The Thai owner of the Miss Universe pageant, once part of former US President Donald Trump’s business empire, has filed for bankruptcy a year after acquiring it for $20 million (£16.4 million).

JKN Global Group has announced its intention to address a “liquidity challenge.”

Its CEO, Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip, a transgender woman, made the purchase as the pageant embraced greater inclusivity. However, the company is burdened with significant debt that it is seeking to restructure.

JKN stated, “The Company can maintain its operations during the rehabilitation plan.”

Funds for the acquisition were raised through bonds, but the company missed a payment deadline of approximately $12 million due on September 1.

Over the past year, JKN’s stock price has plummeted by more than 80%.

The Thai Bankruptcy Court has scheduled a hearing for the business rehabilitation petition on January 29, according to the company.

Under JKN’s ownership, the pageant has implemented new rules allowing mothers and married women to participate, as well as featuring at least two trans women for the first time, following the wins of Marina Machete as Miss Portugal and Rikkie Valerie Kolle as Miss Netherlands in July.

The Miss Universe pageant, with a rich history spanning seven decades, is broadcast in over 165 countries.

The Miss Universe Organization was formerly co-owned by Mr. Trump from 1996 to 2015.

The former US President divested the company after two television partners refused to broadcast the pageant due to comments he made about illegal immigrants during his 2016 presidential campaign.

He also faced criticism when former Miss Universe Alicia Machado alleged that Mr. Trump had called her “Miss Piggy.” These comments were made when she gained weight after winning the contest in 1996, according to the Venezuela-born model.

Mr. Trump stated in a post-sale statement in 2015, “When I purchased the pageants many years ago, they were in serious trouble. It has been a great honor making them so successful. The pageants are now in the hands of a great company that will guide them to even greater levels of success.”



Last Updated: 10 November 2023