04/20/2015 10:20 EDT | Updated 06/20/2015 01:12 EDT

Cirque du Soleil sells majority stake to U.S. private equity firm

MONTREAL - The Cirque de Soleil has signed a deal to sell a majority stake in the famed circus group to U.S. private equity firm TPG for an undisclosed price.Cirque founder Guy Laliberte will maintain a stake in the Montreal-based company and continue to provide strategic and creative input.Chinese investment firm Fosun and Quebec pension fund manager the Caisse de depot will hold minority stakes.The agreement will also see Quebec businessman Mitch Garber become chairman of the company.TPG says its experience building brands like J. Crew and Neiman Marcus, along with its strong media and entertainment relationships, will provide Cirque with new revenue opportunities.The new owners plan to expand Cirque's presence in China. They also want to expand third-party licensing deals, digital media and ticket sales.The sale expected to close in the third quarter.The buyers have agreed to terms that will ensure Montreal — home of about 1,400 employees — remains Cirque's international creative and management headquarters.Since beginning in 1984, Cirque has played to almost 160 million spectators in more than 330 cities in some 48 countries.