Big Six – Andersens eyes Brazil

Arthur Andersen is set to take over the Brazilian arm of Coopers & Lybrand and could strip out several of the firm’s European offices before the #7.7bn mega-merger of Coopers and Price Waterhouse goes ahead on 1 July.

Last week, Andersens announced it had started discussions with Coopers in Brazil ‘to investigate a possible merger of their operations in that country’. It also emerged this week that Coopers partners in Japan and Korea are deadlocked in negotiations with PW over the merger and partner liability.

An Andersens spokesman said this week that talks with Coopers partners in Brazil were ‘pretty far advanced’.

Coopers in Brazil, which confirmed this week it will not be part of the PW merger, last year employed 750 staff in five offices and brought in revenue of $60m (#37m). By comparison, Andersens earned about $100m in Brazil.

The firm was hopeful a deal would be approved before the deadline.

The deal, if it goes ahead, would be a blow to Coopers, which lost its Chilean affiliate, Langton Clarke y Cia, to Andersens earlier this year.

Andersens’ worldwide head, Jim Wadia, told Accountancy Age in February he had targeted seven Coopers offices in its global network.

Andersens’ executives have pursued merger talks with Coopers offices with added zeal, said insiders, because they were concerned divorce talks with its sister firm Andersen Consulting could relegate the firm to sixth place in many countries.

The firm has built up only a small practice in Sweden and a merger with the local Coopers practice would catapult the firm into first place.

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