BROKE? Last October, JKN Global owner and CEO Anne Jakrajutatip (Khun Anne) purchased the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) for US$20 million. However, she hasn’t paid in full. So far, she has only paid $4.5 million, and if she doesn’t come up with the remaining $15.5 million, she risks declaring bankruptcy and that the Miss Universe 2023 edition in El Salvador in November may have to be cancelled.
JKN must settle the outstanding debt including capital and interest, for its JKN239A debentures by September 1st, but JKN has proposed to extend the payment which will be negotiated during a loan shareholder meeting scheduled for September 29 Meanwhile, JKN’s default on debt repayment has severely impacted JKN’s liquidity and has caused significant losses to investors. The latest Thai stock market graph shows JKN Global’s stocks taking a nosedive.
When JKN Global took over MUO, there was much media fanfare celebrating the acquisition and pageant fans heralding a new era in pageantry. However, the writing is on the wall. $20 million is rather a mediocre amount to pay for a prestigious pageant; even MGI President Nawat Itsaragrisil thought the fee was cheap. Khun Anne, with her lavish lifestyle and flair for theatrics, had boasted that the new Miss Universe (R’Bonney Gabriel) would be traveling in the company jet and living in a fancy Bangkok apartment; in reality, R’Bonney flies coach and she allegedly stays in a hotel while in Bangkok. She hasn’t even been invited to grace A-list events since she won the crown last January. We were led to believe that Esther Swan, the former talent manager, and the two Carloses (Carlos Fernandez and Carlos Capetillo, former franchise directors), left MUO for greener pasture, but I’m inclined to believe that they were fired because of MUO’s extreme budget cuts. And did you notice that no major English-language TV network has bought the rights to broadcast the next edition of the pageant?
No one knows how much money El Salvador paid to host the pageant in November. But whatever the amount is, it’s not enough to pay the remaining debt. This explains why MUO opened the franchise applications to the general public; the more applicants pay the initial $1,000 administrative fee, the better, though the sum is still only peanuts. Now MUO is selling the El Salvador Tour Package for $7,000 per person; seriously, unless your income is six digits and you don’t have a family to feed, there’s no way the average pageant fan can afford the tour package.
It is unfortunate that MUO has worsened since JKN Global’s takeover, but it is even more unfortunate - and sad - that its owner suffers from delusions of grandeur - who doesn’t really know anything about running a pageant - and uses her fame to defame an institution that is in the brink of collapsing unless she sells it to the highest bidder (though there is no guarantee that someone will buy it). Khun Anne did a live yesterday denying the report by The Bangkok Post and claiming that her company gained profits during the last two quarters, but at this point - considering the troubling consequences since the acquisition of MUO and that the stock buyers never got their shares the past year - does anyone believe her?