Interpublic Barricades Brokers, Investors

17 October 2003

Following this week's unexplained surge in its share trading [WAMN: 16-Oct-03], Interpublic Group has taken the highly unusual step of cancelling all previously scheduled meetings with brokers and institutional investors ahead of unveiling its Q3 results on November 11, Advertising Age reports.

Opined the industry bible: " Interpublic share trading speaks volumes." The magazine has analysed Interpublic share trading over the past fifteen years to discover that 51 of the stock’s 100 highest days of trading volume occurred this year. Moreover, three of those days were this week: 7.9 million shares traded Tuesday, 6.1m on Wednesday and 5.3m yesterday.

But while the recent tsunami of trading may "speak volumes" to AdAge, analysts have yet to translate the language. Nor are they sure why the agency holding company has cancelled all its meetings - one of which is said to have been between IPG's ceo David Bell and 11.7% stakeholder Capital Research & Management, the group's largest investor.

Bell, the former boss of True North who took over the IPG hotseat earlier this year [WAMN: 28-Feb-03], has been working with recently appointed cfo/coo Christopher Coughlin to build bridges with Wall Street following last year's string of financial restatements.

Since Bell took over, Interpublic's share price has climbed 48% in a rallying sector. Over the same period, IPG peers Omnicom Group, Publicis Groupe and WPP Group recorded respective increases of 47%, 79% and 61%.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff