Donald Trump has become the sole owner of the Miss Universe Organization, the venture that produces both the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants, after buying NBCUniversal’s stake.
The self-proclaimed master negotiator may not own 100 percent for long, however.
Since 2002, Trump and NBC to this point have been 50-50 partners in the organization. With the current GOP presidential front-runner buying out NBC, and thereby ending an ongoing feud, he thereby becomes the full owner, a transaction confirmed by NBC without providing any details.
Both NBC and Univision cut ties with Trump and dropped plans to broadcast the July 12 Miss USA pageant from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after Trump’s June 16 presidential announcement included controversial remarks about rapists and illegal alien criminals allegedly coming across the southern border from Mexico.
The pageant subsequently aired on a relatively obscure cable network.
Trump filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision for breach of contract. Although Trump’s tweet yesterday announcing the Miss Universe acquisition indicated that pending lawsuits with NBC were settled, it’s unclear as to whether he actually pursued a legal complaint in court against NBC.
“For the network, it was a no-brainer, since Miss Universe only represents a very small part of NBCUniversal revenues. Trump’s financial disclosure forms indicated that the joint venture was worth between $5 million and $25 million. The pageant organization generated $3.4 million in income for him in 2014. Now that he owns 100% of it, Trump will have to find a new television partner for both Miss Universe and Miss USA,” CNN Money reported.
“Cable network Reelz picked up the July 12 telecast of the Miss USA pageant after NBC and Univision pulled out. The pageant brought in an average of only 925,000 viewers, down from an average of 5.6 million viewers for the prior year’s event on NBC,” added the Wall Street Journal.
Just purchased NBC’s half of The Miss Universe Organization and settled all lawsuits against them. Now own 100% — stay tuned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2015
The real estate mogul and ex-NBC reality TV star on the Apprentice franchise may not have to worry about finding a new TV outlet if he decides to flip the Miss Universe Organization, however. “Donald Trump…is in talks to sell the entire company to Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell’s WME/IMG, people with knowledge of the matter,” Bloomberg Business claimed.
WME/IMG also produces New York Fashion Week and is already in a licensing agreement with Miss Universe, so a potential acquisition would seem to be a good “fit.”
Reacting to the possible sale of Donald Trump’s 100 percent stake of the beauty pageant, an entertainment marketing executive told Bloomberg, “At the end of the day, Miss Universe is a media property. There aren’t too many properties that come up that have name recognition and global scale.”
[Photo by Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images Entertainment]