Dubai acquires a piece of Cirque du Soleil

Istithmar World and Nakheel, companies owned by the government of Dubai, have jointly acquired a 20% stake in entertainment empire Cirque du Soleil.

Under the terms of the agreement, the remainder of the business will continue to be owned by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte and his team.

Laliberte said the partnership allows him to "retain control of my business with the support and input of a partner that is recognized and highly respected throughout the world."

Nakheel and Cirque du Soleil announced a 15-year partnership in May 2007 to develop a permanent show on Palm Jumeirah, the artificial island created by Nakheel in Dubai. The two companies will jointly design and build a 1,800-seat theater for the show.

Quebec-based Cirque du Soleil currently produces 18 shows worldwide, blending traditional circus acts with dance, music and mime. It has annual sales in excess of $700 million.

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