BusinessCorporate FinanceWhen the tough get going.

When the tough get going.

Away from most of the media glare, Deloitte has been locked in a High Court battle with four of the firm's partners.

Known as the ‘gang of four’, Rustom Kharegat, Robert Ohrenstein, Helen Pratten and John Oldcom, were in court last week to argue the toss over their notice period after being poached by KPMG. Deloitte wants them to sit it out, while the four want to get going straight away.

KPMG is rumoured to be paying well for the four and seems willing to invest considerable time waiting for them to arrive too.

But perhaps the most interesting commentary on this little drama came from a fellow Big Four private equity practitioner who declared it was a ‘relief’ when the judge ruled in favour of Deloitte.

A relief because suddenly some tough competitors had been taken off the field of play. This is revealing in that it shows that despite recent good news about an upturn in corporate finance activity, things are tough enough to provoke financiers into wishing their competitors away. Of course, people always want their competitors to disappear, but corporate financiers usually believe they’re a match for anyone else.

Which brings me to another point. Maybe the confidence of corporate financiers after the recent downturn has been shot to pieces. So much so, in fact, they really don’t relish the fight anymore. If that’s the case then the near disappearance of deals has been much more damaging than we ever thought.

Let me know, if you think different.

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