PricewaterhouseCoopers is to legally separate its audit and consultancy arms by July 1, London's Financial Times reports.
The move is an effort to assure partners and staff that the split is to go ahead. There is concern that doubts about the desire for a split have surfaced after the breakdown of talks between the Big Five firm and Hewlett Packard in November.
Presumably the announced plans for a split map out how money from a possible sale would be distributed.
There is also talk that the firm is considering an initial public offering, having been inspired by the success of the recent KPMG Consulting IPO, but drawing up the necessary documentation for the Securities and Exchange Commission could take several months.
The firm would have to provide the SEC with three years of audited accounts, and sources inside the firm claim that, if PwC were to proceed with an IPO, the firm would like to provide three years of statements that include the Coopers & Lybrand acquisition. The third year of the acquisition ends June 30, 2001.