AP News

Publicis denies rumor, Interpublic shares drop


NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of The Interpublic Group of Cos. fell Monday after Publicis Groupe of France shot down a report that it was weighing a bid for its rival American advertising company.

Shares of New York-based Interpublic fell 97 cents, or 9 percent, to $10. Its shares peaked for the past year at $12.17 on May 1.

In a statement issued Monday, Paris-based Publicis "denied having engaged in any discussions with Interpublic Group" and said it hadn't hired any banks to explore such talks.

The rumored bid was reported Friday by the Financial Times' Alphaville site, which cited sources it did not name as saying the deal has been under preparation for six months. The newspaper said that a combination of Interpublic and Publicis would create the world's second-biggest ad company after Britain's WPP.

On Sunday, The Financial Times updated its story with Publicis' denial.

"Apologies, but our usually knowledgeable sources turned out to be lacking on this occasion," the newspaper wrote.

Publicis owns Leo Burnett, Rosetta and Saatchi & Saatchi. Interpublic's agencies include McCann Erickson and Draftfcb. Last month, Interpublic said its second-quarter net income fell 3 percent, hurt by the stronger dollar and some U.S. account losses in 2011.


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