Interpublic faces muted ad spending amid Middle East conflict

(Reuters) - Interpublic reported sharp revenue drops in some of its international markets on Wednesday, including the Middle East, as geopolitical uncertainty weighs on advertisement budgets.

Growing tensions in the Middle East have clouded growth prospects for the advertising group, which in February flagged that the Israel-Hamas conflict would impact its business.

The company reaffirmed its annual growth forecast of 1% to 2%, but said a recent decision by a major unnamed client meant it would be challenging to reach the top end of that range.

Interpublic - which also owns McCann, Mediabrands and MullenLowe - reported revenue of $2.18 billion for the first quarter, in line with market expectations according to LSEG data.

That reflected uncertain growth in the advertising market as several tech and media companies lay off staff and cut costs.

Its peer Omnicom beat quarterly profit and revenue expectations last week on strong demand for its ad services.

Revenue from its "all other markets" segment, which includes Canada, Africa and the Middle East, fell 6.5% in the quarter, while Asia-Pacific saw a 8.1% drop in the same period.

It reported quarterly earnings of 29 cents per share, down from 33 cents per share a year ago.

(Reporting by Zaheer Kachwala in Bengaluru; Editing by Milla Nissi)