Donald Trump is in negotiations to sell the Miss Universe Organization to WME/IMG now that he has bought out NBCUniversal’s half of the company and settled a lawsuit with the Peacock that arose over this year’s Miss USA pageant telecast.
Trump disclosed the news of his NBC settlement via Twitter on Friday. Later in the day, Bloomberg News reported the talks with WME/IMG were heating up.
A rep for WME/IMG declined to comment. A source said the discussions had been under way for some weeks. The purchase of Miss Universe would be in keeping with WME/IMG’s strategy of expanding its reach in entertainment into content ownership and live events, to complement its strengths in sports and fashion. IMG had already been in business with the Miss Universe Organization on the licensing front.
Trump and NBC parted ways earlier this summer after he made what the broadcaster deemed to be “derogatory” remarks about immigrants when he announced in June that he was running for president. This was part of a very public feud that included NBC refusing to air the Miss USA pageant associated with the Miss Universe franchise of beauty pageants, a property it had co-owned with Trump since 2002.
Trump also filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision Communications for refusing to air the contest, which eventually aired on Reelz.
Earlier this year, Trump and NBC had mutually agreed that he would step down as host of the “Apprentice” franchise to pursue his political ambitions. During NBC’s presentation at the Television Critics Assn. press tour this summer, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt has said that Trump would “absolutely not” be returning to “Celebrity Apprentice.”
The news comes at an opportune time for Trump, who is scheduled to appear on Friday’s episode of NBC’s “Tonight Show.”