Transgender Tycoon Buys Miss Universe Organization

Chakrapong Chakrajutathib is a prominent trans activist in Thailand
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 27, 2022 10:44 AM CDT
Thai Transgender Activist Buys Miss Universe Organization
Thai business tycoon Chakrapong Chakrajutathib speaks during a news conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

A Thai business tycoon and transgender activist has purchased the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million, her company announced Wednesday. Chakrapong "Anne" Chakrajutathib, who controls JKN Global Group Public Co. Ltd., is a celebrity in Thailand who has starred in reality shows and is outspoken about being a transgender woman. She helped establish a nonprofit group, Life Inspired for Transsexual Foundation, to promote trans rights. JKN said it acquired the rights to the Miss Universe pageant from IMG Worldwide LLC, a sports, talent, and events marketing company that has held the Miss Universe Organization since 2015, the AP reports. Former President Trump was part owner of the pageant rights from 1996 until IMG's purchase.

JKN said it has established a subsidiary in the United States, JKN Metaverse Inc., to own the Miss Universe Organization. The Miss Universe pageant is broadcast in 165 countries, according to IMG. In a statement, Chakrapong described the purchase as "a strong, strategic addition to our portfolio." JKN, which is involved in content distribution, beverages, food supplements, beauty, and consumer products, said the Miss Universe name will be used to promote its consumer products. A profile of Chakrapong in the Bangkok Post earlier this year said in her youth, she studied at an all-male school, where she was harassed for identifying as female. After attaining financial success, she spent $1 million on sex reassignment surgery and other procedures.

(More Miss Universe stories.)

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