IPG releases disappointing earnings following optimistic results from WPP and Omnicom

NEW YORK: After fellow marketing holding companies WPP and Omnicom showed optimism and improved financials in the third quarter, Interpublic Group (IPG) released disappointing third-quarter earnings on Tuesday.

NEW YORK: After fellow marketing holding companies WPP and Omnicom showed optimism and improved financials in the third quarter, Interpublic Group (IPG) released disappointing third-quarter earnings on Tuesday.

Describing the financial statements as "messy," IPG CEO David Bell repeated his declaration that turning the troubled holding company around would not be easy. IPG is currently undergoing a restructuring following operational difficulties and accounting restatements.

While neither Bell nor COO and CFO Chris Coughlin addressed the company's marketing-communications numbers - which include the company's PR holdings - in a conference call with investors and analysts, a press release stated that on a constant-currency basis, overall revenue from marketing and communications services decreased 4.5% in the quarter. Among IPG's PR agency brands are Weber Shandwick, Golin/Harris International, and The MWW Group.

"Overall, our results for the quarter are clearly not acceptable," Coughlin said.

He and Bell repeatedly referred to IPG's numerous acquisitions during the late 1990s, which in combination with the economic recession of the past two years has created a difficult project for Coughlin, who joined IPG just before the release of the company's Q2 earnings.

Overall, IPG reported a net loss of $327.1 million for the quarter, more than three times what was lost in Q3 of 2002. Revenue was up 2.3%, mostly aided by a favorable currency exchange.

As for the company's stated goals, Bell said, "We want to move from being a collection of companies to a more connected company."

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