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Miss Universe Pageant owner goes BK. Trans entrants?

Said Spritzler News Entertainment Beat reporter, T Snitz Esq "I don't care much who owns the pageant but given the Trans entrants I think we're going to have an especially exciting swimsuit competition this year".

The owner of Miss Universe just declared bankruptcy, but the show must go on

The Nov. 18 pageant in El Salvador will continue as scheduled.

By Ananya Bhattacharya

Nov 10, 23

Miss Universe’s Thai owner is seeking a debt rescue.

Media distribution company JKN Global Group has filed for bankruptcy, CEO Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip announced in a letter to shareholders yesterday (Nov. 9). The petition for business rehabilitation was filed the day prior, it said.

It’ll be business as usual while steps are taken to “solve the company’s liquidity problem under legal mechanism and provide fair protection to all stakeholders,” Jakrajutatip wrote. That means the competition in El Salvador on Nov. 18 will go on. A notice on JKN’s website confirms the news and reaffirms that “the legacy of Miss Universe will be carried on by JKN Global Group as envisioned from the beginning.”

In July, JKN announced several spin-off business ideas beyond broadcast, ticket sales, and sponsorships, to expand the business universe of Miss Universe. This includes foraying into skincare and spa as well as travel. No changes to those plans have been announced.

Person of interest: “Anne” Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip

Jakrajutatip, also known as Khun Anne or Anne Jakrajutatip, bought the Miss Universe pageant in 2022. At the time, she had already gotten some reality TV buzz, having starred in the Thai version of Project Runway and Shark Tank.

Jakrajutatip took over from Talent agency WME/IMG, which took over from Donald Trump in 2015. After 19 years of co-ownership, Trump was forced to sell after comments about Mexicans led broadcasters NBC and Universal to drop the pageant.

To be owned by a trans activist was a game-changer for the pageant that didn’t allow trans women to compete until 2012—that, too, only after a legal tussle. This year’s pageant will feature two trans women for the first time: Portugal’s Marina Machete, and Rikkie Kollé from the Netherlands.

In the broadcast of the first competition to follow the 2023 takeover, the English-language rights changed hands from Fox to streaming service Roku. Long-time emcee Steve Harvey, the face of the pageant under the Fox deal, didn’t return. The pageant boasted of an all-female leadership team and mostly female hosts and judges from various walks of life, from CEOs to scientists to politicians.

Quotable: Trans women in Miss Universe

“Trans women are women, full stop. We are here to celebrate women, full stop. This has been true for more than a decade, and we’re proud to have made this change very early on, compared to other programs.”

—Miss Universe Organization after Portugal’s win last month.

Miss Universe’s Thai owner’s business, by the digits

$210 million: Estimated net worth of Jakrajutatip at the start of 2023

$20 million: How much Jakrajutatip paid to buy the pageant in October 2022 from Endeavor’s IMG

Every 3-4 years: How often Jakrajutatip hoped Thailand could host the pageant, making it a “soft power” that attracts tourism and other business

30%: How much JKN’s shares fell on the bankruptcy notification

80%: How much JKN’s share price has fallen in the last 12 months, down to $0.77

$12 million: Value of bonds JKN failed to repay by a deadline two months ago

1,200 million baht ($$33.4 million): Average annual income Miss Universe Organization business group will earn from its nine-way revenue structure

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