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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 21:08 GMT 22:08 UK
KPMG Consulting eyes Andersen units
Andersen logo
Andersen has lost clients and now faces losing staff
KPMG Consulting has said it is in talks to buy most of the business consulting operations of Andersen Worldwide, parent of the beleaguered audit firm.

KPMG Consulting, formerly part of the KPMG accounting group, said on Wednesday it had offered $284m (170m) to acquire 23 Andersen consulting units in Europe, the US, Latin America, and Asia.

Rand Blazer, chief executive of KPMG Consulting, described the deal as a "once in a lifetime opportunity."

"We are excited and delighted with what these acquisitions will mean for our clients and our shareholders," he said in a statement.

The 23 Andersen businesses generated revenues of $1.4bn last year, compared with KPMG Consulting's sales of about $2.9bn.

Coming undone

The Andersen consultancies are part of Andersen Worldwide, parent of the US audit firm Arthur Andersen LLP.

Arthur Andersen LLP is currently facing criminal charges stemming from its role as auditor to bankrupt energy trading giant Enron.

The sale of the Andersen consultancies would mark a further milestone in the disintegration of the Andersen empire.

Most the Andersen's audit partnerships outside the US have agreed to merge with one or other of their global rivals in order to distance themselves from the Enron scandal.

Enron risk

KPMG Consulting, which is negotiating separately with each of the 23 Andersen units, said the tie-up could be agreed within 45 days.

However, the mooted merger with Andersen's US consulting unit will depend on whether or not the company is caught up in the fallout from the Enron affair.

"We are very mindful of the legal issues," said Mr Blazer. "We will not allow that to put any risk into our business."

Andersen's consulting units in the UK, Germany and Italy are not involved in the talks with KPMG Consulting.

See also:

19 Mar 02 | Business
Questions over Andersen break-up
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