PwC hunts new buyer.

PricewaterhouseCoopers this week faced a new struggle to find a buyer big enough to bid for its consulting wing following the last minute withdrawal of computer giant Hewlett-Packard from its $18bn talks.

HP pulled the plug on its proposed takeover on this Monday after issuing disappointing fourth quarter earnings.

PwC chief executive James J. Schiro and his HP counterpart Carly Fiorina expressed disappointment over the collapse of the talks made public in September and blamed difficult market conditions.

The failure came just days before the US Securities and Exchange Commission shake-up of the profession that was widely tipped to fall short of calling for a full split between firms’ audit and consulting businesses.

Schiro confirmed PwC would continue with its restructuring plans, which would be based on separating the consultancy branch.

A PwC spokesman in the UK added the firm was ‘definitely not’ considering retaining the consultancy arm in-house, and would review other options that could include an IPO or management buy-out.

He said the restructuring was separate from the review by the SEC, who in January published a report into PwC independence violations.

He added: ‘While we acknowledge the regulatory environment we are operating in, it is not the fundamental driver of our review.’

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