According to the New York Times, negotiations between the two firms began in earnest last week, at the same time Andersen learned it faced a potential indictment on obstruction of justice charges in the Enron investigation.
Andersen is now talking to prosecutors to see if a resolution of the criminal case can be reached before an indictment is made public, possibly as early as this week.
Terms of the potential deal with Deloittes are unclear and it is understood no decision has yet been reached on whether Andersen would be sold whole or in pieces. However, the Andersen name is certain to disappear from the accounting industry once the deal is done.
The talks have been taking place in New York, led by the firms’ chief executives, Joe Berardino from Andersen and James Copeland from Deloittes, and a handful of partners.
An Andersen spokesman declined to comment on any negotiations. He said: ‘Andersen is considering many options to enable us to continue to successfully serve our clients and promote the career opportunities of our people.’
He added: ‘We are committed to making changes to our business that will restore the public’s trust, enhance the quality and independence of our audit practice and allow all of our practices to thrive.’
Deloittes in the UK is compiling an official statement on the possible move.
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