Merger Collapse: Speaking from the Coopers camp

‘We are very confused about what lies behind the collapse of the KPMG/Ernst & Young merger. We were not surprised that the merger attempt has failed, but we were amazed at the timing of the announcement.

‘From the outset, we and our advisers have been confident that the regulatory authorities will allow our own merger to proceed, but we have been very doubtful that the KPMG/E&Y merger would be allowed through because of the very significant differences in the two situations. I imagine they would have received similar advice.

‘The regulatory process has gone very much as we had expected, and I simply cannot see any regulatory development which would have caused them to shift their position yet again.

‘Whatever the real reasons for this U-turn, both KPMG and E&Y will have to work extremely hard to restore any credibility in the eyes of partners, staff and clients.

‘However, we view the failure of the KPMG/E&Y merger as very good news for our own position. Business finds the prospect of a Big Five far more attractive than a Big Four, and we believe that the competition authorities are likely to have a similar view.

‘We remain very optimistic about our own merger prospects. The KPMG/E&Y decision has done nothing but enhance them still further.

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