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CP+B Buys Stake in S.F. Design Shop

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ATLANTA Crispin Porter + Bogusky said it has purchased a 20 percent stake in San Francisco design studio fuseproject, marking the first investment by the MDC Partners' shop in another agency.

The two shops worked together on the BMW Mini Cooper account, with fuseproject designing merchandise bearing the Mini logo. (CP+B two weeks ago resigned the $25 million Mini account to take on Volkswagen; Mini is currently holding a review.)

Miami-based CP+B was interested in fuseproject because of its "non-traditional approach to the design process with an emphasis on the product's emotional connection to the end user," according to a statement issued Monday.

Fuseproject is helmed by Yves Behar, who won a National Design Award from the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum last year. He also held a solo exhibit of his work at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

His recent designs include a Toshiba laptop computer, new lines of footwear for Birkenstock and several projects for Hewlett-Packard.

"Partnering with fuseproject is a realization of our belief that product design is the core of successful brand building," said Alex Bogusky, executive creative director at CP+B, in a statement. "It is from the consumers first interaction with the product that decisions and emotional reactions are formed."

Chuck Porter, chairman of CP+B, called Behar "a brilliant guy" who can help make CP+B "smarter and better."

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Fuseproject opened in 1999. Its clients include Nike, Toshiba, Sony, Mini, Target, Matsushita, Birkenstock, Herman Miller, McNeil pharmaceuticals and Microsoft.

Behar could not be reached for comment.