Cirque du Soleil and secured creditors near rival bid for troupe

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Cirque du Soleil and its secured creditors are close to reaching a agreement on a second stalking horse bid for the financially strapped entertainment group, after lenders opposed a deal with shareholders including TPG Capital and Fosun International, a Canadian court heard on Friday.

Canada’s once high-flying Cirque has received protection from creditors as it restructures after the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to cancel shows and lay off artists. The Montreal-based entertainment company filed for bankruptcy in late June.

Details about the rival bid by secured creditors, which sets the low-end bar for buying the company’s remaining assets, were not disclosed by the parties involved in the dial-in hearing on Friday.

Details are expected to be presented in court next week pending approval from the Cirque board.

Lenders had previously dismissed a stalking horse bid from a group of investors, including private equity firm TPG [TPG.UL], and Fosun, a Canadian pension fund and a Quebec government body as inadequate.

The lenders would end up getting a 40% stake in the restructured Cirque, under the TPG consortium’s proposal.

Any stalking horse bid would require court approval.

Cirque had almost $1.5 billion in liabilities as of December 2019.

Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Richard Chang