IPG's revenue up, Publicis' down in first quarter of '04

PARIS and NEW YORK: This year's first quarter presented a mixed fiscal bag of highs and lows for some of the largest agency holding companies. Paris-based Publicis Groupe's revenue was more than $1 billion for the quarter, down 4.3% compared with the same period last year. The company, the fourth-largest in the category, blamed a weak dollar.

PARIS and NEW YORK: This year's first quarter presented a mixed fiscal bag of highs and lows for some of the largest agency holding companies. Paris-based Publicis Groupe's revenue was more than $1 billion for the quarter, down 4.3% compared with the same period last year. The company, the fourth-largest in the category, blamed a weak dollar.

Publicis didn't break out revenue from its PR agencies - Publicis Dialog, Publicis Consultants, MS&L, and Rowland Communications.

Interpublic's revenue was $1.4 billion for the quarter, a 6% increase over the same period last year. Its net loss was $16.9 million, almost double its $8.6 million loss for the same period last year.

But all was not bleak. Led by Weber Shandwick, IPG's PR firms had their best quarter in two years, based on revenue, CEO David Bell said during a conference call.

The world's second-largest agency holding company did not further break out the numbers of its PR firms, which also include Golin/Harris, The MWW Group, and DeVries.

Omnicom's PR agencies accounted for almost 11% of the company's revenue in this year's first quarter. PR revenue increased from $221.9 million in 2003's first quarter to $239.2 million this year.

New York-based Omnicom's PR firms include Ketchum, Fleishman-Hillard, Brodeur Worldwide, Gavin Anderson, and Porter Novelli.

Overall net income increased 17% in this year's first quarter to $135.6 million. Revenue rose 15% to $2.2 billion.

Grey Global also saw revenue jumps. Revenue for the first quarter of this year rose 15.5% to nearly $343.9 million.

New York-based Grey Global did not report the numbers from its PR firms, APCO Worldwide and GCI Group.

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