Monday, March 11, 2002

Andersen's End

What happens to the greatest auditing firm in the world when its integrity is compromised? Read on:

Andersen is in last-ditch rescue talks with two of its largest rivals as the scandal-hit professional services firm fights to save itself from collapse.

The world's fifth largest auditing group is attempting to thrash out a possible merger with rival audit firms Ernst & Young and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu amid fears that it is poised to splinter into smaller parts.

Under the terms of the proposed deal, Andersen's US business would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The merger partner would then buy Andersen's US assets, leaving the bankrupt US business with cash to settle claims against it.

Andersen's US partners are working furiously in an attempt to announce an agreement with one of the prospective partners in the next two days. However, there is a strong chance that the talks will collapse and, even if a deal is announced, many of the details would still need to be hammered out.