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May 23, 2011

PwC merges with Grant Thornton Denmark

PwC and Grant Thornton are to merge in Denmark subject to approval from the Danish competition authority on 1 July. The union is another blow for audit firm concentration as it wipes out the sixth largest firm in the country.

The addition of 180 staff, including 19 Grant Thornton partners, will bring PwC’s total headcount to more than 1,600 staff and 151 partners. The firm, which is the second largest firm in the country behind Deloitte, will have fee income of DKK1.7bn.

Grant Thornton Denmark partner Erik Stener Jørgensen said the merger strengthens the firm’s global presence by “further improving our capabilities to serve our customers internationally”. 

“Simultaneously, we are merging to create one of the leading auditing and consultancy houses that will embrace all sectors and disciplines and could supply all the products that our customers demand,” he said.

Grant Thornton International chief executive Ed Nusbaum said the these types of takeovers will reduce competition in the public company audit market and “may give rise to further concerns by regulatory authorities and the European Commission”.

Nusbaum said the network is looking for a suitable replacement to help it maintain its position in the market.

“The strength of the Danish market means there are a number of candidate firms and we will take the time necessary to find a partner with a close strategic fit and who shares our ambition to set Grant Thornton apart in the profession, to be a leader in our chosen markets, and to provide the complete range of audit, tax and advisory services to dynamic organisations,” Nusbaum said.

“We wish all the best to our exiting partners and staff in Denmark. We believe the transition will be smooth and Grant Thornton’s global clients will continue to be well-served in Denmark, all of the Nordic countries and the rest of the world.”

In the past year, Brazil has undergone rapid concentration as the fifth and sixth largest firms have been acquired by the Big Four.

Audit market concentration is a major concern of the European Commission, which is looking at ways to improve choice and competition in the market.


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