Caisse investing further in Cirque de Soleil, becoming Alstom’s largest shareholder and selling part of stake in IT firm

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Copyright : VASILIS VERVERIDIS // 123RFThe Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is boosting its current investment in the Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group.

The investment will see the Caisse buy shares currently owned by the company’s founder Guy Laliberté and bring its holdings to nearly 20 per cent. Laliberté will remain creatively involved in the company and will retain certain economic interests.

“We are happy to strengthen our presence among shareholders of Cirque du Soleil, an iconic entertainment brand with worldwide renown,” said Charles Emond, president and chief executive officer of the Caisse, in a press release. “CDPQ intends to continue backing Cirque du Soleil in its development projects that have showcased Quebecers’ creativity and expertise for several decades.”

The Caisse first became a Cirque du Soleil shareholder in 2015.

In other investment news, the Caisse is also set to become the largest shareholder of the French rail transportation company Alstom, as part of Alstom’s proposed deal to acquire Bombardier Transportation.

As part of the transaction, the Caisse has agreed to convert its current holdings in Bombardier into shares of Alstom. As well, the Caisse is investing an additional €700 million in the company, which will bring its total investment range from €2.63B to €2.78B, depending on closing conditions.

The deal will mean the Caisse will hold approximately 18 per cent of the company’s shares and two seats on its board of directors.

“The combination of Bombardier Transportation and Alstom, which is recognized for its capacity to manage and execute projects, strengthens the company’s global leadership in sustainable mobility,” said Emond, in a press release. “It’s an investment in a company that is well positioned to harness the growth of a promising sector – which is perfectly aligned with our strategy and will produce attractive returns for our depositors over the long term.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2021.

Further, the Caisse is selling approximately 6.01 million class-A shares in CGI, an independent information technology and business consulting services firm, back to the company for cancellation. The CGI has announced its intent to repurchase these shares at $99.85, representing a discount to the stock’s closing price on Feb. 14, 2020 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Caisse will still own about 31.4 million class-A shares of the CGI, totalling about 11.9 per cent of its total outstanding shares.

“Once again this year, CGI continues to produce excellent results for its shareholders, and this transaction is an opportunity for la Caisse to monetize a portion of our investment to the benefit of our depositors,” noted Emond, in another release. “La Caisse remains a significant shareholder of CGI and intends to continue supporting the growth and globalization of this information technology leader.”

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