Donald Trump sold the Miss Universe Organization to WME/IMG, completing a split with the beauty- pageant group triggered by his controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants.
The billionaire sold the organization just three days after buying out partner NBCUniversal, which cut its ties to Trump after he said Mexicans bring drugs and crime to the U.S., calling them “rapists” during a June speech announcing his campaign as a Republican presidential candidate.
Terms weren’t disclosed. In a statement Monday, Trump said the pageants “are now in the hands of a great company that will shepherd them to even greater levels of success.”
William Morris Endeavor Entertainment LLC has expanded beyond its talent agency roots since it united with Silver Lake Management to acquire leading sports and fashion company IMG in 2014. The combined company has acquired a top agency for celebrity stylists, as well as Professional Bull Riders, the world’s premiere bull riding circuit.
The company produces more than 21,000 hours of television and more than 30,000 hours of radio annually, according to a statement on its website. IMG’s Steve Mayer is an executive producer of “A Season with Notre Dame Football,” Showtime’s documentary series about the college football team. Future productions include the Live Nation Music Awards and a behind- the-scenes New York Fashion Week show with ABC Family.
On Sept. 11, Trump wrote on Twitter that he acquired the stake in the Miss Universe Organization held by Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, becoming the sole owner. “Stay tuned,” he wrote. Trump was in talks to sell the entire company to Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell’s WME/IMG, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.
In June, NBC said the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants would no longer air on the network and that it was ending its business relationship with Trump, citing “recent derogatory statements” about immigrants during a speech announcing his campaign as a Republican presidential candidate.
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