WME | IMG Acquires Donald Trump's Miss Universe Organization

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The media agency purchased the pageant organization after Trump said he'd become the sole owner by purchasing NBCUniversal's stake.

WME | IMG has acquired Donald Trump's Miss Universe Organization, the agency announced on Monday.

The news follows reports on Friday that the agency was in talks to acquire the pageant organization after Trump said he'd become the sole owner by purchasing NBCUniversal's stake.

The Miss Universe Organization include the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants, which provide a global platform for more than 10,000 women each year through partnerships with charities, sponsors, brands, franchisees and TV networks. The organization also raises millions for charity each year, including $4 million in 2014.

The Miss Universe pageant joins IMG's portfolio of events including Fashion Weeks in New York, Berlin, Toronto, Australia and Miami. The sprawling sports and fashion agency also operates IMG Models. IMG has also served as executive producers of the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants in the past.

“Having worked closely with The Miss Universe Organization in the past, we understand the incredible potential of the events and the star-quality of the participants,” WME | IMG chief content officer Mark Shapiro said in a statement. “The global reach of The Miss Universe Organization and the content opportunities presented by the pageants make this a strong, strategic addition to our portfolio.”

Trump added: “I have truly enjoyed owning the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants. 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.”

The Raine Group and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison served as WME | IMG's financial and legal advisors.

Since IMG merged with WME, the combined agency has sought to create synergistic opportunities among its varied holdings, and it stands to reason that many of Miss Universe's global bevy of beauty contestants could cross over into fashion careers via WME | IMG's other properties.

Trump filed lawsuits after both NBC and Univision refused to air the 2015 Miss USA pageant following Trump's disparaging remarks on the campaign trail about some Mexican immigrants.

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