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Canada's Taxi takes control of Amsterdam's Ottonico

NEW YORK - Canada-based integrated agency Taxi has gained a foothold in Europe by acquiring a majority stake in Dutch digital agency Ottonico for an undisclosed sum.

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Amsterdam-based Ottonico was founded in 2008 by Eric Verhage and Martin van Huijstee, employs a staff of 22 and offers clients a range of marketing services, spanning traditional media, digital, gaming and mobile.

The deal was announced by Taxi chairman Paul Lavoie, who explained that the group had been hunting for a European partnership for several months.

Verhage and van Huijstee, who both worked at Heineken before starting their own agency, will take the titles of general manager and executive creative director respectively.

The pair will work closely with Taxi co-founders Lavoie and Jane Hope to integrate Ottonico into the Taxi network.

Ottonico's clients include Heineken, TNT Post, Foot Locker, ING and telecoms brands KPN Royal Dutch Telecom, Hi and Telfort.

Van Huijstee said: "Our creative visions are a natural fit. We share the belief that there is no 'new' and no 'old' media -- every channel can deliver results when the choice is rooted in consumer insight."

Lavoie said: "This was a decision to invest in Europe to deliver local and global reach to both European and North American clients.

"We chose Amsterdam because it is a creative and multicultural hub, and we chose Ottonico because they embody the future of integrated communications."

Taxi has been in existence since 1992 and operates five offices in Canada, as well as divisions in New York and now Amsterdam.

Its clients in Canada include Pfizer's Viagra, Burger King, Dairy Farmers of Canada and Heineken; and in the US it has brands including General Mills, CBS Interactive and Johnson & Johnson on its books.

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