Orange, Calif.-based Hep Cat Records & Distribution has been purchased by mail-order company Collectors' Choice Music for an undisclosed price.

Orange, Calif.-based Hep Cat Records & Distribution has been purchased by mail-order company Collectors' Choice Music for an undisclosed price.

Hep Cat, founded in 1993 by Gabby Castellana, who will now serve as GM, is a distribution and mail-order operation that specializes in roots music and punk, with a special emphasis on catalog titles.

Los Angeles-based Collectors' Choice is one of the country's largest catalog and Web retailers. The company is a division of Chicago-based Infinity Resources; in 2003, Infinity purchased the Heartland (country) and Serenade (R&B) catalog operations.

Hep Cat will now be fulfilled by Infinity's Chicago-area facility.

Besides stocking virtually every imaginable reissue title of domestic or foreign origin, Collectors' Choice offers more than 350 exclusive titles it has licensed for sale on its in-house imprint.

Hep Cat will take over the distribution of those titles in 2005. Collectors' Choice's deal with Koch Entertainment Distribution is up in December.

In 2001, Hep Cat forged a unique deal with Navarre Corp. in New Hope, Minn., in which Navarre picked up select exclusive titles for distribution to chains not served by the Southern California firm. That relationship will continue under the new ownership.

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