Media Contacts to Buy HookMedia Assets

After considerable legal wrangling and an initial delay Thursday at Federal Bankruptcy Court in Boston, the proposed sale of HookMedia’s assets to Media Contacts, a division of Havas Advertising, was approved by Judge Carol Kenner.

HookMedia’s flagship office in Boston will be renamed Media Contacts; Hook’s New York outpost will be folded into Media Contacts’ existing Manhattan operations, sources said.

Most of the shop’s 50 employees in both Boston and New York will be offered positions by Media Contacts, including Hook founder/CEO Don Epperson, who will continue to head the Boston office, sources said.

Epperson declined comment Friday morning pending an announcement later today or early next week.

Initially, Media Contacts, the lone bidder for the assets of HookMedia, appeared to hedge about going through with the acquisition after application service provider U.S. Internetworking on Wednesday had shut down Hook’s Artemis database. That technology allows agency staffers and clients to track the progress of online campaigns. An attorney for Media Contacts expressed concern about possible damage or deletion of vital client information. But after U.S. Internetworking assured the court that HookMedia’s database would soon be up and running, Media Contacts decided to move ahead with the sale.

HookMedia filed for protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy statutes in late April, after Epperson had begun negotiations to sell the company to Media Contacts. The filing was made after the Boston-based Internet buying and planning shop found itself unable to collect on its bills or raise capital to continue operations while negotiating for a sale to Media Contacts. According to the filing, HookMedia has total assets of $13.6 million and debts of $10.6 million.