Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Dubai buys 20% of Cirque du Soleil

Original Article
Istithmar World, the investment arm of Dubai World, and Nakheel, one of the largest developers in the country, have acquired an as-yet undisclosed 20 per cent stake in Cirque du Soleil, both companies announced earlier today.

The Quebec-based Cirque du Soleil 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 Lalibert√© and his team.

“In the coming weeks we will implement a development structure that will allow us to become a major player in Dubai,” Mr Lalibert√© said. “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,” he added.

Last May Nakheel and Cirque du Soleil announced a 15-year partnership to develop a permanent show on the man-made Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. The two organisations will jointly design and build a 1,800-seat theatre that will be home to the first-ever permanent Cirque show to be staged outside of the US and the Far East.

The statement added that designs for the theatre and custom-produced show are “underway”. Palm Jumeirah will also host Cirque du Soleil’s world famous touring show “Alegria” in spring of next year as a prelude to the permanent show which is due to open on the island in the summer of 2011.

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