On the 1 July 2008, PricewaterhouseCoopers celebrates 10 years since it came
into being, following the merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand.
At the time, this mega-merger was highly controversial, upsetting both clients,
FDs and the rest of the profession. It sparked other merger attempts among the
then Big Six and huge resistance from many international affiliates of the two
A decade on and the firm is on a sound footing, standing above its rivals in
the Accountancy Age Top
50 with fee income beyond £2bn a year, but it wasn’t always plain sailing
and the merger had a huge impact on the rest of the profession.
This special report explores the long-term implications of the profession’s
biggest merger and relives how the union came about ten years ago
In a direct response to the threat posed by thier rivals, Ernst & Young
and Deloitte also announce a merger strategy, potentially reducing the number of
largest firms to just four.
FDs are displeased by the move.
Coopers & Lybrand deny that the merger will mean the
of 850 partners.
of the audit market by the EC, E&Y and Deloitte abandon their plans to
reactions from Coopers and PW. Ian Brindle, then senior partner at PW said
the collapse lifted
shadow of an ugly spectre’ from their own merger plans but admitted that
The two firms are hit by
from the EC to the merger, but still expect the union to be approved.
Concerns from several European competition authorities on the
of audits in the banking and insurance sector threaten to throw a spanner in
the merger works
The firms decide on the
name for the merged business – PricewaterhouseCoopers
Final preparations are underway. A
board is announced that shares power equally between the two firms, partners
are anticipating a
bonus from the merger and one last hurdle is removed with the
of Coopers’ Spanish chairman whose opposition had threatened to derail the
deal. But some believe that partners will always see themselves as
to Coopers or PW.
PricewaterhouseCoopers officially comes into existence, but many partners are
in the dark over their new positions and several of Coopers’ international
affiliates defect to other firms, including
Chile, Zambia and
PwC is confirmed as
more listed audit clients than any other firm
Following the merger, PwC admits that it has
three major clients to rivals, including Abbey National and Diageo, with
others reviewing their audit arrangements.
PwC announces plans to
the firm up, with the audit, tax and business advisory business being
separated from management consultancy and other services.
Following a short-lived relaunch as Monday,
Consulting is sold to IBM for $3.9bn
PricewaterhouseCoopers becomes the first UK firm to achieve
of more than £2bn in a year, growing more than 50% since the combined firm
first posted £1.3bn fees in our 1998 Top 50 survey
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