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To Fuel Growth, Independent Agency Horizon Media Brings In Minority Investors.

Horizon Media, the longtime independent ad agency founded and run by Bill Koenigsberg, has brought in outside investors for the first time in its 32-year history. New York-based investment and merchant bank LionTree and Singapore-based investment firm Temasek have purchased an undisclosed minority stake in the shop.

Koenigsberg, Horizon’s CEO who remains its largest shareholder, told Ad Age that bringing on the two investors will help fuel growth at the company, which is the largest U.S. media agency according to the Ad Age Datacenter.

“You're going to see us get more aggressive in content, data opportunities, and other verticals that maybe we're currently not as strong in that we want to shore up,” Koenigsberg said.

Horizon Media is a big user of radio. In 2016 it launched Wordsworth and Booth, an in-house division focused on audio ad creative. Last November, Horizon Media and iHeartMedia formed a data partnership to integrate their respective data platforms for audio targeting.

Koenigsberg told Ad Age that his decision to make such a move became clear a few months ago as he saw what COVID had done to the media landscape. “I think there are going to be winners and losers in this new world, the way the landscape has changed. I think we can become more aggressive from an acquisition perspective,” he said. “We can get more aggressive in terms of other offerings to our clients to drive better business outcomes and having these smart people around me with different perspectives on things gives me the opportunity to move even faster.”

Consultants interviewed by Ad Age see bringing in outside investors as a strategic move that will help the agency grow beyond its U.S. stronghold at a time when media reviews are increasingly becoming global in nature, a trend that has stymied Horizon Media’s growth potential. It is also seen as a way to invest in a broader bench of tools and talent in such growth areas as programmatic and data.

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