Dubai firms acquire 20% stake in Cirque


Dubai investors have acquired a 20% stake in Canada's Cirque du Soleil for an undisclosed sum.

Property developer Nakheel, the builder of about 300 palm-shaped islands off the Dubai coast, and Istithmar World Capital have purchased the stake that will leave control of the privately held circus troupe with founder Guy Laliberte.

"This partnership is the best of both worlds for me and my management team," Laliberte said Wednesday in a joint statement with Nakheel and Istithmar.

Montreal-based Cirque, which has annual sales of about $700 million and attracts nearly 10 million fans a year, had denied media reports in recent months that it was entertaining buyout offers.

In addition to a permanent theater, Cirque will open a production office in Dubai, a ticketing company and an equipment and set-design rental company. (partialdiff)