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The Interpublic Group of Companies advertising & marketing assignments

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Interpublic (IPG) was the first of the world's multi-brand marketing organisations, created in the mid-1950s as the holding company for a collection of rival agencies acquired by what was then McCann-Erickson. It is still one of the 'Big Four' alongside WPP, Omnicom and Publicis. However, it struggled for most of the early 2000s with challenges in different parts of its portfolio. Initially, these difficulties stemmed from a string of expensive acquisitions in 1999 and 2000: Interpublic was plagued by problems as it attempted to integrate its new purchases. Matters were made worse by a disastrous investment in UK motor-racing and accounting errors which led to repeated restatements of the group's financial results. Meanwhile, there were significant client losses within its UM and Initiative media networks as well as from core creative agencies Lowe and McCann. A shake-up of senior management in early 2003 failed to put an end to these problems, which dragged on through 2004 and most of 2005. There was a further restructuring in 2006 which led to the merger of FCB with integrated network Draft to form Draftfcb, but that network too shed several key clients. In 2009, Interpublic slipped below Publicis for the first time to become the #4 ad organisation worldwide, and for the next few years struggled with yet another decline at lead network McCann. A series of management changes across the main agencies, and the relaunch of Draftfcb under its old name of FCB seemed finally to have drawn a line under past troubles by 2014, and Interpublic has in fact generally performed better than its peers in the face of the several challenges that have bombarded the industry since 2018. The group has for the most part steered well clear of big acquisitions since its troubles in the early 2000s, but notable recent additions to the portfolio were digital agency Huge in 2008 and data manager Acxiom in 2018. Michael Roth, CEO since 2005, passed over that role in 2021 to longtime lieutenant Philippe Krakowsky. After dipping slightly in Covid-impacted 2020, Interpublic's net revenues reached a new high of $9.1bn in 2021, while net income soared to $973m, also a best-ever result.

Capsule checked 12th March 2021

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Chart Interpublic's quarterly organic growth since 2017 (subscribers only)

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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Update 21st Jul 2022: After a run of stellar results, Interpublic's latest quarter was slightly weaker than expected, with organic growth of 7.9%, the lowest quarterly figure for more than a year. Reported revenues were $2.4bn with net income of $230m. On a regional basis, the US and Continental Europe both came in at 8.3% while the UK was 4.4%. Coming after double digit growth from Omnicom and Publicis, the IPG figures were a little disappointing.

Adbrands Update 16th May 2022: With all results now in, Stagwell delivered the industry's best performance for the quarter with organic growth of 23.6%. Omnicom was the best of the majors at 11.9%, followed by Interpublic at 11.5% and Havas at 11.4%. A little way behind was Publicis (despite its string of account wins) with 10.5%, followed by WPP at 9.5% and then Dentsu with 9.1%.

Adbrands 28th Apr 2022: Interpublic slotted in just below sector leader Omnicom for organic growth in Q1. Reported revenues of $2.23bn represented organic growth of 11.5%. The US was above average at 12.2% offset by 10.2% internationally. Net income came in at $159.4m. With Dentsu and Stagwell still to report, Omnicom leads the table for now, followed by Interpublic, Havas, Publicis and WPP. See Interpublic's quarterly organic growth since 2016 (subscribers only)

Adbrands 15th Mar 2022: Interpublic followed in the footsteps of WPP in suspending all agency operations in Russia. Unlike WPP, the majority of Interpublic's business there is conducted by local licensee ADV Group, which also represents Havas. In a long memo to staff, IPG CEO Philippe Krakowsky said the group has spent the past two weeks putting in place a structure that will prevent around 200 of its own local employees from simply being cut loose. Instead, they will continue being paid for at least the next six months using the remaining funds IPG holds in Russia. He said, IPG had hoped to protect its own staff in Russia while also honouring international sacntions again the regime. "Had initial ceasefire talks been productive, we could have perhaps managed to do both. But recent and escalating attacks on civilian targets, including hospitals, make it regrettably clear that the trajectory of the conflict is escalating, and the war could well go on for some time."

