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IPG sells remaining shares in Facebook

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MUMBAI: The Interpublic Group (IPG) has sold its remaining shares in Facebook Inc. for net cash proceeds of $95 million and expects to record a pre-tax gain of $94 million.

Interpublic chairman and CEO Michael I. Roth said, "The value of the investment we made in Facebook in 2006 has increased significantly during the last six years. We decided to sell our remaining shares in Facebook as our investment was no longer strategic in nature. Simultaneously, our board has authorized an increase in our share repurchase program of $100 million. We view this as another opportunity to enhance shareholder value reflecting the confidence we have in our company."

The global media communications network entered a strategic partnership with the social media networking website in 2006. As part of the agreement, Interpublic was to participate in marketing programs on the website, including online advertising and promotions, as well as pilot programs involving sponsorships, consumer research and content creation on behalf of its clients. Interpublic has also agreed to acquire less than one-half of one per cent of Facebook.

Interpublic announced that its Board of Directors has authorised an increase in its existing share repurchase program from $300 million to $400 million. As of September 30, $151 million had been used under the authorisation. The share repurchase program has no expiration date.

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