Donald Trump spokesman Michael Cohen confirmed the Republican presidential hopeful has purchased NBC’s half of the Miss Universe Organization and settled all lawsuits against the media company.
The move, which Trump announced via Twitter on Friday morning, gives him full ownership of the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants and completes a divorce begun in June when NBC announced it was ending its business relationship with Trump, who had starred on the network as host of “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
The network later said Trump would never be on “The Celebrity Apprentice” again.
Since he jumped into the presidential race, Trump has rocketed to the top of the GOP pack in the polls.
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Trump’s announcement came hours before he was scheduled to tape a guest appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” for Friday night’s airing.
NBC would not comment on the purchase.
The network said in June it was severing ties with Trump because of comments he made about Mexican immigrants during his presidential campaign kickoff speech.
At the time, NBC said it would no longer air the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which had been a joint venture between the company and Trump. Miss USA had aired on NBC since 2003. This year’s edition had been set for July 12, but aired instead on cable’s Reelz network.
Meanwhile, Univision canceled its coverage of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which led to a $500 million lawsuit brought by Trump claiming his First Amendment rights were violated as well as claiming a breach of contract.
The Miss Universe pageant was based at Trump’s Doral resort this year and the televised final ceremonies were held at Florida International University.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reported that Trump is in talks to sell the entire company to Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell’s WME/IMG, people with knowledge of the matter said.
IMG, acquired by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment and Silver Lake Management in 2014, is interested in owning all of the Miss Universe organization rather than just a stake, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Trump wrote “stay tuned” on Twitter after announcing he’d acquired NBCUniversal’s roughly half ownership stake.
“At the end of the day, Miss Universe is a media property,” said Kyell Thomas, head of entertainment at Octagon, a sports and entertainment marketing company. “There aren’t too many properties that come up that have name recognition and global scale.”