Clients monitor Andersen’s merger

With its reputation in tatters, the majority of the Big Five firm’s clients are publicly reserving judgement. And they are still cautious as events unfold and Andersen enters detailed talks with KPMG.

Stephen Gleadle, finance director of IT support services company Synstar, which had its agm on 7 March, confirmed Andersen had been reappointed as auditor but added: ‘It very much depends on the outcome of the talks that are in place at the moment. We’ll see.’

Andersen clients from a techMARK-listed venture capitalist company, which will hold its agm next week, said it was recommending its auditor’s re-election. But the VC added it was monitoring recent events and would take the merger news into account.

Other high profile clients outside the FTSE-100 echoed these views. A spokesman for Newcastle United said: ‘At the moment we’re satisfied with the auditors’ work.’

Andersen’s seven FTSE-100 clients have also come out in cautious support of their auditor, including Cadbury Schweppes who told Accountancy Age Andersen has been its auditor for ten years and it has been satisfied with its work.

A company spokesman said Cadbury’s ‘will seek to reappoint Andersen at the agm [on 9 May] but reserve the right to keep the matter under review’. BSkyB said: ‘We have been happy with the work Andersen has done in the past and we are monitoring events as they occur.’

Recent defections from the firm include broadcasting group The Wireless Group, who would not comment on reports that it dropped Andersen over the weekend, and Abbott Group which switched its audit work to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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