Carat Buys Independent Media Services

LOS ANGELES Two agencies that faced each other in court last year are now going to live together. Aegis Group’s Carat North America has purchased the media buying assets of Independent Media Services for $7.3 million in cash.

New York independent IMS was the longtime incumbent on New Line Studio’s $120 million account, which Carat won after a review in 2001. That win sparked litigation brought by IMS in 2002 which it claimed that Carat violated certain terms of a non-disclosure agreement forged during aborted merger talks with IMS to win the pitch. IMS won an initial judgment of $7 million in October 2002. With the acquisition, Carat and IMS have agreed to withdraw the outstanding litigation between them and to entirely vacate the judgment previously awarded to IMS.

Carat inherits an estimated $20 million-plus in IMS buying business from such clients as MTV Networks, Oxygen, the New York Post and the Boston Herald, among others. They will be housed in a new unit called Carat IMS headed by former IMS evp Robert Petizon. IMS president and CEO Neil Aronstam is expected to stay on during the transition.

In a statement, Carat North America CEO David Verklin said, “We are very pleased and excited about this combination. Carat is anxious to build its already growing entertainment and media practice and we believe that Independent Media brings unique skills and specialized resources to the growing practice area. It is an excellent strategic fit.”