Donald Trump becomes sole owner of Miss Universe

Donald Trump poses with Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady in a file photo.
Donald Trump poses with Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady in a file photo.REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump announced he had purchased NBC's half of Miss Universe on Friday, taking sole ownership after the station refused to broadcast the pageant in July.

NBC and Spanish-language Univision both declined to air the show following the business mogul's controversial comments on Mexican immigrants, leading to a breakdown in their relationship.

"Just purchased NBC's half of The Miss Universe Organization and settled all lawsuits against them. Now own 100% - stay tuned!" Trump tweeted.

NBC had produced and transmitted the pageant since June 2002.

Trump is also no longer appearing in the NBC reality show The Apprentice, where he had been a star attraction.

A CNN/ORC poll found Trump surging to 32 per cent support nationally, becoming the first in the broad Republican field to top 30 per cent in the race for the White House.

Trump's campaign has been infused with controversy stemming from his disparaging remarks about Mexicans, women and fellow Republican rivals.