Restructuring Charges A Drag on IPG's Q3 Numbers

13 November 2003

Interpublic Group surprised and disappointed Wall Street Tuesday with a set of third quarter numbers well below expectations.

After posting a net loss of $327.1 million (€282.0m; £195.3m) -- see Financial Reports in Brief below -- IPG executives warned analysts in a conference call that the group's restructuring will continue through to the first half of next year, perhaps reaching a total charge of $250m.

The agency titan, the world's largest based on 2002 revenues, originally hoped it would complete its revamp this year with charges below the $200m mark. At the end of Q3, the group's international headcount had fallen by 4,000 from that at September 2002.

But chairman/ceo David Bell asked investors to "indulge me", reminding them that he had warned the turnround would not be easy when he moved into the hotseat at the end of February. "The list of work to be done is long," he said.

He attributed the net loss to restructuring-related charges and a $221 million goodwill writeoff at sports marketing unit Octagon Worldwide. This is being restructured and integrated more closely with Interpublic's other holdings.

On the plus side, IPG is nearing settlement of a flurry of shareholder lawsuits, reported cfo/coo Christopher Coughlin. The group has set aside $127.6m for settlements, mainly to be paid in stock. He declined all other comment on the lawsuits.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff