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Cirque du Soleil in China: A Wake-Up Call or a Day of Reckoning?

Case 9 40 2023 003
Case published in the International Journal of Case Studies in Management, Vol. 21, No. 1
Languages : 
  • English
  • strategy development,
  • strategy execution,
  • internationalization,
  • entry mode,
  • leadership
Year of production : 
Registration date : 
Teaching notes included : 

Established in 1984, Cirque du Soleil (CdS) reinvented the circus, creating one of the industry’s most iconic creative brands. In 2015, Guy Laliberté, CdS’s leader, sold the organization to a private equity consortium led by Texas-based investment group TPG, Chinese real estate developer Fosun, and Quebec financial investor Caisse de Dépôt. This ownership change introduced a strategic shift and a renewed focus on the Chinese market – a market in which CdS had attempted to establish permanent operations with limited commercial success since 2007. The case, which is set in June 2020, focuses on the period between 2015, when the ownership change took place, and June 30, 2020, when Cirque filed for protection from its creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (“CCAA”) in Canada and Chapter 15 in the United States so that it could restructure its capital. It explores the company’s decisions regarding market entry and product selection and the challenges it encountered.

Primary domain : 
Management  - Strategy
Secondary domain : 
International business
Sectors : 
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
Source : 
HEC Montréal
Type : 
Traditional case (Decision-making case)
Type of data used in the production of the case : 
Factual data that is not public wherein the identity of the company/person is disclosed
Event location : 
China and world
Year of start of the event : 
Year the event ended : 
Not available
Business size : 
Large enterprise
Teaching objectives

Develop analytical skills (strategy formulation, organizational structure design or assessment, setting strategy implementation mechanisms, etc.) for topics such as strategy development and execution, internationalization, entry mode, and leadership.