Wilhelmina Models — the publicly traded agency that represents Nicki Minaj, Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato and scores of cover girls — is in play.
Two minority shareholders — Travelzoo big shot Ralph Bartel and Canadian casino magnate Steve Apostolopoulos — are battling to acquire a majority of the company’s shares, sources say.
Dallas-based Newcastle Capital, run by Mark Schwarz, owns 45.3 percent of the Wilhelmina shares, and is reportedly hoping to remain the company’s largest shareholder.
One player in the fight is Dieter Esch, who sold Wilhelmina in 2009, but still has 18.6 percent of the company’s shares and remains on its board.
Esch, 74, now lives in Los Cabos, Mexico, where he owns a top real estate brokerage and Ocean Blue magazine, and is said to be willing to sell his shares.
“Wilhelmina is a very valuable company and deserves shareholders who can bring the business to an even higher level,” said Esch, who once repped all three of President Trump’s wives and his daughter-in-law Vanessa.
“I would welcome anybody who has the funds to do that.”
Bartel and Apostolopoulos could not be reached for comment.
The Wilhelmina board was set to meet Wednesday in Manhattan to discuss the interest from Bartel, who has positions in fashion brands Lanvin and Wolford, and
Apostolopoulos , who is building a huge casino resort outside Toronto.
It’s a battle of the big shots. May the best big shot win.
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