Miss Universe owner Anne Jakrajutatip responds to JKN bankruptcy reports: ‘Our universe must go on’
Thai media mogul Anne Jakrajutip, whose JKN Global Group owns the Miss Universe Organization (MUO), has allayed the fears of the global pageant fans amid reports of her company filing for bankruptcy, saying the competition will proceed as planned.
“No matter what…I always put [MUO] as my first priority in life. No matter how joyful or painful it’s gonna be…our universe must go on, must be great and must stay on top as the legendary Beauty Olympics in the World!” she posted on social media.
Her post included an image containing a message, saying, “[MUO], which is only one of our many business lines, is completely clean and will continue to operate as planned. We look forward to three fantastic broadcasts next week.”
The 2023 Miss Universe pageant, the 72nd edition of the international competition, is currently running in El Salvador, with 85 delegates from all over the world, just 10 months after the staging of the 71st installment in January in New Orleans in the United States.
The preliminary competition is scheduled for paid live streaming through Live Bash on Nov. 15 (Nov. 16 in Manila), while the national costume show will be available on the same platform in real time on Nov. 16 (Nov. 17 in Manila). The final competition will be beamed through several terrestrial and digital channels all over the world on Nov. 18 (Nov. 19 in Manila).
“I will sacrifice and do everything for the great success of OUR UNIVERSE! [praying hands emoji] Thank you for your love and kind support to JKN! [stars emoji]” she continued in her social media post.
The message she posted explained in brief, “JKN Global Group has announced a plan to refinance our debt and rehabilitate our business. While our operating cash is intact and the company will continue to run operations as planned, this is a necessary step in our growth to ensure that our debt is repaid and the company remains financially healthy.”
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Jakrajutatip announced her full acquisition of MUO in October last year, becoming the first woman and first non-American to own the organization after taking over its ownership from WME-IMG for $20 million (P1.12 billion). She laid down an ambitious business strategy to expand the brand and make it more profitable, including licensing and franchising restructuring, merchandising and diversification.
JKN’s current predicament stemmed from its failure to repay bonds to investors worth around $12 million (P670 million) on the deadline it imposed on itself. It previously missed the repayment schedule on Sept. 1 amounting to $17.3 (P967 million), saying “the financial liquidity management of the company is not in line with expected forecasts.”
The company then offered a partial repayment of $4.5 million (P251 million) in principal and interest, which brought down the liability amount to its current total. The debenture due on Sept. 1 was just the first of seven. The others are scheduled to mature on March 15, June 10, Oct. 20, and Nov. 11 in 2024, and Feb. 24 and May 10 in 2025.
JKN Global Group said its board of directors agreed on Nov. 7 to submit a business rehabilitation plan to Thailand’s Central Bankruptcy Court, which it hopes “will solve the company’s liquidity problem under legal mechanism and provide fair protection to all stakeholders.”
The plan includes requesting to adjust interest rates on existing debt and extend its debt repayment period, and proposed itself as a planner for the process. JKN Global Group also plans to look for new investors. It also seeks to liquidate assets to raise funds for creditors.
In a separate social media post, Jakrajutatip said, “JKN Global Group entered Thailand’s business rehabilitation program, a distinct alternative to filing for bankruptcy. These two words have different meanings. Hence, please understand each definition correctly. [praying hands emoji]”