Interpublic defies US odds with 5.6 per cent growth

Interpublic CEO Michael Roth and his key lieutenants, including Harris Diamond at McCann Worldgroup and Carter Murray at FCB, seem to have discovered a secret sauce that eludes its rivals at WPP, Omnicom and Publicis Groupe.

The smallest of the ‘big four’ ad holding companies, IPG grew organically by a whopping 5.6 per cent in the second quarter of 2018, far ahead of Omnicon which inched forward but fell back in the US and Publicis Groupe which hit a nasty, negative bump in the road with organic revenue falling back. WPP doesn’t report until September 4 but most analysts would be grateful for any growth.

Total second-quarter revenue increased 9.4 per cent to $2.4bn and first-half net revenue grew 7.3 per cent to $4.6bn.

CEO Roth (below) says: “Our organic revenue growth is an encouraging signal that certain marketers have, in fact, returned to growth mode in their engagements with us.” IPG shares rose seven per cent. Roth is forecasting between four and 4.5 per cent organic growth for the year, about double what the market was expecting.

IPG, like Omnicom, is heavily dependent on the US where clients have been cutting back and reviewing and rewriting their contracts with media agencies. but it has preformed strongly in recent years on big global clients like Microsoft and its more simple, even traditional model – big creative agencies and a media operation in Mediabrands which eschews opaque layers of agencies all doing different things for their own purposes – seems to be paying off.

IPG recently boosted its armoury with the $2bn acquisition of most of data firm Acxiom.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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