Big Six – Arthur Andersen attempts to delay Consulting split

Arthur Andersen resorted to a series of tactical manoeuvres this week in a desperate attempt to delay the onset of divorce proceedings lodged by its sister firm, Andersen Consulting.

The accounting firm asked international arbitrators in Paris to postpone consideration of demands by Consulting that the world’s largest professional services firm should split.

It asked for more time before senior executives are required to submit their response to charges that they grabbed an unfair slice of revenues from Andersen Worldwide, the firms’ umbrella organisation, and used the money to fund its own rival consultancy.

Insiders said Arthurs’ legal teams were spinning a web of constitutional rules to present to the International Chambers of Commerce, where the case will be heard next month. The rules will show Consulting must negotiate with more than 100 member firms worldwide before it can extract itself from the partnership.

Analysts said it was odd for Arthurs to insist it consisted of separate firms when it emphasised the global nature of its operations to clients.

Consulting presented a document on behalf of its worldwide group of 1,000 partners. It generates the largest share of the firm’s $11.5bn income, but feels it is punished for its success.

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