Leading French animation house Millimages has acquired a 51% majority stake in Hamburg-based studio Toons 'N' Takes.

The move is seen as part of an intensification of their existing working collaboration on animation series for television.

Millimages, which has been listed on France's Nouveau Marche d'Euronext since June 2001, opened a US outpost in Los Angeles and an office in Paris to handle the merchandising of its cartoon figures last year as part of its international expansion.

Commenting on Millimages' securing of a foothold in the key German animation market, Toons 'N' Tales' managing director Sunita Struck explained that "at the moment, the market is suffering from a surplus of cartoon series and from tight budgets of the programme buyers. Through the participation of Millimages, we have obtained excellent access to the international market and ideal conditions for expanding our production activities. In this way, we can also maintain our superior level of quality in over-stretched market situations and consolidate our reputation as a talented development studio".

Toons 'N' Tales and Millimages are currently working together with broadcasters WDR and La Cinquieme on the 52-part animation series Jasper The Penguin which is likely to air from autumn 2002. In addition, production is set to begin soon on the 26-part series Anima Baltica aimed at 7-11 year olds.