Deloittes said it had decided not to pursue a business combination with Andersen Worldwide because of concerns over Andersen’s unresolved litigation and legal issues.
The news came as Andersen prepared to face criminal charges in the US for obstruction of justice following its involvement with the Enron scandal.
In a statement, Deloitte said: ‘Our first preference for the capital markets and for the profession is for Andersen to continue as a free-standing firm.
‘We entered into preliminary discussions with Andersen when it appeared that insufficient progress was being made toward that goal. Deloitte continues to support any reasonable proposal that offers Andersen the ability to survive as a free-standing organization for the benefit of its clients and people.’
KPMG is believed to be still interested in acquiring part of the firm in Europe, a move which could signal the break-up of Andersen’s global network.
Mid-tier firm BDO Stoy Hayward is also believed to be interested in a number of Andersen’s practices.
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