Online media planning and buying agency HookMedia has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the midst of negotiations to sell most of its assets to Havas-owned Media Contacts.

The Boston-based independent blamed its decision on the economic slowdown and particularly sluggish performance within the tech sector. Filing for protection at the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Boston, HookMedia revealed assets of $13.6 million and debts totalling $10.6m.

The firm has been cutting its operations since February, when it closed its Atlanta office and began laying off around half of its 100-plus employees. According to president and founder Don Epperson, “almost all” of the fifty remaining staffers will probably move to Havas when the asset sale is completed later this month.

Continued Epperson: “We began negotiating with them [Havas] a while ago and then one of our clients couldn’t pay on a receivable and that forced us into a Chapter 11 filing. I regret it. I’m trying to work through this with our employees and our clients.”

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