Interpublic Group has agreed to sell about half its stake in Facebook for $133 million in net cash.
The agency holding company was recently approached about a private sale of its investment in the social networking giant, an investment that dates to a 2006 strategic partnership between the companies. That deal gave IPG a position in Facebook in exchange for input on its marketing platform and client involvement. At the time Facebook was still primarily a platform for college students.
IPG CEO Michael Roth said in a statement, “[Facebook’s] ubiquity has meant the strategic value of our initial investment has moderated, while the financial value of that stake appreciated significantly. As a result, when an attractive opportunity to divest a portion of our position recently presented itself, we decided that it made sense to do so.
At the time of its investment, Interpublic’s shares amounted to about .4 percent of Facebook. Assuming it still holds the same percentage, the sale of half its shares (.2 percent) values Facebook at $66.5 billion – at least according to IPG and the undisclosed buyer.
On closing the deal, IPG said its pre-tax gain will be $132 million.
GroupM predicts that global ad spend will top $547 billion next year, up from $524 billion this year. While television will still capture the biggest share of that 12-figure pie (41%), digital's share will grow from 31% to 33%.
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