Prudential Financial of Newark, N.J., has purchased a portion of two mutual fund distribution and asset-management companies owned by a German bank in an effort to target German investors. In doing so, analysts said Prudential is one of the first U.S. firms to acquire German fund operations in a market considered by some to be the most opportunity-rich in the world. Analysts expect more firms to follow Prudential's lead.

Prudential's joint venture with Sal. Oppenheim bank will enable the firm to capitalize on a distribution system that the bank has established throughout the country. The bank currently oversees more than $59 billion in assets, $24.9 billion of which is invested in mutual funds.

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