Interpublic Group sell Facebook shares for $133m

Bought back in 2006 for $5 million as part of an advertising deal
Kerry Butters
Kerry Butters -

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Advertising company the Interpublic Group today agreed a deal to sell almost half of its’ shares in social media giant Facebook for a substantial $133 million.

The company collaborated with Facebook back in 2006, when they agreed to spend $10 million of their clients’ money on advertising with the site in exchange for a 0.4% stake purchased at just $5 million.

“Interpublic formed a strategic relationship with Facebook in 2006 that allowed us to fast-track the growth of our social media offerings on behalf of clients,” said Michael I. Roth, Interpublic’s Chairman and CEO.

“Facebook has since become a part of daily life for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Its 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,” he went on to say.

The sale puts the full value of Facebook at around $65 billion but when investment fund GSV Capital Corp bought 225,000 shares in Facebook back in June the average price of each share was $29.28, valuing the social networking site at about $70bn.

Interpublic is one of the world’s leading organizations of advertising agencies and marketing services companies. Major global brands include Lowe and Partners and Weber Shandwick.

The company’s board has simultaneously authorised an increase in their share repurchase program to $150 million, in a statement they said: “We see this as an opportunity to further enhance shareholder value, and reflects our confidence in the long-term prospects for our company.”

It is not known who has purchased the shares at this point but the Financial Times has reported that it’s not Facebook itself.

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