Mercedes-Benz dropping ATP sponsorship, cites change in focus

STUTTGART, Germany -- Mercedes-Benz will end its sponsorship
of the men's ATP tennis tour when the current three-year contract
expires at the end of 2008.

The company has been one of the main sponsors of the ATP since
1996. The German carmaker said Friday it would shift focus to golf, equestrian and soccer, as well as
fashion and lifestyle.

"Over the years, our partnership with the ATP has had a very
high brand fit for Mercedes-Benz, but we are now adding a new angle
to our revised brand positioning," said Olaf Goettgens, vice
president of brand communications for Mercedes-Benz.

Richard Davies, the CEO of ATP Properties, thanked Mercedes for
its support.

"Both the ATP and Mercedes-Benz have achieved great things in
our time together," Davies said in the statement.

The Mercedes star symbol has been attached to tennis nets at
more than 40 tournaments around the world. Mercedes also provides
courtesy car services at tournaments.