PracticeAccounting FirmsKPMG sells consultancy to Atos Origin

KPMG sells consultancy to Atos Origin

In a surprise move, KPMG has sold its UK and Dutch consulting practices to IT consultancy Atos Origin, effectively splitting up its European network.

The deal, worth £424m in cash and bonds, will create a top five European IT consultancy, with fees of £2.4bn.

But it will leave KPMG’s other European practices, including Germany, France and Spain, out in the cold.

Mike Rake, chairman of KPMG International, said: ‘The agreements mean that KPMG now has a clear focus on its accounting and advisory work – with the goal of growing our network for our clients on a global basis.’

KPMG Consulting had originally anticipated selling its European operations as a whole, but it is understood Atos did not see all the national operations as a ‘strategic fit’.

However, the firms could be able to form strategic alliances with the new consultancy.

The move could also throw KPMG into direct competition with its former sister firm in the US, KPMG Consulting Inc, which floated on the NASDAQ last year.

Atos Origin’s chief executive, Bernard Bourigeaud, has stated he sees the USA as a ‘key area’ in the company’s expansion – although the majority of the company’s business is based in the Netherlands and France, it recorded more than £130m in fees in the USA last year.

Seperately, Deloitte Consulting could make an announcement as early as this week on the firm’s future – possible options could include a trade sale, flotation or management buy-out.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has already announced its intention to float its consulting practice in the summer.

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