Big Six – Euro FDs oppose merger

Opposition among European finance directors to consolidation within the accountancy industry has grown despite the decision by KPMG and Ernst & Young to ditch their merger plans, according to a new survey.

The study, by Research International and sponsored by Deloitte & Touche, claimed 76% of finance chiefs at European multinational companies were opposed to the proposed tie-up between Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand.

A spokesman for the merger firms dismissed the survey and said client feedback was ‘extremely positive’. Their deal is almost certain to receive full European regulatory approval within the next two months.

Surprisingly, the report added that 18 out of 23 PW/Coopers clients surveyed were against the marriage. A similar RI survey in January found 73% of European FDs were opposed to the merger plans.

Opposition was based on fears of reduced price competition and the threat of further competition within the accountancy industry.

A PW spokesman said: ‘This is not what we are getting back from our clients.

Deloittes is doing everything it can to spoil the merger because it is frightened of the consequences.

‘If we join the other big three global firms, there will be four firms much bigger than Deloittes which will become the tail-end Charlie.’

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