New York/Los Angeles-based Catalyst, one of America’s most venerable media planning and buying independents, has effectively closed its doors with the sale of its 15-strong client portfolio to Horizon Media.

“We are getting out of the media business,” said Catalyst president and ceo Frank Muratore. "We were having trouble competing with the larger players," he added. "But Horizon offers many synergies; they're entrepreneurial, as we are. They're a good group."

The catalyst for Catalyst’s decision is thought to be the loss to Carat last year of its largest account, the $80m-billing Radio Shack.

The deal, the terms of which are undisclosed, excludes Catalyst’s staff, premises and other assets. Of the company’s payroll of thirty, just ten – including Muratore who will work in a consultancy role – will join Horizon.

All Catalyst clients – among them, Bennigan's restaurants, Midway Entertainment, La Victoria Foods, and Armstrong Garden Centers – have agreed to the move. According to Horizon ceo Bill Koenigsberg, the deal adds around $70 million in billings to his shop’s extant $800m.

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