Cirque’s shows once the state permits.