Take Your Agency Public? Just Say No.

This is why you don't take your ad agency public.

I find it silly that in the above-linked story by Stuart Elliot, there is no discussion of the advertising business in general or the challenges that face holding company IPG. Just a lot of bitching on the part of investors that IPG's stock isn't performing as well as they might like, that IPG gives bonuses to its executives, and that investor dividends have been suspended. IPG Chair and CEO David Bell justifies the bonuses by saying that failing to give them invites competitors to poach the talent that IPG needs in order to turn things around. This totally makes sense to me. What doesn't make sense is having to put up with this nonsense from shareholders who want to make a quick buck instead of investing for the long haul.

To me, the freedom to grow a company in a smart and realistic fashion is worth tons more than the money an IPO can raise. I wouldn't trade this freedom away if it meant having investors constantly pressuring me for short-term gain at the expense of long-term sustainability. If you're making money and you don't need IPO cash to fund things like expansion or acquisitions, stay private and avoid the aggravation.