Merger Collapse – Price Waterhouse ”in favour’

The collapse of the merger between KPMG and Ernst & Young lifted ‘the shadow of an ugly spectre’ from the planned union of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand, PW senior partner Ian Brindle said this week.

Speaking to Accountancy Age on Monday, Brindle blamed the failed rival merger bid for the wave of client opposition to the Big Six mergers and said he expected opinion to switch in favour of the PW/Coopers tie-up once it was viewed on its own merits.

He was dismissive of comments by E&Y senior partner Nick Land that his merger had foundered on the issue of cost and regulation. ‘I always expected the European Commission, as we all did, to carry out a phase two investigation because they needed time to look into the facts. I cannot believe E&Y and KPMG did not foresee that too,’ he said.

‘We would not have gone into our merger if we had thought the costs would outweigh the advantages.’

Brindle said E&Y had admitted it spent only ten days discussing merger with KPMG before making last October’s announcement while PW and Coopers had begun talking last May, four months before going public.

PW and Coopers were ready to answer any questions that the European Commission or any other regulator asked, he added.

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