Just for Laughs Sale | Disassembly excluded

According to the person responsible for the process, there is enough interest in Groupe Just for Laughs (JPR) to consider selling it in a single block rather than opting for a dismantling. Five finalists covet the insolvent comedy giant.

Outside Quebec Superior Court on Monday, administrator Christian Bourque of PwC offered an overview of the sale process for the company, which still benefits from protection Law on the Organization of Company Creditors (LACC).

“We have serious buyers who are interested in the entire company,” he explained before Judge David R. Collier. They were selected as finalists for the second phase. »

Selling JPR in different blocks, a scenario mentioned in documents sent to potential buyers by PwC last month, would be “more complicated”, Mr Bourque explained.

In particular, this scenario would set the table for negotiations between buyers to enter into licensing agreements and use the humor group’s brand, he added. However, the PwC representative did not reveal the identity of the potential buyers. Basically, the five finalists should not know who they are competing against. That doesn’t mean there won’t be leaks, Mr. Bourque said.

“It’s a small environment, I think people know that,” the comptroller said. A little gossip may appear. We didn’t reveal it. The range of serious buyers is not that big. »

According to the documents consulted Press, JPR could split in two in a piecemeal sale scenario. Brands, festivals, tours and everything related to visual production – drawn mostly from festival activities – would be grouped together in one block. Different catalogs of the group, in which we can find a favorite show Gagsthey would find themselves in the second block.


One thing is for sure, the humor specialist’s three shareholders – Bell (26%), Groupe CH (25%) and US firm Creative Artist Agency (49%) – are currently out of the game. In 2018, they bought the company from founder and former president Gilbert Rozon, who was tainted by sexual abuse allegations. He has since been cleared of criminal charges.

No fewer than 15 potential buyers have signed non-disclosure agreements to have access to JPR’s books since early March. Before that, PwC approached almost 130 potential buyers.

“The process involved a large number of declarations of intent,” Mr Bourque told the judge.

From mid-April, three individual meetings were held with each of the finalists, he revealed. The interviews served to comb through several elements: different areas of the company, its finances, and also everything that revolves around the show. Gags. The franchise is expected to generate annual revenues in excess of 4.5 million for the next several years.

When it went into hiding from its creditors on March 5, JPR had secured and unsecured debts of around 50 million. The National Bank was the main guarantor (17 million) of the humor specialist.

Mr. Bourque went back to court and asked for an extension until May 31, during which JPR can continue to benefit from the CCAA’s protection. The controller wants more time to complete the sale of the company. Judge Collier agreed to PwC’s request.

Several other topics were addressed by the controller in his testimony. Overview:

Stolen money: half back

According to the comptroller, JPR should be able to recover about half of the $814,000 it stole last year in a classic email scam. The first collection of USD 352,000 already took place last March. “There should be another success for less money,” Mr Bourque said. That should end this chapter and get back less than half (fraud). »This means that JPR will leave several hundred thousand dollars on the table.

Paid web giants

While JPR is safe from its creditors, the company continues to pay what it considers “essential suppliers”. These include social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. The reason? They allow the company to “monetize” its various content, Mr Bourque argued before the judge. In principle, JPR was to have the right to pay up to $250,000, which is $100,000 more than it has been allowed in CCAA proceedings to date.

Still for sale

It was brokerage firm Colliers that inherited the mandate to sell JPR’s headquarters on Saint-Laurent Boulevard in downtown Montreal. An offer was made but Mr Bourque said it was not “interesting”. He explained to the judge that he would like to sell the property to a buyer specializing in humor. Otherwise, the deadlines will be extended. On the Montreal assessment, the property is valued at close to 5 million.

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    JPR Division: Festivals, TV Production, Show Production, Artist Management, Content Distribution, Digital Production, Corporate Events.

    Source: just for laughs

    Presentation of the first Just for Laughs festival.

    Source: just for laughs

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