On August 5, 2008, Istithmar World Capital and Nakheel acquired a 20 per cent interest in Cirque du Soleil, the world's leading live entertainment company providing high-quality artistic entertainment, thereby expanding into the live entertainment arena. The remainder of the business will continue to be owned by Cirque du Soleil's founder, Guy Laliberté. Québec-based Cirque du Soleil has annual sales in excess of US$700 million and nearly four thousand employees, including one thousand artists, hailing from close to 50 different countries. In 2008, the Cirque has presented 18 shows simultaneously around the world, attracting nearly ten million visitors a year, making it one of the world's largest entertainment businesses.
Istithmar World Capital, the private equity and alternative investment arm of Istithmar World, is headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with offices in Shanghai, China. Established in 2003, Istithmar World Capital is a Dubai World company with $6 billion worth of assets under management. Since inception, Istithmar World Capital has invested in more than 35 companies, with an aggregate enterprise value of US$9 billion. Istithmar World Capital has successfully established itself as a major investment company with a broad portfolio of successful firms in markets ranging from North America and Europe to the Middle East and Far East, as well as across a variety of sectors ranging from consumer to industrial and financial services.
Nakheel is one of the world's largest privately held real estate developers and supervises a portfolio of businesses and projects for the Dubai government across five continents and more than one hundred countries. Nakheel is developing an iconic portfolio of innovative landmark projects in Dubai, and now in key markets around the globe, across a range of sectors — residential, commercial, hotels, retail and leisure. Nakheel's projects are conservatively estimated to be worth US$80 billion.
Istithmar World's team was led in-house by legal counsel Alex Doherty and James McCarthy, and Nakheel was represented in-house by deputy head of legal Antonia Brennan. Istithmar World and Nakheel were also represented by Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton LLP, with a team comprised of Daniel S. Sternberg, David I. Gottlieb and Grant M. Binder, and by Stikeman Elliott LLP with a team comprised of John W. Leopold, Peter Castiel, Sophie Lamonde, Kristina Heese, Kim Le (corporate); Franco Gadoury and Frank Mathieu (tax); Justine Whitehead (intellectual property); Gary Nachshen (benefits); and Howard Rosenoff (financing).
Cirque du Soleil was represented by Ogilvy Renault LLP with a team comprised of Jean-Pierre Colpron, Éric Stevens, Patrick M. Shea, Nicolas Labrecque, Peter Wiazowski, David Millette and Mathieu Deschamps (corporate); Derek Chiasson (tax); Louis Gouin, Alain Ricard and Michèle Friel (financing); Andrew Bleau (securities); Thierry Dorval (competition and regulatory); Martin Valasek, Azim Hussain, Dominic Dupoy and Alejandro Manevich (international/civil law matters); Miguel Manzano and Hélène Gélinas (real estate); Leanne Souquet (intellectual property); Jean Piette (environment); and Marc S. Benoit (employment).