Miss Universe pushing through in November, assures owner Anne Jakrajutatip amid financial concerns
MANILA, Philippines—Anna Jakrajutatip’s JKN Global Group has been figuring in the news recently because of financial concerns, but the conglomerate that owns the Miss Universe pageant assured the public that the planned 2023 edition of the international competition will still push through as scheduled.
“We confirm that Miss Universe 2023 will be held in El Salvador on 18 November 2023, where a top-notch experience provided to our fans will remain our top [priority],” the company announced in a statement shared by Jakrajutatip on social media on Thursday, Sept. 7.
“We reaffirm that the legacy of Miss Universe will be carried on by JKN global Group as envisioned from the beginning,” the statement continued. Jakrajutatip acquired full ownership of the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) in October last year for $20 million from former owner WME-IMG. The acquisition included all three pageants under the organization—Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA.
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Jakrajutatip, as chief executive officer and managing director of JKN Global Group, informed the Stock Exchange of Thailand in writing that her company could not pay the full repayment of the principal and interest to JKN239A debenture holders on the prescribed maturity date of Sept. 1, amounting to a total of THB609.98 million (P971.17 million).
“Over the preceding period, the company has considered various sources of funding. However, the negotiations with relevant partners have failed to reach outcomes in line with the company’s expectations,” wrote Jakrajutatip.
She also shared that JKN Global Group was prepared to hand out partial repayments of THB146.61 million (P233.42 million) in principal, and THB 9.98 million (P15.89 million) in interest, amounting to a total of THB156.6 million (P249.33 million) on the maturity date, leaving an outstanding balance of THB443.4 million (P705.95 million).
“To redress this situation, the company prepared a debt repayment plan for JKN239A Debentures which shall be presented to the meeting of debenture holders, tentatively scheduled for [Sept. 29], for approval,” the statement continued.
JKN Global Group’s current financial situation resulted in a sharp drop of over 50 percent in its share price in two days, which prompted Jakrajutatip and her sister Pimuma to sell nearly 100 million JKN shares worth over THB128.6 million (P204.75 million). Anne remains to be the company’s largest shareholder even after the sale, with 38 percent ownership.
When Jakrajutatip acquired MUO in October, she launched an ambitious business plan that involved maximizing the brand’s value by restructuring its licensing system, and venturing outside pageantry, such as merchandising.
It recently launched the Miss Universe Beverage in Bangkok, Thailand, with reigning queen R’Bonney Gabriel from the United States and several other delegates from the 2022 competition. It also announced the establishment of the Miss Universe Skincare and Spa, with US-based Filipino skincare expert Olivia Quido-Co as president and CEO.
MUO also announced “Hello Universe” tour package worth $7,650 (P432,000) for the upcoming Miss Universe competition in El Salvador, a seven-night holiday in the South American host country that includes tickets to the pageant’s important activities including the coronation night.
Gabriel, a Filipino-American sustainable fashion designer and advocate, will crown her successor at the 72nd Miss Universe pageant on Nov. 18 (Nov. 19 in Manila) in El Salvador. Michelle Dee will represent the Philippines in the competition. /ra