Hewlett-Packard has agreed to purchase the consultancy practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers. According to reports by Bloomberg News, the computer giant has agreed to purchase the consulting business of PwC, the largest U.S. accounting firm.
Total cost of the package: $17.5 billion. A final agreement is expected within a few weeks. Hewlett-Packard is concerned with structuring the deal in such a way that the PwC consultants will have the financial incentive to stay with the firm after the switch in ownership occurs.
Ongoing concerns about auditor independence issues that are under consideration by the SEC may have fueled PwC's sale of the consultancy practice. The SEC is currently entertaining public hearings wherein representatives of the accountancy profession are presenting their views about proposed guidelines to limit the amount and type of consultancy work that can be provided by firms engaged for audit services.