Further consolidation amongst the world’s accountancy monoliths was announced on Thursday, with Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse planning to merge their practices world-wide. The news, which also came as a surprise to most of the firms partners, will mean the creation of a firm with $13bn of fee income from 8,500 partners and 135,000 employees. If approved, the merger will be effective early 1998. Part of the logic behind the merger is to bring Cooper’s strengths in human resource consulting together with Price Waterhouse’s successful packaged software and IT implementation division, providing a better level of global support to the partnership’s equally massive clients. Coopers has also built up strong business in the telecommunications sector, while Price Waterhouse has done well in media. Partners in the two firms will be invited to vote on the deal later this year. Top of the agenda is likely to be the huge weight of litigation outstanding against both firms, for which the partners are jointly and severally liable.
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