Cirque du Soleil buys Magic Show Company

Cirque du Soleil is extending its long and wide reach into a new realm: magic.

Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, the global performing arts conglomerate known for its live acrobatic circus presentations, announced Wednesday morning that it has acquired The Works Entertainment, makers of the magic franchise Illusionists and other shows.

The Cirque diversifies the types of shows under its aegis. It acquired Blue Man Group in 2017, then VStar Entertainment Group – a more child- and family-oriented company – last year. His purchase of the creators of The Illusionists, who brought live magic to Broadway and other stages worldwide, would be one of his first forays into magic.

“For us, the play is magical,” said Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil. He said Cirque became interested in The Works because of the similarity in performance and business models of the two companies.

“Like us, they don’t have stars,” Mr. Lamarre said. “The show is the star, and they constantly use different magicians. The fact that they don’t focus on the stars gives you scalability.

Scalability has been key to the Cirque model; the company sells 17 million tickets a year for its various shows, which have taken place in 450 cities. Terms of the deal with The Works were not made public, but Mr Lamarre said the price was “approximately $40 million”.

For now, the illusionists’ shows will remain largely the same and separate from the circus shows, Mr. Lamarre said.

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Simon Painter, creative producer and co-founder of The Works, said: “It’s definitely been one of the most exciting days of my life.” He said he looks forward to the expansion and access to new markets that Cirque will provide.

Mr Painter said: “When the first journalist interviewed me about illusionists in 2011, I said, ‘I want to do for magic what Cirque du Soleil did for circus’, and now we we are there.

Brian L. Hartfield