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IPG Hires Goldman Sachs to Look at NFO

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NEW YORK--Interpublic Group on Wednesday confirmed that it has hired Goldman Sachs to "explore strategic alternatives" for its NFO WorldGroup market research firm.

IPG is thinking about selling the specialty operation, in part to increase cash flow but also because it's not considered a core offering, sources said. An IPG representative declined to elaborate beyond the company's brief written statement.

Previously, IPG said it was exploring alternatives for another non-core asset: the motor sports division of Octagon.

In the same statement, IPG said its lenders had extended the deadline for re-negotiating the terms of its major credit agreements with the holding company. The deadline, previously set at Jan. 15, is now Feb. 10. And until then, IPG has agreed to "limit its cash acquisitions" and "not take any dividend action."

IPG's statement was issued after the close of the market. IPG's stock closed Wednesday at $14.85 a share, down 15 cents, or 1 percent, on volume of 2.1 million.

--Andrew McMains