IPG Investor Day touts PR growth amid turnaround

NEW YORK: The Interpublic Group has reached out to the investment community on an unprecedented scale, holding its first-ever "Investor Day" last week in an attempt to build support for its turnaround efforts.

NEW YORK: The Interpublic Group has reached out to the investment community on an unprecedented scale, holding its first-ever "Investor Day" last week in an attempt to build support for its turnaround efforts.

IPG, which has been wracked by very public internal accounting problems that have driven down its stock price and put the squeeze on finances, sought to show Wall Street that its turnaround plan is moving forward on schedule.

Harris Diamond, CEO of Weber Shandwick and IPG's Constituency Management Group (CMG) division, which includes the company's major PR firms, spoke at the event. He touted PR industry trends, including "strong growth in healthcare, government, consumer, corporate practices," and "strong growth opportunities across geographies."

He also lauded WS' deep global market penetration and reputation. CMG's $944 million in revenue in 2005 represented 15% of IPG's total revenues. IPG management also cited PR as a bright spot last year.

Merrill Lynch analyst Lauren Rich Fine maintained her neutral rating on IPG, noting that while IPG derives 37% of its revenues from "marketing services," including PR, "over the long term, they hope [for] a 50-50 split."

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