MONTREAL, Feb. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon has
succeeded in turning comedy into a valued artistic discipline and transforming
it into a recognized Québec product, a magnet for tourists, and a source of
national pride. After a successful foray into Toronto and Europe, the company
he founded and still heads has now set its sights on the U.S., the Middle East
and Asia. To this end, Gestion Juste pour rire Inc. and the Solidarity Fund
QFL (the "Fund"), two beacons of the Québec economy created over 25 years ago,
have concluded a $10 million financing deal to enable the company to market
its brand in these promising markets.
"Although it remains closely associated with the Montréal festival, the
Just For Laughs name now encompasses a wide variety of activities involving
the arts and shows in which the company has not only built expertise but a
solid reputation as well," explains Gilbert Rozon. "Québec is our home; it's
where we're headquartered and where we have our biggest fans. But our success
abroad, particularly in France and the United Kingdom, has encouraged us to
focus more on exporting our know-how and adding an international dimension to
the Just For Laughs name. The Fund is backing our strategy, and we're happy to
be able to count on a Québec investor to help us achieve our goals."
"You need a major investment to effectively boost a trademark's
visibility, especially when you're trying to grow. Thanks to our creative
teams, we can offer innovative financial solutions tailored to our partners'
needs. Our investment comes at a strategic point in the development of Gestion
Juste pour rire. And we're especially proud that this investment will help
spread the word about Québec's creativity around the globe," said the Fund's
Executive Vice-President of Investments, Gaétan Morin. "This is another great
Québec product that should be exported around the world. Gilbert Rozon is a
visionary and an inspired businessman who has done an incredible job at
marketing comedy. His convictions and his team's expertise convinced us that
backing him is a smart decision."
In the near term, Gestion Juste pour rire is targeting the U.S., the
Middle East, and Australia, where it will produce large-scale comedy shows
with local talent. Following successful runs in Nantes (France) and Toronto
for the past two years, the Just For Laughs Festival - the springboard for the
company's expansion strategy - will soon take on Chicago.
About Gestion Juste pour rire
Founded 26 years ago, the Just For Laughs Festival has become the largest
comedy event in the world, attracting thousands of artists and two million
attendees every year, including hundreds of thousands of tourists from around
the world, as well as 500 national and international media representatives and
close to 1,200 agents, producers and high-profile scouts in search of new
talent. Beyond the millions of dollars generated in economic and fiscal
spinoffs, each Festival provides magical moments and over the years has
introduced the public to such gems as Arturo Brachetti, Patrick Huard,
Stéphane Rousseau, Franck Dubosc, Florence Foresti, Rowan Atkinson (alias Mr.
Bean), Tim Allen, Drew Carey and Ray Romano.
Today Gestion Juste pour rire is a company with over 200 permanent
employees and some 30 shows on the road. With offices in Paris, London and Los
Angeles, the group also produces shows in Nantes and Toronto, and regularly
participates in the Edinburgh and Montreux Festivals. Just For Laughs also
airs on TV in 125 countries and on 95 airlines with its gags series, an
unprecedented hit reaching 2 billion viewers across the globe. For more
information, visit www.hahaha.com.
About the Solidarity Fund QFL
With net assets of $6.2 billion as at November 30, 2008, the Solidarity
Fund QFL is a development capital company that through its RRSP channels the
savings of Quebecers into investments in all sectors of the economy to help
create and maintain jobs and to further Québec's economic growth. The Fund is
a partner, either directly or through its network members, in 1,881 companies.
It currently has nearly 575,000 shareholders and has helped, on its own or
with other financial partners, to create, maintain and protect over 126,000
jobs. For more information, visit www.fondsftq.com.
For further information:
For further information: The telephone numbers provided below are for
the exclusive use of journalists and other media representatives: Josée
Lagacé, Senior Advisor, Press Relations and Communications, Fonds de
solidarité FTQ, (514) 850-4835, email@example.com; Sylvie Savard, Press
Relations, Gestion Juste pour rire, (514) 844-8864 poste 201,