Between the Lines: IPG is not out of the woods

From the boardrooms of Paris to the offices of the venture capitalists in New York and San Francisco, the latest financial figures from Interpublic are doubtless under close scrutiny this week (page 1). Whether they actually reveal very much is an open question.

Second quarter net income is up by $3.5 million from the same period a year ago to $47 million. But this has much to do with the drop in professional fees the group has been forking out in order to get out of its financial mess.

The quarterly profit was higher as well. But this was due to a lower tax provision. Revenue actually fell 5 per cent.

Michael Roth, the IPG chairman, believes IPG is fundamentally sound. However, shareholders and potential buyers may yet need some convincing.

The fact is that IPG's future remains finely balanced. Three years ago Cordiant's shares were sent into freefall, forcing the group into WPP's rescuing arms, when Allied Domecq, one of its biggest clients, fired it. Nobody would wish IPG a similar fate. But it cannot be ruled out.

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