A group of Cirque du Soleil creditors has announced it will take control of the heavily indebted Canadian circus troupe.

Suitors had until Tuesday afternoon to better the proposal of the dozen lenders, led by the Canadian fund Catalyst Capital Group.

The world's most famous circus troupe, placed under the protection of the courts, later said that the proposal -- estimated at more than $1.2 billion -- had not been topped, according to Canadian media.

The creditors' offer will still have to be validated by the Quebec courts in the coming weeks.

According to the Globe and Mail, the creditors will inject $300 million to $375 million into the circus and also agree to reduce the circus's guaranteed debt from $1.1 billion to $300 million.

Founded in Quebec in 1984, Cirque du Soleil has become a cultural icon
Founded in Quebec in 1984, Cirque du Soleil has become a cultural icon AFP / Sebastien St-Jean

Gabriel de Alba, managing director of Catalyst, welcomed the "great result for Cirque", its employees, artists and partners, in an email sent to AFP.

"Now with the company's recent missteps put behind, we are eager to close the transaction quickly and support the company as it rekindles the magic and artistry that have made Cirque du Soleil an iconic global brand and creative force," he said.

Founded in Quebec in 1984, the troupe of acrobats had to cancel 44 productions around the world in March, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It has laid off 4,679 acrobats and technicians, 95 percent of its employees.

The agreement with the group of creditors, announced in mid-July, replaces the takeover offer that it concluded at the end of June with its current shareholders, the American TPG and Chinese Fosun, as well as the Caisse de deposit and placement of Quebec (CDPQ).