IPG CEO Roth: 'Not in Negotiations With Anyone'

Lays Out Turnaround Goals at UBS Media Conference, Denies Acquisition Story

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Responding to reports that his company could soon to be the subject of a takeover bid, Interpublic Group of Cos. Chairman-CEO Michael Roth denied that any sales talks are ongoing.
Interpublic Group of Cos. Chairman-CEO Michael Roth
Interpublic Group of Cos. Chairman-CEO Michael Roth

"We're not in negotiations with Publicis or anyone else," Mr. Roth said this morning during an address at UBS' media-industry conference.

He was responding to a story, first broken by Advertising Age on Dec. 1, that Publicis Groupe is eyeing a potential acquisition of Interpublic and could discuss such a move at supervisory board meetings this week. Publicis Groupe Chairman-CEO Maurice Levy has forcefully denied that report.

Years of difficulties
Interpublic, the third-largest agency holding company, has been trying to mount a turnaround after years of financial and operational difficulties, including several restatements of financial results and the departures of large clients. Mr. Roth hailed the company's performance over the past year, pointing to revenue stabilization, improved new-business performance and decreases in professional fees. His generally upbeat address was in contrast to last year's performance, when the company was just coming out of a restatement.

"We're turning Interpublic into a real company," he said, speaking to an audience of journalists and Wall Street analysts. "We're no longer on our back foot. We're being aggressive in the marketplace."

He reiterated the company's turnaround goals, which include compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley regulations by the end of 2007 and competitive revenue growth and double-digit profit margins by 2008.
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