Adbrands 10th Mar 2022: With all financial results now in, Dentsu headed the rankings table by organic growth in Q4 at 14.2%, followed by Interpublic at 11.7%. Stagwell comes next at 11.3% followed by WPP at 10.8%, Omnicom at 9.5% and finally Publicis and Havas both at 9.3%. Most observers might wonder how Publicis - given its seemingly endless catalogue of account gains in recent months - has managed to end up with the industry's lowest organic growth metric for this quarter. The answer can only be that Publicis is gaining billings at the cost of organic revenue growth; in other words, by undercutting rival groups in the fees it charges.

Adbrands Update 10th Feb 2022: For the second consecutive quarter Interpublic outpaced its closest rivals Omnicom and Publicis for organic growth. An uplift of 11.7% for 4Q and 11.9% for the year lifted net revenues for the quarter to almost $2.6bn and the year to a best-ever $9.1bn. Net income for the quarter tripled to $368m, boosting the full year profit to $973m, also a clear personal best, and the first time the group has reported an annual profit over $675m. All regions delivered double-digit positive organic growth against 2020. Like Omnicom, Interpublic didn't provide two-year organic growth figures, but reported figures for the UK, Europe and Latin America were all well ahead of the equivalent figures for 2019, with only Asia Pacific lagging the pre-pandemic figures, at least at current exchange rates.

Marketer Moves 12th Jan 2022: Long-serving senior IPG executive to retire. See Marketer Moves (members only).

Marketer Moves 18th November 2021: New chairman at Interpublic. See Marketer Moves (members only).

Adbrands Daily Update 21st Oct 2021: Interpublic once again outpaced its two biggest rivals to report stellar Q3 organic growth. Revenues of $2.26bn represented an organic increase of 15.0% against the year-ago quarter, while two-year organic growth against 2019 was 10.7%, or more than double the equivalent metric reported by Publicis. On a reported basis, too, IPG's latest revenues were strongly ahead of 3Q 2019, when revenues came in at $2.06bn. Net income for the latest quarter was $244.6m, slightly down on the year ago period as a result of a much higher tax charge. See Interpublic's quarterly organic growth since 2016 (subscribers only)

Adbrands Daily Update 21st Jul 2021: Interpublic joined Omnicom with a strong rebound for 2Q 2021. Organic growth was 19.8%, slightly lower than Omnicom but against a stronger comparable year-ago position. IPG's net revenues came in at $2.27bn, which was actually the group's best ever result for 2Q. (The equivalent figure for 2019 was $2.1bn and all previous topline figures were below $2.0bn for this quarter). Net income for the quarter was $268m. On the face of it, Interpublic appears to have bounced back more strongly than its US rival. The regional pattern among important regions was similar to Omnicom, with Europe up most strongly at 27.9%, followed by the UK at 18.7% and the US at 17.4%.

Adbrands Daily Update 7th Jul 2021: Interpublic added a new CRM agency to its portfolio with the launch of Performance Art, led by the management team behind the group's existing unit FCB/Six. Andrea Cook, Ian Mackenzie, and Elizabeth Sellors, respectively CEO, CCO and COO of FCB/Six will transfer to the new agency in the same roles. Three current FCB/Six clients will also transfer to the new business: BMW, CIBC and Black & Abroad, the travel agency for whom FCB/Six collected a Grand Prix at Cannes 2019 in the Creative Data category.

Adbrands Daily Update 28th Apr 2021: Interpublic joined Publicis in the black for organic growth in Q1, though it still lagged behind its French rival at 1.9% globally (to the Groupe's 2.8%). There were still some issues in the US, where Interpublic was modestly negative at -0.2% but this was offset by a strong rebound in Europe. The UK managed 3.5%, but Continental Europe did even better at 12.4%. All other regional markets were positive. Reported revenues were $2.03bn with net income of $92.4m. See charts of all groups' organic performance (subscribers only).

Adbrands Daily Update 21st Oct 2020: Interpublic took a bit of a step backwards in 4Q, with organic decline increasing to -5.4%. However full year performance is still better than most rivals at -4.8%. (Publicis, the only other group to have reported so far was -6.3% for the year). Reported revenues for the year were $8.06bn, with net income of $354m. International markets continued to be the hardest hit in 4Q, down -10.5% organic combined compared to -1.8% in the US. On a region-by-region basis, Continental Europe slipped -7.3%, the UK -9.7% and Asia Pacific -17.4%. Latin America was actually up 2.3% but is Interpublic's smallest region by some margin.

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