JKN Sells 50% of Miss Universe Shares to Legacy Holding Group

A local media company JKN Global Group Plc has announced its intention to sell a 50% stake in its Miss Universe business for $16 million, which is equivalent to 570 million baht.

Half of the shares of JKN Legacy Inc, the entity holding the copyright to the Miss Universe beauty pageant, are set to be purchased by Legacy Holding Group USA Inc.

This company is managed by Raul Rocha Cantu, a Mexican businessman, as JKN has indicated in a document submitted to the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

A separate announcement has revealed that Mr. Rocha, the owner of Legacy Holding, also holds the Miss Universe Mexico copyright.

Despite this transaction, JKN Global will retain a 50% share in JKN Legacy, thus continuing its control over the Miss Universe copyright, as confirmed by the Thai-based company.

This development is part of JKN’s strategy as it grapples with financial challenges. The company, which acquired the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million in 2022, has been delaying bond payments due to global and local economic difficulties.

In November of the previous year, JKN filed for business rehabilitation at the Central Bankruptcy Court. This step came after some investors agreed in September to postpone the repayment of bonds that were nearing maturity.

Legacy Holding, recognized as a major strategic global partner, is expected to enhance and strengthen the Miss Universe Organization, particularly in terms of financial stability, as conveyed by JKN Global to the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

The completion of this deal is expected by September. The company plans to use the proceeds from this stake sale to improve its liquidity and operational working capital, thus supporting its restructuring strategy.

Following the announcement about seeking various funding options and amidst reports of the Miss Universe business being on sale, JKN’s shares surged by 21% on Tuesday. This increase contributed to a two-day rise totaling 58%.

On Wednesday morning, the company’s shares rose by another 16%, trading at 0.88 baht.

In its November bankruptcy court filing, JKN proposed itself as the planner for its rehabilitation process.

“JKN will receive financial support from new investors or financial institutions to provide working capital. We plan to sell non-productive assets to generate income for repaying debts,” Jakkaphong “Anne” Jakrajutatip, the company’s founder and chief executive, stated at that time.

Ms. Jakkaphong, a prominent media figure and transgender rights advocate, drew international attention with her announcement of acquiring the Miss Universe Organization in November 2022.

She promised to transform the competition, opening it to married and transgender women, heralding it as the first beauty contest to truly embody gender equality and inclusiveness.

The Miss Universe Organization, operational since 1952 and co-owned by Donald Trump from 1996 to 2002, continues to host the contest.