Thai media and content company JKN Global Group has acquired the Miss Universe Organisation from IMG, making chief executive Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip the first woman to own the global beauty competition during its 70-year history.
JKN, which owns a portfolio of broadcast and media titles, said the deal will build on the pageant's legacy and further its commitment to inclusivity. There are also plans to expand the Miss Universe brand, including the launch of MU Lifestyle, a new licensing and merchandising arm.
Miss Universe made history in August when it announced it was making one of the biggest changes to its selection process. Starting next year, the annual competition will accept married women and mothers. Previously, only single women, aged between 18 and 28, who have never been married or had children were allowed to apply.
The new rules will not be in place for the 71st Miss Universe, which has been postponed to January, as preliminary pageants have already taken place.
Miss Universe is one of the longest-running and most-watched beauty competitions in the world; it is broadcast in 165 countries and seen by more than half a billion people annually.
"We are incredibly honoured to be acquiring The Miss Universe Organisation and working with its visionary leadership team," said Jakrajutatip. "We seek not only to continue its legacy of providing a platform to passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and traditions, but also to evolve the brand for the next generation."
Josh Yugen, the national director for Miss Universe Bahrain, said the deal was "one of the best things to happen to Miss Universe".
"It is the first time a woman will own this greatest competition of its kind and Anne, an empowering woman who is the epitome of passion, progress, innovation, grace and love, is the perfect harmony to this iconic brand.
"I am 100 per cent sure that Anne will triumph inclusivity, diversity and equality from the moment she runs this organisation."
Miss Universe has changed ownership a number of times since the first pageant was held in 1952. Former US president Donald Trump bought it in 1996 and sold it to global events and talent company IMG in 2015, following a backlash against his controversial comments about Mexican immigrants.
New Orleans will host the Miss Universe 2022 pageant in January where Miss Universe 2021, Harnaaz Sandhu from India, will crown her successor.
Scroll through the gallery below for Miss Universe 2022 beauty queens who have been crowned so far, from Turkey to Italy and Kyrgyzstan