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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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