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(July 26, 2001) DUESSELDORF -- Japanese agency network Asatsu's German operation has ended a two-year search for a partner in Duesseldorf, which has the largest Japanese community in Europe, with the 30% acquisition of MMKS, according to Asatsu Deutschland Managing Director Tino Eidenbenz.

Founded in Germany in 1994 to handle the entire Mitsubishi account, Asatsu has faced problems garnering new clients as a result of its remote location in Trebur, outside Frankfurt, where the Japanese auto manufacturer is based.

MMKS Managing Partner Konrad May has been seeking an international partnership for some time. A bonus for MMKS is the access to Asatsu's Internet subsidiary Asatsu Interactive and Asatsu's minority participation in small media agency Dr. Pichutta.

Asatsu has 40 employees in Germany and posts an annual income of about $4 million while MMKS has a 14-person staff and posted a gross income of $1.4 million. MMKS' clients include Wilkinson shaver and Villeroy & Boch.

Asatsu, the No. 3 agency in Japan, has a small presence in Europe with offices in Paris, Amsterdam and London. -- Dagmar Mussey

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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