Thai business mogul becomes first woman to own Miss Universe
Thai transgender business mogul Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip has become the first woman to own the Miss Universe pageant after purchasing the franchise for $20 million.
Driving the news: IMG announced Wednesday that it has sold The Miss Universe Organization, which oversees the annual competition, to Thailand-based JKN Global Group, a media company that Jakrajutatip leads as CEO.
What they're saying: Jakrajutatip called the "global reach" of The Miss Universe Organization "a strong, strategic addition to our portfolio."
- "We seek not only to continue its legacy of providing a platform to passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and traditions, but also to evolve the brand for the next generation," she said in a statement.
- "We look forward to this next chapter in the Miss Universe story," said Amy Emmerich, CEO of The Miss Universe Organization, who noted that the acquisition is a "tremendous opportunity" to create "further growth for this organization on the global stage and women around the world."
- JKN said in a press release that it plans to leverage the Miss Universe brand to create a new licensing and merchandising arm, among other projects.
The big picture: Known in Asia as a trans pioneer, Jakrajutatip started out working in her family business before establishing a media giant with audiences around the world.
- The billionaire also helped launch a nonprofit that advocates for trans rights.
- The Miss Universe pageant started in 1952 and broadcasts in 165 countries today. In 2018, Miss Spain — Angela Ponce — became the first trans contestant to compete in the competition.
- Former president Donald Trump owned the organization between 1996 and 2015.