PwC Partners Give Green Light to IBM Purchase

The partners of the worldwide organization of Big Four firm PricewaterhouseCoopers have given their approval for IBM's purchase of the firm's PwC Consulting unit. The partners voted overwhelmingly in favor of the $3.5 billion acquisition.

IBM and PwC came to an agreement on the acquisition late last July. The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Hart-Scott-Rodino Act requires a 30-day waiting period after notification of such an acquisition is filed. The waiting period expired last week with no requests for additional information from the FTC or the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, leading to the next step in the process, a vote by the partners.

Regulatory approval from the European Commission and other regulatory authorities is pending and is expected to conclude in early October, 2002, at which time the acquisition can be finalized.

PwC's CEO Samuel DiPiazza has indicated he is satisfied with the agreed upon price, a far cry from the $18 billion that was on the table two years ago from Hewlett-Packard. PwC also flirted with the idea of taking the consultancy public, but later cancelled those plans.