With the 72nd Miss Universe preparing for its highly anticipated coronation night to be held at the José Adolfo Pineda Arena in San Salvador, El Salvador on November 18, pageant fans around the world are left in shock as its owner Anne Jakrajutatip has filed for bankruptcy in a Thailand court.
JKN Global Group, the Thai media company that bought the rights for the Miss Universe pageant in 2022 for $20 million or around P1.1 billion, has filed for bankruptcy protection to solve a “liquidity problem.”
JKN Global Group issued a statement to the Thai Stock Exchange, making the announcement two months subsequent to its failure to meet the deadline for the repayment of bonds worth $12 million or approximately P671 million.
According to the statement, the company's board of directors will present a business rehabilitation proposal to Thailand's bankruptcy court.
"Submitting the rehabilitation petition will effectively solve the Company's liquidity problem under legal mechanism and provide fair protection to all stakeholders," the statement said.
Meanwhile, the company operations will continue under the rehabilitation plan.
In a statement on her Facebook page, Anne contested the word "bankruptcy" and insisted on the use of "business rehab" as a more appropriate term for JKN's business decision.
"Bankruptcy simply means your business is gone, but BUSINESS REHABILITATION program means JKN aims to preserve the continuity and integrity of the businesses, allowing JKN to generate improved returns for creditors and investors through restructuring efforts," she wrote. "Thank you for your correct understanding!"
The Miss Universe pageant, an event with a storied history spanning seven decades, is televised in approximately 165 countries. According to a source in the finance industry, there is a possibility that the event might either be discontinued or transferred to another company as part of the ongoing restructuring process.
JKN specializes in acquiring global content, including dramas, for distribution on various television channels. Additionally, the company is involved in the production of its own original programs.
While JKN reported a net profit for the initial half of this year, its liabilities have surged to 7.3 billion baht, more than quadrupling from the year-end figure in 2019.
The company initially strategized to leverage the Miss Universe platform as a catalyst for the expeditious expansion of its international broadcasting rights business.