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Taxi Acquires Dutch I-Shop

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NEW YORK Canadian shop Taxi today said it has purchased a majority interest in Ottonico, a 22-person i-shop in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

This marks the first time Taxi has made an agency purchase in its 17 years of operation.

Eric Verhage and Maarten van Huijstee formed Ottonico last year, offering services across various online, gaming and mobile platforms. Verhage and van Huijstee now become gm and ecd, respectively. Before starting their shop, the pair worked together at Heineken and elsewhere.

Among the shop's clients: Heineken (Taxi works for the brewer in Canada), KPN Royal Dutch Telecom, TNT Post, ING, Foot Locker and telecommunications concerns Hi and Telfort.

Ottonico will be rebranded Taxi Europe, and becomes Taxi's seventh office, its first outside of North America. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Paul Lavoie (shown above), chairman and co-founder of Taxi, said in a statement: "We chose Amsterdam because it is a creative and multi-cultural hub, and we chose Ottonico because they embody the future of integrated communications."

This marks the second time this week an independent agency has sought to bolster its interactive offering through a union with another shop. On a somewhat smaller scale, Boston-based communications firm Winsper yesterday said it had taken a minority stake in New York social media and search marketing specialist Radium.