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AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

Cirque du Soleil has acquired Blue Man Group, combining two of North America's more popular live entertainment brands. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which results in Blue Man's founders retaining some equity.

Sponsor swap: Cirque du Soleil has been majority-owned by private equity firm TPG Capital since July 2015, while Blue Man sold a minority stake to GF Capital in 2010.

What's the plan? TPG's investment thesis on Cirque is around the concept of programming real estate, whether that be at a casino, on a cruise ship or at a mall (yes, you'll eventually see live Cirque programming between Banana Republic and Orange Julius). Blue Man gets folded into that, even though the two brands will remain separate from a creative perspective. Also expect Cirque to help Blue Man expand more internationally, particularly in China.

Next performance: Expect Cirque to pursue additional acquisition opportunities, both for franchises like Blue Man and possibly for long-running single-city shows.

Go deeper

Restaurant software meets the pandemic moment

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Food delivery companies have predictably done well during the pandemic. But restaurant software providers are also having a moment as eateries race to handle the avalanche of online orders resulting from severe in-person dining restrictions.

Driving the news: Olo filed last week for an IPO and Toast is rumored to be preparing to do the same very soon.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Technology

How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers.

The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots.

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.