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SEC Filings

8-K
INTERPUBLIC GROUP OF COMPANIES, INC. filed this Form 8-K on 10/30/2017
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RFPs, because they realize that the only place that they can get those, that type of insight and capabilities, are from our types of businesses and our media businesses.

And that’s why I think we’ve invested significantly in the data analytics. As you know, we made a commitment at the beginning of the year to bring a good part of that data analytics into IPG so it’s available across all of our agencies, not just the media side. And that’s working well. Cadreon and Reprise are doing tremendous in terms of digital growth and insights. And when we win these businesses, we win it because of the tools and resources that we bring to the table. So, yes, media is where all the action is happening right now, and we bring in the insights, the digital capabilities, on a regular basis, and it’s proven that we are best-in-class. And we beat a number of our competitors, obviously, in this arena, given the new business wins that we’ve had on the media side.

There is pressure, if you will, on the media side with respect to pricing, in that there’s no question that there are some competitors out there that view getting into the media business as an opportunity to get into the other sides of the business. And, therefore, they’re willing to do what I call irrational acts on some of the pricing. But the sophisticated clients that we have know that that’s not a long-term solution in terms of how they handle their media business. And we emphasize that. And so media is a very strong horse for us driving our business.

Mr. Swinburne:
Thank you. And, Frank, you commented a little bit on this in your prepared remarks, but can you talk about the drivers of the working capital drag increase this year versus last year, how you’re managing that? We saw the same, at least directional, trend in Omnicom. They talked a bit about pressure on collections or execution on collections, but any comment you can give us to help us understand what has been a trend, I think, across the holding companies now for kind of a year plus, which is the working capital or cash conversion out of EBITDA, would be interesting.

Frank Mergenthaler, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer:
Ben, the working capital is volatile, and it’s driven by our media business, Ben. And normally, in a normal year, it’s usually a use of cash for three quarters, and then in the fourth quarter, we generate significant cash. In 2016, you had the Olympics in the third quarter, so a lot of the fourth-quarter media spend was pulled forward, so that resulted in significant cash generation. For this quarter, we’re seeing the normal volatility. We expect our debt levels at the end of the year to be consistent with last year.

So is there a change out there in payment terms? No. We’re seeing pressure around it, but we manage it quite well. We’ve got rigorous controls to ensure we’re not going beyond what we believe are appropriate. We look at cash collection in cycles. I think we’ve been very efficient. We’ve got shared service centers around the globe that help that conversion be efficient. So we don’t see any change in the business model. I think clients are getting more sophisticated around how they pay us. Media owners are getting more sophisticated. But, again, we’re managing through that.


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