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This Top Ad-Holding Firm Looks Attractive

Ali Mogharabi

Ali Mogharabi: One of the world's top five ad-holding companies, the Interpublic Group of Companies, or IPG, is on our best ideas list, as we think the stock's recent decline has created an attractive entry point for this narrow-moat name.

While we have been cautious regarding IPG and its peers, the selling is overdone, in our view. We think that what appears to be a slowdown in ad spending is driven mainly by geopolitical uncertainties that may have discounted the expectation of enduring moderate economic growth. The latest U.S. GDP and monthly economic figures provided some assurance that the economy will keep growing modestly. The EU's third-quarter economic numbers also have been reassuring. We note that the annualized growth rate for the United Kingdom is now steady.

We also remain convinced that IPG and its peers won't be significantly impacted by consulting companies. In our view, consultancies lag ad-holding firms when it comes to product knowledge, studies of customer behavior, and creativity, as they focus mainly on implementing various cost-cutting measures to improve efficiency.

Our narrow moat rating on IPG is based on valuable intangible assets around its brand equity and the strong reputations of its various advertising agencies around the world. With our conservative projections, we value IPG at $25 per share. At current levels, the 20% discount to our fair value estimate along with a 3.5% dividend yield have made the shares attractive.