Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group – creative ensembles that grew from local fame as offbeat entertainment alternatives into multicultural franchises – announced a merger today. Montreal native Cirque acquired New-York-based Blue Man Productions, a global live entertainment company best known for the award-winning Blue Man Group show, performed in over 20 countries and seen by more than 35 million people worldwide since 1991. The buy, according to Cirque executives, “considerably widens Cirque du Soleil’s audience pool, adding to their portfolio six resident productions established across the United States and Germany, as well as a North American and a World Tour.”

In addition to its companies performing quirky, media-savvy shows around the world, Blue Man Group has been prized by advertising agencies for its appeal to young viewers in commercials for Intel and Toyota Prius.

“We want to broaden our horizons, develop new forms of entertainment, reach out to new audiences and expand our own creative capabilities,” said Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil. “Today, we are taking a decisive step towards materializing these ambitions. We are extremely excited to welcome the iconic Blue Man Group to our portfolio of shows. Their unbridled creativity makes them a perfect cultural fit for Cirque du Soleil. Our extensive marketing research also confirms that Blue Man Group is a strong ‘love brand’ with a solid fan base – something else our two brands have in common.”

Blending technology, music and comedy, Blue Man Group has for 25 years created boldly colored, playful and steadfastly interactive shows. The company currently has sit-down shows in New York, Boston, Las Vegas, Chicago, Orlando and Berlin, as well as two touring productions.

“We find ourselves on the brink of our next chapter,” said BMG co-founder Chris Wink, “and we have big ideas for the future. Only a global creative powerhouse like Cirque du Soleil could help us achieve our vision. Their commitment to artistic quality and originality is unparalleled and their creative resources are vast. It is an honor to join forces with their organization.”

Financials and other aspects of the deal were not disclosed. Cirque recently shut down its first made-for-Broadway venture, Paramour, after poor reviews and a stagnant box office.