Catalyst Eyes Global Expansion After IMG Sale
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Catalyst Eyes Global Expansion After IMG Sale

Award-winning PR firm Catalyst Public Relations is eyeing global expansion after being acquired by the consulting arm of sports marketing giant IMG.

Arun Sudhaman

NEW YORK--Award-winning PR firm Catalyst Public Relations is eyeing global expansion after being acquired by the consulting arm of sports marketing giant IMG.

Catalyst, which was named 2012 Boutique Agency of the Year by the Holmes Report, sells after spinning out of Taylor in 2005 and growing rapidly to reach $6m in fee income according to 2011 figures

The firm's focus on sports, entertainment and lifestyle, said Catalyst managing partner Bret Werner, would complement IMG Consulting's existing sponsorship and sports marketing offering. The privately-owned IMG acquires 100 percent of Catalyst.

"It’s a near-perfect synergistic relationship," Werner told the Holmes Report. "IMG Consulting does not have a communications function. We help complement what is already a very impressive marketing arsenal and feel like we can enhance their services to clients worldwide."

Werner said that Catalyst, which will retain its branding and business model, will benefit from increased backing for its digital operation and global aspirations. The firm currently has offices in New York, Los Angeles and Charlotte, which will soon be joined by its first international operation in London.

"There are key markets such as London, Russia, Brazil and parts of Asia that are important to the vast majority of our clients," explained Werner. "London will be first, and then we’ll roll out subsequent markets."

Catalyst’s current management team of Werner, Bill Holtz and Ted Fragulis will all join IMG, as will the firm's staff of full time employees. Werner will continue as managing partner, reporting to IMG Consulting SVP and global MD David Abrutyn. Holtz and Fragulis will continue to work with Werner in managing the business.

“The acquisition of Catalyst is a perfect fit for IMG’s client-oriented businesses,” said Mike Dolan, chairman and chief executive of IMG. “They have a long history of success in working across all the major US sports properties as well as global properties such as the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup and boast a strong base of corporate clients. Their expertise in public relations, content development and digital and social media services will significantly enhance our ability to fully service the sports and entertainment agency needs of our clients here in the US and in all of our key international markets.”

Catalyst was also named Small Agency of the Year by PRWeek last year, and Best New Consultancy by the Holmes Report in 2009.

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