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U.S. third-quarter measured ad spending slipped 0.3%, but it grew 3.9% after factoring out 2004's Olympics and election spending. September figures rose 3.8% despite Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; TNS estimated the storms cost local media $15-$20 million in lost ad revenue.

AdMarket 50

Focus on: Viacom (VIA)

When Viacom in Sept. 1999 agreed to buy CBS Corp., Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone said the deal would create "a dynamic growth vehicle that will benefit shareholders well into the future.... The timing for this could not be better." Not quite. The stock market bubble burst before the deal closed, a recession began and, since the ad recovery started in May '02, Viacom underperformed rivals. So it's splitsville: Viacom will spin off from CBS in January-again. CBS originally spun off Viacom in 1970.

Price $34.42

52-week high/low $39.26/$30.02

Projected P/E1 19.8

Market cap $53.2 B

Enterprise value2 $63.1 B

Revenue3 $22.5 B

Net income3 -$17.5 B

1. Currrent price/estimated '05 earnings per share. 2. Market cap plus debt minus cash. 3. 2004; net loss includes $18 billion impairment charge to reduce carrying value of radio and outdoor.

Source: Bloomberg, company reports, Ad Age analysis

Last week's score

Havas soared as investors waited to hear investor Vincent Bollore's plans. Agencies gained; IPG ($9.45) rebounded from a two-year low ($9.08).

AdMarket 50 1,476.15 -1.1%

DJ Wilshire 5000 12,640.82 -0.4%

Winners Dec. 9 Change

Havas $5.10 14.9%

WPP Group $54.01 7.8%

News Corp. $16.53 4.2%

General Motors Corp. $22.92 3.8%

Sears Holdings $123.79 3.6%

Losers Dec. 9 Change

Primedia $1.80 -12.2%

Intel Corp. $26.08 -4.9%

Time Warner $17.66 -3.3%

Pfizer $20.60 -3.3%

Coca-Cola Co. $41.51 -3.1%

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 tracks 50 top marketer, media and agency companies. Bloomberg symbol: BAAX

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