One Drop Founder Guy Laliberte Looking to Sell 20-30% of Cirque du Soleil

TAGs: big one for one drop, Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberte, Lee Davy, MGM Grand, One Drop

Cirque du Soleil and the One Drop founder, Guy Laliberte, is looking to sell 20-30% of his entertainment company, in a bid to breathe new life into limp balance sheets.

One Drop Founder Guy Laliberte Looking to Sell 20-30% of Cirque du SoleilThe first Cirque du Soleil show I watched was Ka at the MGM Grand. It’s one of my fondest memories. It was the first date I had with my wife. After the show I was a big fan. Each year, when I returned to Las Vegas, I would make sure that I put some money aside to have my Cirque fix.

Over the years I have seen O at The Bellagio, Beatles LOVE at The Mirage, and Michael Jackson “ONE” at Mandalay Bay. With the exception of Michael Jackson “ONE” – the greatest show I have ever watched – there was too much sameness with Love, O and Ka. Too many people jumping around to a beat I didn’t understand. Beatles LOVE was particularly disappointing given the great songs that they had to play with (a mistake they did not make with ONE).

I have had my Cirque fix. I won’t be going back – with the exception of another look at ONE – and I wonder how many people share my view? Following the Cirque balance sheets will bring you to the conclusion that’s is more than they would care to have.

That’s a shame.

As soon as Guy Laliberte created the BIG ONE for ONE DROP he became one of us. Once a visionary, always a visionary. From the innovative dance moves, to the first million dollar buy-in event that poker had ever seen. Cut him open and red noses, chips and cash will spill onto the floor.

The Wall Street Journal’s, Alexandra Berzon, has broken a story detailing the struggles that Cirque du Soleil is experiencing as a viable business. According to the article, in 2008, Laliberte agreed to sell 20% to a Dubai government-owned real estate company for $545m, with $275m heading to his personal bank account. Five years later he would bough a chunk of that back, but by this time his business had declined by 20% from a $2.7 billion business, to one worth $2.2 billion.

2012 was the first time in the company’s recent history that it didn’t make a profit. The cost cutting axe came out. Dead wood was set alight, and in 2013 they were back in the black. Unfortunately, that year marked another first for the company after acrobat Sarah Guyard-Guillot fell to her death during a performance of Ka at the MGM Grand. It was the first time a performer had died during a Cirque du Soleil performance.

The article suggests that Laliberte is back in the market for a buyer. Just like 2008 he is looking to sell between 20-30% of his company to outside investors. It’s envisaged that a savvier strategic partner will help the brand expand beyond the great work it has done in Las Vegas.

I hope it works out.

I really do.

The Cirque du Soleil brand was synonymous with poker way before the One Drop was devised, and even more so since. How many of us use a Cirque du Soleil show as a way to unwind in between the huff and puff of the World Series of Poker?

Long may it continue.


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