The Globe and Mail reported today that bidders have been given until next week to submit offers to purchase founder Guy Laliberte's controlling stake in the Cirque.
The newspaper cited sources as saying Laliberte has agreed to sell all but 10 per cent of his share.
Laliberte owns 90 per cent of the internationally renowned Cirque, with the rest controlled by investors in Dubai.
Francois Legault, leader of the Coalition for Quebec's Future, says Premier Philippe Couillard cannot afford to lose a head office that employs 1,400 people in Montreal.
Legault says all Quebecers would be disappointed if the Cirque ended up in foreign hands.
Parti Quebecois leadership candidate Pierre Peladeau believes the provincial pension-fund manager could rustle up investors to purchase the majority share in the Cirque.
Economy Minister Jacques Daoust says the government's leeway to intervene is limited although it could lobby after any transaction to have the head office stay in Quebec.