Third quarter earnings indicate holding company rebound

Earning reports released this week by Havas, Omincom Group, Next Fifteen Communications, and Publicis all showed revenue increases.

Earning reports released this week by Havas, Omincom Group, Next Fifteen Communications, and Publicis all showed revenue increases.

Havas reported $1.53 billion in revenues for the first three quarters of this year, a 6.9% increase compared to the first nine months of 2009. This time last year, the company showed a revenue plunge of 10% from the previous year. For the third quarter, Havas saw a 12.9% increase in the third quarter.

Omincom reported a 5.1% third quarter revenue increase from Q3 2009. For the first nine months of the year it saw a 6.1% increase over the same period last year. Last year, the holding company reported a 15% drop in revenue for the quarter and a 17% year-over-year decline for the first three quarters.

John Wren, Omnicom president and CEO, attributed the rebound to growth in the US and renewed strength in Europe. Ray Kotcher, senior partner and CEO at Ketchum, told PRWeek the agency had its strongest quarter of the year in Q3.

“We were comfortably above the performance of the PR sector reported by Omnicom,” he said. “We are seeing our clients, particularly our clients who are integrated across practices and geographies, really expanding their business with the agency.” He added that digital, word-of-mouth, technology, and research were all very strong, and that the agency also hired 80 new people in the US during the quarter.

Digital was also a strong area for Publicis, which showed the largest growth with a 26.1% revenue increase in the third quarter over the same period last year. Digital now makes up 28.7% of Publicis' revenue year-to-date, which is up from 21.3% at the same time last year. In North America, digital accounts for 44.4% of revenue.

CEO Maurice Levy said he expects the growth to continue in the fourth quarter.

This week MSLGroup, a part of Publicis, announced its rebranding. In its name, the company removed the ampersand to reflect a global perspective, said Jim Tsokanos, president of the Americas.

"The whole reason we're doing this is to reflect all the assets we have under one umbrella, and the other is to turbo-charge our growth. Specifically here in the Americas we have the very ambitious plan to double the size of revenue over the next few years and we think having a clear brand, vision, and story is really critical," he added.

When the company first started it had the idea of being a network, now that has evolved into being one company, Tsokanos said. Coming out of last year, he said, MSLGroup is very excited and has had a great quarter of organic growth.

"We want to be a leading PR, communications, and engagement company and provide our clients with creativity and value in this always-on conversation. Our goal is not to be a traditional PR agency, but to be an agency that can move forward and provide PR and communications and engagement to our most important clients," Tsokanos said.

For Next Fifteen, revenue was up 11%, aided by acquisitions. Last year, Next Fifteen saw a 41% dip in profits over 2008. It also announced an 85% stake in The Blueshirt Group, a San Francisco-based financial communications company that focuses on the tech sector, for $11 million.

The acquisition of New York-based M Booth this year boosted Next Fifteen's revenue in US and Canada PR business, and now the region accounts for more than half of the group's revenue and profits. During the fiscal year the company purchased an additional 36% stake in the policy consultancy 463 Communications.

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