06/30/2015 17:17 EDT | Updated 06/30/2016 01:12 EDT

Feds approve Cirque du Soleil sale to group headed by U.S. private equity firm

OTTAWA - The federal government has approved the sale of Cirque du Soleil to a group headed by a U.S. private equity firm and its Chinese partners.Industry Minister James Moore said Tuesday that the application from TPG VII CDS Holdings to acquire the 31-year-old famed circus was deemed an overall economic benefit for Canada.The buyers have committed to maintain the Cirque's strategic decision-making and creative and artistic development at its Montreal headquarters and ensure that at least 70 per cent of the Cirque's senior management in Canada is Canadian.TPG will also provide annual progress reports to the federal government.Cirque founder Guy Laliberte announced in April that he was selling a majority stake in the company he founded in 1984 for an undisclosed price.The transaction reportedly valued at around $1.5 billion will also see partner Dubai World sell its 10 per cent stake.TPG is acquiring a 60 per cent stake, Chinese investment firm Fosun will have a 20 per cent stake and Quebec pension fund manager the Caisse de depot another 10 per cent.Laliberte will maintain a 10 per cent stake in the company through his family trust and will also continue to provide strategic and creative input.The sale is expected to close in the third quarter.