Back to big five -- Ernst & Young/KPMG merger off

Ernst & Young LLP and KPMG Peat Marwick LLP have abandoned a plan to merge their organisations and become the biggest of the 'big four' services companies. The merger plan, which would have left the combined entity with revenues of $US15.3 billion and 11,712 partners, was dropped due to client opposition, antitrust issues, cost problems and perceived difficulty of merging the two diverse companies and cultures, according to reports.

Ernst & Young LLP and KPMG Peat Marwick LLP have abandoned a plan to merge their organisations and become the biggest of the "big four" services companies.

The merger plan, which would have left the combined entity with revenues of $US15.3 billion and 11,712 partners, was dropped due to client opposition, antitrust issues, cost problems and perceived difficulty of merging the two diverse companies and cultures, according to reports.

The proposed merger, announced in October of last year, was originally "designed to respond to anticipated developments in the local marketplace in the next century," company officials said.

The merger of services companies Price Waterhouse LLP and Coopers & Lybrand LLP, announced back in September 1997, reportedly remains on track.

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