NEW YORK: Addressing the UBS Media Conference on Monday, Interpublic Group chairman/ceo Michael Roth emphatically denied rumors that his agency holding company - the globe's third largest - is in merger talks with world number four ad conglomerate Publicis Groupe.

Since last Friday, when the rumor was floated by Advertising Age, it fermented furiously over the weekend leading to Roth's rebuttal first thing Monday. He declared: "We're not in negotiations with Publicis or anyone else."

His presentation to the annual UBS event was otherwise pretty much in line with what might be expected at a conference hosted by a major investment bank and attended by Wall Street analysts and business journalists.

Along with other media and agency honchos, Roth dutifully hyped his company's performance and future prospects. "We're turning Interpublic into a real company," he claimed. "We're no longer on our back foot. We're being aggressive in the marketplace."

Nestling among Roth's promotional bullet points were promises of competitive revenue growth and double-digit profit margins by 2008. He also said that IPG will be in full compliance with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley regulations by the end of next year.

Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff