JKN Global Group sealed a deal to acquire Miss Universe Organization (MUO) from IMG Worldwide at US$14 million, its chief executive officer Jakkaphong "Anne" Jakrajutatip said on Wednesday.
Ms Jakkaphong said JKN reached the acquisition agreement with Endeavor Group Holdings which holds the copyrights of Miss Universe through its wholly owned IMG Worldwide. JKN will pay for the acquisition with its working capital.
JKN Global Group set up JKN Metaverse Inc in the United States. The wholly owned subsidiary will handle the takeover which will cover the transfer of all MUO shares in five companies: IMG Universe, IMG Universe FranchCo, Miss USA BR Production, MUO Productions and Miss USA Productions OH.
After the acquisition, IMG Universe will be renamed JKN Universe and IMG Universe FranchCo will become JKN Universe FranchCo.
The acquisition of 71-year-old MUO would strengthen the commerce business of JKN Global Group, which covered dietary supplements, beverages, cosmetics and lifestyle products, Ms Jakkaphong said.
"JKN's acquisition of MUO and the copyright of Miss Universe which is the long-standing and world-renowned brand is one of growth strategies of JKN," said Ms Jakkaphong, who stars in local versions of reality shows Project Runway and Shark Tank.
She has been outspoken about her experience as a transgender woman and also set up the Life Inspired For Thailand Foundation to advocate for the rights to dignity and opportunities for transgender people.
The acquisition is "a strong, strategic addition to our portfolio," she said, adding that Miss Universe, with its content, licensing and merchandising opportunities, plans to expand in Asia.
JKN produces its own shows and distributes content in Thailand from abroad including documentaries and Bollywood dramas. The JKN share price closed at 4.08 baht, up 0.28 baht or 7.37%, when the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) closed midday on Wednesday.
The annual beauty contest run by MUO, which was co-owned by former US President Donald Trump between 1996 and 2002, is broadcast in 165 countries and has been running for 71 years.