Has Mazars done a u-turn on its strategy of avoiding the litigation-hungry US
That’s the big question after the firm announced that it had begun merger
talks with New York-based firm Weiser – ranked 24th largest firm in the US.
Last year Mazars’ president Patrick de Cambourg spoke out about the firm’s
concerns over the risk of litigation in the US.
“Most would go to the biggest market, we said the contrary,” said de
But, talking to Accountancy Age this week, he said the merger plan fitted
into Mazars’ strongly managed risk strategy in the States, as opposed to a
change of heart. “This is a hand-picked opportunity.”
Mazars had its own teams in New York pre-Enron, who then moved into Weiser.
The firm has performed strongly, and both view each other as strong risk
managers. “We feel confident as [it has] demonstrated over the past ten years
that it manages risk that doesn’t expose us. We’ve carefully considered this,
and felt at ease with the move.”
De Cambourg believes the deal will fail to sour the good relationship that
Mazars has with other US firms through the Praxity network.
“This deal is not going to change that relationship. It shouldn’t and it
Mazars’ and Weiser’s partnerships are considering the merger plans and a
decision is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2010.
Weiser has operated for more than a century, focusing on high net worth
individuals and owner managers of “closely held” businesses.
IN OUR VIEW
Mazars’ move into the US market shows that gains to be had across the pond
cannot be ignored. Whether it can steer clear of class-action audit suits remain
to be seen – but Mazars obviously thinks it’s a risk worth taking.
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