Big Few merger empty of NZ IT

Andersen New Zealand, merging with Ernst & Young this week, says it has no IT consulting or development business to transfer.

Andersen New Zealand, merging with Ernst & Young this week, says it has no IT consulting or development business to transfer.

“It’s all business consulting, management consulting, cost reduction and areas like that,” says E&Y spokesman Wayne Jackson. This is confirmed by Andersen business consulting partner Chris Moxon.

More than a year ago Andersen hived off its original consultancy activities, including all IT consultancy, into the new Accenture. A spokeswoman for Accenture confirms that company is not involved in the current merger.

The merger goes against the predominant move of Andersen business units internationally, which is to merge with another of the "Big Few" -- now four -- business consultancies, KPMG. The need to merge has been largely brought about by Arthur Andersen's involvement in the collapse of energy trader Enron.

Andersen managing partner Rob McLeod said he was approached by a number of firms with merger proposals, but only Ernst & Young was prepared to take on the full staff and client list. Others wanted to be selective about taking the better-performing parts of the company.

The multi-way merger decision “removes uncertainty for Andersen firms and their clients”, says Jackson. Also breaking with the dominant KPMG move is Andersen’s Russian affiliate, also going with E&Y, and China and Hong Kong, which will merge with their local branches of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Meanwhile, in central Europe KPMG Consulting and Arthur Andersen are negotiating a merger of their business activities, to happen as soon as possible, based on interviews with both companies on March 22 in Budapest. The merger could be completed as early as October 1, according to the companies.

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