The company that owns the Miss Universe pageant has declared bankruptcy, just a week before the event’s main competition. JKN Global Group, which purchased the competition for $20 million last year, missed a September deadline for repayment and submitted the filing to courts in Thailand, where the company is based.
Despite this, the pageant will still take place next Saturday, where Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel from the US will crown her successor from a pool of 86 women. The JKN Global Group’s website has stated that the event in El Salvador will provide top-notch experience for fans.
“We reaffirm that the legacy of Miss Universe will be carried on by JKN Global Group as envisioned from the beginning,” the statement adds. “We look forward to welcoming our delegates and fans in El Salvador as well as through our broadcasting partners.”
The company is now looking to restructure its debt. The Thai media and content company purchased the Miss Universe Organisation, making chief executive Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip the first woman to own the competition during its 70-year history. Since taking over, several changes have been made to the competition. This includes allowing married women and mothers to apply, previously, only single women between the ages of 18 and 28, who have never been married or had children, were eligible to apply. Maria Camila Avella Montanez of Colombia and Michelle Cohn of Guatemala are the first Miss Universe contestants in this category.
The Miss Universe pageant has changed ownership several times since the first pageant was held in 1952. Former US president Donald Trump purchased it in 1996 and sold it to global events and talent company IMG in 2015, following a backlash against his controversial comments about Mexican immigrants.