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UPDATE 1-Cirque du Soleil emerges from bankruptcy protection

(Adds details on deal with creditors, background)

Nov 24 (Reuters) - Canada’s Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group said on Tuesday it had emerged from bankruptcy, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the famed circus operator to cancel shows and lay off artists earlier this year.

The once high-flying Cirque, which grew from a troupe of street performers in the 1980s to a company with global reach, has slashed about 95% of its workforce and suspended shows due to the pandemic.

It had filed for bankruptcy protection in June and reached a new purchase agreement with secured lenders shortly after.

A group of creditors, led by Catalyst Capital Group, had bid to take control of the Montreal-based circus group in July, replacing a deal with Cirque shareholders that included debt financing from a Quebec government body.

As a part of the deal with its creditors, Cirque said it would add the former chief executive officer of MGM Resorts Jim Murren and Gabriel de Alba, a partner at Catalyst Capital Group, to its board.

Daniel Lamarre will continue as the chief executive officer of Cirque and the company will keep its headquarters in Montreal.

The company said here it had closed the purchase agreement with its secured lenders to emerge from the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in Canada and Chapter 15 in the United States.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

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