Donald Trump has sold his share of the Miss Universe Organization to WME-IMG, the agency announced Monday.
Trump recently re-purchased 100 percent ownership of the pageant group, which includes Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA, from NBC as part of a lawsuit settlement. IMG has served as executive producers of both Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants in the past.
“I have truly enjoyed owning the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA pageants,” Trump said. “When I purchased the pageants many years ago, they were in serious trouble. It has been a great honor making them so successful and I have really enjoyed watching the pageants grow throughout the USA and worldwide. The pageants are now in the hands of a great company that will shepherd them to even greater levels of success.”
Trump’s lawyer threatened legal action against NBC after they cut ties with Trump when he referred to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” during his Presidential campaign announcement speech in June. In addition to bouncing Trump from “Celebrity Apprentice,” the network said that it will no longer air the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants, which were co-owned by its corporate parent NBCUniversal and Trump.
Instead, this year’s Miss USA contest ran on Reelz, where it drew 2.5 million total viewers, 3 million less than the pageant logged on NBC the previous year. The pageant was also a money pit for Reelz, with network CEO Stan E. Hubbard telling TheWrap: “Did we break even on our financial investment? We did not.”
This acquisition expands WME-IMG’s portfolio of global events and media properties across entertainment and fashion, including more than 20 fashion weeks per year in cities including New York, Berlin, and Sydney; original lifestyle productions including this year’s “Macy’s Presents Fashion’s Front Row” taking place at Madison Square Garden; and global lifestyle festivals including Taste Festivals and Lollapalooza.
The Raine Group and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as WME-IMG’s financial and legal advisors, respectively.