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Famed superagent Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor is having an ugly time trying to find a buyer for his struggling beauty pageant business, and refuses to chop the price, The Post has learned.
Emanuel, the inspiration for fictional Hollywood agent Ari Gold in HBO’s hit show “Entourage,” has been shopping around his Miss Universe business for the last six months for $20 million, with no luck, a source with knowledge said.
The hard-charging CEO of Endeavor, which owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the William Morris Talent Agency, snapped up the beauty pageant organization from Donald Trump in 2015 ahead of his presidential bid.
Although the sale price was not disclosed, financial statements related to Trump’s political campaign said the organization was worth between $5 million and $25 million and had $3.4 million in revenue.
A person familiar with Miss Universe’s financial situation told The Post the organization — which includes Miss USA and Miss Teen USA events — books $2 million in losses annually, while generating revenue between $7 million and $9 million.
Emanuel has been trying to woo foreign investors based in Asia and South America, the sources said. A person familiar with Endeavor’s thinking said in order to offload the asset, the price of Miss Universe may be lowered a little, but not much.
The mogul doesn’t like “admitting” he “lost money” on anything, so the price likely won’t be dropped “enough,” the person added.
Endeavor declined to comment.
A person familiar with the situation said a buyer is interested but declined to provide details.
The insider said Miss Universe has been profitable on average since Endeavor bought it — if the pandemic year is stripped out. The organization was forced to cancel events in 2020.
Endeavor, which went public in 2021, has been looking to prune some lackluster businesses as it hunts for more acquisitions and grows lucrative, money-making divisions like MMA league UFC, insiders said.
The Miss Universe pageant, which was founded in 1952, was first televised in 1955 by CBS. It emerged as a competitor to the Miss America pageant, which was founded in 1921. Although the two pageants are often confused, the Miss America pageant is owned by the nonprofit Miss America Organization, which also runs a scholarship program that was launched in 1945.