Another good earnings day for IPG; Q3 beats expectations

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Michael Roth chairman and chief executive officer of Interpublic Group
Michael Roth chairman and chief executive officer of Interpublic Group Credit: Composite by Ad Age, Photo by Denis Doyle/Bloomberg

Interpublic Group of Cos. reported third quarter organic growth Friday that was well above analyst expectations, following a number of new-business wins, the closing of its Acxiom Marketing Solutions acquisition and an "improved tone of business" in CPG clients.

IPG saw organic growth of 5.4 percent in the quarter, with net revenue increasing 3.4 percent from the same period in 2017 to $1.9 billion.

Earlier this month, IPG completed the acquisition of Acxiom's Marketing Solutions business, bringing Acxiom's 2,100-person data analytics and management group under the holding company's umbrella as a stand-alone division aligned with IPG Mediabrands.

"We continue to believe that this acquisition will create revenue opportunities for our organization, starting with our media offering where the prospects are greatest," IPG Chairman and CEO Michael Roth said on the call. "With Acxiom, our company can now deliver foundational data management capabilities to our clients, including many of the world's largest brands. This is a critical capability – increasingly, our largest clients have tasked us with creating cross-channel brand experiences that leverage their first party data, advertising and marketing technologies, as well as creative insights."

Roth spoke about the recent successes of its agencies, including a strong year for Mediabrands' UM, which retained Charles Schwab and won Quicken Loans. UM also was awarded American Express' media business last week. In the third quarter, MullenLowe also added clients including Staples and Caesars Entertainment.

Roth said the holding company continues to see an "improved tone of business among CPG clients," with growth in the third quarter and in the year so far.

Earlier this week, the Association of National Advertisers released new research saying 78 percent of its members have some form of in-house agency — a sharp upward swing from the ANA's most recent report on the topic, published in 2013.

Speaking on the new research, Roth said though many clients are bringing in programmatic services with the help of IPG, it remains to be seen "how many of these clients who are bringing (services) in-house are going to continue to do that."

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