Follow the money at Interpublic Group...straight down 42nd Street to the offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers. The troubled ad firm last year spent more on auditing fees than all but one of the 150 largest U.S. public companies, according to an Ad Age analysis of data from sibling newspaper FinancialWeek and IPG. Pricewaterhouse, IPG's auditor since 1952, last year pocketed $83.6 million in audit and audit-related fees as IPG worked through restatements and other financial issues. 2005's 10 biggest auditing spenders among the 150 largest U.S. companies-plus IPG:
Focus on: REVLON (REV)
Let's put some lipstick on this ... stock. Revlon late last month slumped to 76¢, lowest price since investor and Chairman Ron Perelman took it public in 1996. Annual sales have been stuck at $1.3B, though CEO Jack Stahl vows full-year '06 sales will rise in the mid-single digits. Revlon, burdened by heavy debts, has lost money since 1998; results this year will be hurt by less-than-expected sales for Vital Radiance, a key launch. Might the best strategy be to sell to a rival? Mr. Stahl's response last month to analysts: "Our focus is on maximizing the long-term value of the enterprise."
Last week's score
The market edged up despite weak job and retail data. AQuantive jumped on solid Q2 results and analyst upgrades; Sprint tumbled on poor results.
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