Andersen to complete merger by 1 October

John Ormerod, UK senior managing partner for Andersen, told a packed press conference that the two firms sought guidance and admitted there were competition issues to answer.

But he said: ‘This is an unprecedented case. We’ve been in contact with the authorities and we expect them to understand and react in a favourable light.’

Andersen and KPMG confirmed on Monday evening that they were in merger talks.

The end of last week saw Andersen in the US indicted on criminal charges of ‘obstruction’ relating to the shredding of tonnes of documents connected with the audit of collapsed energy giant Enron.

The merger plan would see all of Andersen’s operation outside the US merged with KPMG by 1 October. However, Ormerod said he hoped Andersen in the UK would be merged with its Big Five competitor long before then.

Under the merger plans the Andersen name woudld disappear but Ormerod said that would be reviewed with market research soon after.

Ormerod also reiterated his confidence that UK partners would not be liable for the claims being made against the firm in the US.

Andersen had been in talks with Deloittes but the potential partner pulled out after the indictments emerged.

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