Insolvent and for sale | Three Quebec options for Just for Laughs

A tandem formed by Cirque du Soleil and KOTV, ComediHa! as well as Groupe Entourage, there are three Quebec options to acquire the Just for Laughs Group (JPR), we learned Press. Two other out-of-province suitors are vying for the comedy giant.

The three Quebec groups declined to comment on Tuesday Press gathered from several sources close to the case. As the May 6 deadline approaches, they are busy fine-tuning their respective final bids in hopes of getting their hands on the insolvent company.

Responsible for the sales process under Law on the Organization of Company Creditors (LACC), comptroller Christian Bourque of PwC reiterated during Tuesday’s exchange that he could not disclose the identity of the finalists.

However, given the limited number of potential buyers, Mr. Bourque notified the Quebec Supreme Court, which is overseeing the process, that the names were at risk of being revealed.

“It’s a small environment, I think people know that,” the comptroller said Monday before Judge David R. Collier. A little gossip may appear. We didn’t publish that (name of finalists). The range of serious buyers is not that big. »

Tax Alliance

Cirque du Soleil has decided to engage in cooperation with KOTV. We are talking about a partnership in which the Louis Morissette-led company would take care of the shows and the festival aspect, while the circus giant would inherit the TV shows, including the famous Gags.

As with Bell, Groupe CH and the American firm Creative Artists Agency, the strategy of this tandem is to ensure that the company that owns Montreal’s great amount of humor comes from Quebec – so that it can take advantage of tax breaks from the Quebec government.

Coming from a comedy background, Mr. Morissette graduated from the National School of Humor (1996) and was one of the founding members of Les Mecs musicales (with Alex Perron and Jean-François Baril). He was the lead writer and art director Goodbye in 2003, 2008, 2010 and 2011, in addition to playing roles in the shows from 2011 to 2015.

Cirque du Soleil is controlled by the Canadian firm Catalyst Capital and other US firms specializing in credit and debt strategies.

Quebecor, indirectly

ComediHa!, which counts Quebecor among its minority shareholders as of 2018, as well as Entourage Group, which has partnered with an international player on the matter, have similarities to JPR. The two companies already have well-established expertise in program production, television production and distribution.

ComediHa has its roots in Quebec! resumed production of the musical Waitress, originally produced by JPR, in the wake of its financial debacle. The company is also behind Quebec’s comedy festival, ComediHa! Fest-Quebec. For his part, Entourage Group President Eric Young worked at JPR at the turn of the 20th century before starting his own company.

At the time of writing, the identity of two other groups originating from areas outside of Quebec could not be determined.

According to the schedule of the latest PwC report, the administrator was supposed to select the winner on May 10. With the deadline fast approaching, JPR has just contacted the Quebec government in hopes of continuing to benefit from its financial support.

“Therefore, the imminent resumption of activities is very possible, without forgetting that we could manage to organize an event (a humor festival) this summer, but above all to restart full operations in order to come back very strong in 2025,” writes the president. JPR Executive and Financial Director, Alain Boucher.

Press he could consult a letter reminding the Legault government of the importance of its “support” for “relaunching the biggest humor festival in the world”. In 2023, the funny tall mass received a subsidy of 1.8 million from Quebec and a similar amount from the Trudeau government.

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.

Read “Disassembly Excluded”

Quebec finalists in brief


  • Created: 2011
  • Headquarters: Montreal
  • President: Louis Morissette
  • Field of activity: television production
  • Divisions: KOTV (TV), KO24 (movies), KO Scène (shows), KO Media/Publishing (magazines and books)

Cirque du Soleil

  • Established: 1984
  • Headquarters: Montreal
  • President and CEO: Stéphane Lefebvre
  • Sector of activity: performance production, multimedia production, themes and special events


  • Established: 1997
  • Company headquarters: Quebec
  • President and CEO: Sylvain Parent-Bédard
  • Areas of activity: production of performances and programs, management of artists, distribution
  • Offices: Montreal and Hollywood

Escort group

  • Created: 2007
  • Company headquarters: Longueuil
  • President: Eric Young
  • Industry: program production, art management, television, media, publishing and music

Find out more

  • 15
    Prospective buyers who have signed non-disclosure agreements to have access to JPR books

    Source: pwc

    Finalists selected by PwC to submit a buyout offer

    Source: pwc

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