WPP pairs JWT and Japan's Asatsu

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[Tokyo] WPP Group is trying to build its presence in Japan and with Japanese clients outside Japan by having J. Walter Thompson Co. work closely with Asatsu-DK, the third-largest Japanese agency, in which WPP owns a 20% stake.

WPP's Young & Rubicam has an Asian venture with ADK rival Dentsu called Dentsu Young & Rubicam, but Dentsu has made it clear that its main Western partner will be Publicis Groupe, not WPP. Dentsu owns 16% of Publicis.

JWT wants to work with ADK to win new business from Japanese marketers outside Japan. ADK, which already handles media buying for JWT's clients in Japan, wants to develop stronger ties with Western marketers. JWT and ADK are also forming joint task forces to exploit potential synergies and combine back-office operations and other cost-saving measures in some markets, such as Germany. "We need to balance ADK's knowledge of the ... Japanese market with what we offer as a network," said Michael Maedel, JWT's London-based president-CEO, Europe, Middle East & Africa.