JKN Global sells 50% Miss Universe stake to Legacy Holding for US$16m

In a bid to deal with its ongoing financial struggles, JKN Global Group Plc, a renowned local media company, has decided to offload a 50% stake in its Miss Universe business. The stake, valued at US$16 million (570 million baht), will be purchased by Legacy Holding Group USA Inc.

The group, which is under the control of Mexican businessman Raul Rocha Cantu, will acquire the shares through JKN Legacy Inc, the entity owning the copyright to the beauty pageant. Rocha, who also possesses the copyright for Miss Universe Mexico, has a controlling stake in Legacy Holding.

Despite the sale, JKN Global will continue to own the remaining 50% stake in JKN Legacy. This ensures that the company retains control over the holder of the Miss Universe copyright, as confirmed by the Thai company.

JKN Global’s decision to sell part of its stake in the Miss Universe business comes at a time when the company, having purchased the Miss Universe Organization for US$20 million in 2022, has had to postpone payments on its bonds due to domestic and global economic pressures.

JKN Global sought business rehabilitation through a petition to the Central Bankruptcy Court in November of the previous year. This was after some investors agreed to prolong the payment of due bonds in September. The company regards Legacy Holding as a crucial global strategic partner that can boost and solidify the Miss Universe Organization, including its financial preparedness. Completion of the transaction is expected by September.

The proceeds from the share sale will be utilised by JKN Global to enhance its liquidity and working capital. This will aid in the operations of the business and support its restructuring plan. Following the announcement of the company’s efforts to explore potential business funding sources and the news of the Miss Universe business being put up for sale, JKN shares soared by 21% on Tuesday. This surge extended a two-day rally to 58%.

The shares continued to rise, recording a 16% increase in the Wednesday morning session and were trading at 0.88 baht.

Bankruptcy court

In its petition to the bankruptcy court in November, JKN proposed itself as the planner of the rehabilitation. Jakkaphong Anne Jakrajutatip, the company founder and chief executive, stated that the company would seek financial support from new investors or financial institutions to provide working capital. Non-productive assets would be sold to generate income to repay debts.

Jakkaphong, a celebrity media tycoon and transgender rights advocate, made global headlines when she announced her company’s purchase of the Miss Universe Organization in November 2022. She pledged to revolutionise the competition by opening it to both married and transgender women. The Miss Universe Organisation, co-owned by Donald Trump from 1996 to 2002, has been operational since 1952, reported Bangkok Post.

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Alex Morgan

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