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“The reason we lost so much money with Bombardier was because of the management structure,” Marissal added.
For Marissal, the time has come to change the upper management at the Cirque du Soleil, given their track record over the past five years.
“If we’re putting in $275 million of our taxpayers’ money, I think we should have a bit of pull,” he said. “TPG does this systematically. They buy companies, often at too high a price. They’re a bit of a cowboy company. And I don’t think we should just give them a cheque and cross our fingers that everything will turn out right … these guys are mercenaries of high finance. They buy things left and right, they have no particular expertise. … They don’t have any attachment to the Cirque. The results are bad for the past few years. It’s like Cirque co-founder Gilles Ste-Croix said — they create shows that don’t work because they don’t understand the DNA of the Cirque du Soleil.”
There are reportedly six bids to acquire the Cirque, with both Laliberté and Québecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau interested in buying the company. Fitzgibbon has been tight-lipped on the details of the US$200-million loan to the TPG consortium, but has said that if TPG were to sell the Cirque at a later date the Quebec government would have the first right of refusal.
The next court date is July 10 and the only thing clear right now is that the Lamarre/TPG plan cannot move forward legally without the support of the majority of the lenders.