Interpublic CMG PR firms see low-single-digit growth in Q3

The group includes Weber Shandwick, Rogers & Cowan and Current Global.

 NEW YORK: The PR firms within Interpublic Group’s Constituency Management Group posted low-single-digit growth in Q3 on both an as-reported and organic basis, CMG chairman and CEO Andy Polansky said on Tuesday.

The Q3 percentage increase was in comparison to mid-single-digit growth on both an as-reported and organic basis in Q3 2018.

In the first nine months of 2019, CMG PR firms also had low-single-digit growth on an organic and as-reported basis, Polansky said.

CMG contains IPG’s specialty marketing firms across disciplines, including PR, sports marketing, experiential marketing, brand consulting and digital and social media marketing. Its PR firms include Weber Shandwick, Golin, Rogers & Cowan, DeVries Global and Current Global. The unit also includes specialist marketing agencies such as Jack Morton, FutureBrand and Octagon.

CMG reported an organic net revenue increase of 2.1% in Q3 to $317.5 million.

Polansky noted that he is beginning to see more collaborative opportunities across CMG firms.

"Clients are looking for the blend of expertise we have in PR, sports and experiential marketing, branding and consulting," he said. "So we are fusing all of that capability with the creative chops we have in the group and across IPG and they are delivering more integrated solutions for clients."

Weber Shandwick, Rogers & Cowan and Current Global had a particularly strong performance in the quarter. Golin had strong new business wins in its healthcare, corporate and consumer practices, said Polansky. He declined to specify what accounts were won.

Europe and Latin America were the highest-performing regions, though the U.S. and Asia had "some pockets" of very strong performance, as well. CMG as a whole is seeing "vibrancy" in the healthcare and technology sectors, said Polansky.

Weber registered low-single-digit growth on an organic and as-reported basis in Q3. It had double-digit growth in more than 20 of its operations around the world, most notably in Japan, Germany, Korea and a handful of cities in the U.S., including Chicago and Los Angeles.

"The strategic acquisitions Weber has made over the past few years continue to perform extremely well and add value to its overall offer," added Polansky. The firm’s recent acquisitions include ReviveHealth, That Lot, Flipside, Resolute Digital and Brazil-based Cappuccino.

Interpublic’s Integrated Agency Networks division, which consists mostly of its creative agencies such as McCann, FCB, and MullenLowe Group, reported 1.2% organic net revenue growth in Q3 to $1.7 billion. 

The holding company as a whole reported organic net revenue growth of 1.4% in Q3 to $2.06 billion. Operating income in Q3 was $280.3 million. In the third quarter of 2019, operating margin on net revenue was 13.6%.

Broken down by region, organic net revenue decreased in the U.S. by 0.6%. and in Asia-Pacific by 0.5%. Organic revenue was positive internationally (4.5%), in the U.K. (0.5%), Continental Europe (6.6%), Latin America (23%), and all other markets (3.5%).  

In July, PMK•BNC moved into the CMG division as part of its merger with Rogers & Cowan that month. Prior to the merger, Rogers & Cowan was under the Octagon Sports and Entertainment Network, which, in turn, was under CMG. PMK•BNC was previously part of McCann. The newly combined agency now sits below Octagon, which remains part of CMG.

Former Weber Shandwick CEO Polansky was named chair and CEO of CMG in July. Weber president Gail Heimann took his place as chief executive of the agency. 

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