Interest in Andersen's Tax Department Heats Up

Tax season may be over, but Andersen's tax practice is the center of attention as Ernst & Young steps into the bidding war for Andersen's U.S. tax practice.

On April 5, rival Deloitte & Touché announced intentions to absorb a "significant number" of Andersen tax professionals in a plan that would essentially "hire away" the tax department of Andersen.

Days later, leveraged buyout firm Fox Paine & Co. offered to acquire Andersen's entire tax unit in an LBO for $800 to $900 million. The transaction would provide a solution for the entire tax practice, not just a portion of it, as Deloitte's offer suggested.

Now, Ernst & Young steps into the bidding war, with interest in acquiring up to 300 tax partners and about 1,000 other employees. Details of the offer were not revealed.

In total, Andersen's tax department consists of 450 tax partners and about 4,000 staff.

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