Cirque du Soleil has filed for creditor protection in Canada while it develops a plan to restart its business amid the pandemic.

The creator of many of the most popular shows in Las Vegas blamed the “immense disruption and forced show closures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

The Montreal-based circus arts show company temporarily suspended productions around the world in March because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Cirque du Soleil also announced the termination of approximately 3,480 employees previously furloughed in March.

In connection with the filing, Cirque du Soleil said it has entered into a purchase agreement with existing shareholders TPG, Fosun and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, as well as Investissement Quebec as a debt provider.

It said the sponsors’ bid includes an intent to rehire a substantial majority of the terminated employees, business conditions allowing, when operations can resume.

The company added that as shows in Las Vegas and Orlando are expected to resume before other shows, the artists and show staff of the resident shows division are not affected.

The Las Vegas shows that were cancelled included O at the Bellagio, KA at the MGM Grand, The Beatles LOVE at the Mirage, Mystere at Treasure Island, Zumanity at New York-New York and Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay.

Cirque du Soleil shows in Austin, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Montreal, Boston, Tel Aviv, Meloneras in Spain, Munich, Costa Mesa, California, Denver and the Australian cities of Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth were also cancelled.

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