Publicis Groupe Denies IPG Acquisition Talks

'FT' speculation drove heavy trading

Publicis Groupe refuted speculation in the Financial Times that it is planning a bid for American rival Interpublic. In a statement issued on Sunday morning, the French holding company said: "Publicis Groupe denies having engaged in any discussions with Interpublic Group of Companies and confirms that it has not commissioned any bank to undertake any such discussions." 

In response, the FT, updated the post, saying, "Apologies, but our usually knowledgeable sources turned out to be lacking on this occasion."

On Friday, Interpublic shares closed at $10.97, 13.3 percent higher. Volume in the company's stock increased nearly sixfold, with more than 40 million shares changing hands after the FT reported Publicis Groupe was readying a more than $6 billion-bid for the U.S. holding company.

Speculation about Publicis’ interest in acquiring IPG has surfaced numerous times in the past, but the FT’s Alphaville blog contained specific details that appeared to give more credence to the latest round of rumors. The FT said Publicis was working on a bid, which has been six months in the planning, that would offer shareholders a cash-and-stock deal valued at $15 a share. The Paris holding company was reported to be working with a number of banks, including Rothschild.

In response, on Friday IPG issued a statement: “We are aware of the activity in our stock today. It is our policy not to comment on market rumors or speculation.”