PricewaterhouseCoopers

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PricewaterhouseCoopers (or PwC) is the largest professional services firm in the world. There are 120,000 people employed by the global partnership, in 144 countries around the world, working in four lines of service and 22 industry-specialised practices. It is one of the Big Four, along with KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche, and was formed in 1998 as of a result of the merger between Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand.

The legal structure of a partnership is very different to that of a company, and as such the global firm is in fact a collection of member firms, that are run autonomously in their respective jurisdictions. These 'sister' firms are governed by a global board of partners. The current global CEO is Samuel A. DiPiazza Jr.

Globally, the organization has four core services. They are audit and assurance services; advisory services; tax and human resource services; and legal services (through its correspondent global legal firm, Landwell). PwC audits 46 per cent of the FTSE 100; 22 per cent of the FT Asia Pacific 100; and 19 per cent of the Fortune 1000.

PricewaterhouseCoopers is one of the top 10 companies for working mothers in 2004 (http://www.workingwoman.com/top10.html) according to Working Mother Media.

Consulting Activities

Though the firm's core business is accountancy, it also ran a huge professional consulting branch, as did other major accountancy firms.

The Management Consulting Services (MCS) was one of fastest growing and most profitable areas of the consultancy. During the time of the dotcom era, many smaller consultancies capitalized on the tremendous wealth generated in the equity markets. PwC planned to capitalize one these development through either a sale to possible suitors like HP and Microsoft or to spin off the division as a separate company.

The firm announced in May 2002 that its consulting activities would be spun off as an independent entity. An outside consultancy, Wolf Olins, was hired to create a brand image for the new entity, which was introduced to the public as "Monday". According to a June 2002 BBC news article (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2035803.stm), the firm's CEO, Greg Brenneman described the unusual name as "a real word, concise, recognisable, global and the right fit for a company that works hard to deliver results."

This unusual branding effort occurred in part as a response to one of the firm's rivals. During 2000, rival firm Arthur Andersen had spun off its consulting activities as Accenture. (See also related article on rebranding.)

These plans were soon revised, however. In October 2002 PricewaterhouseCoopers sold PwC Consulting, its professional consulting arm, to IBM for approximately $3.5 billion in cash and stock. In August 2003, IBM revealed that the actual value of the deal was closer to $3.9 billion. The selling of this profitable arm of the firm was a result of public pressure on all the Big Four audit firms, as it is seen to be a conflict of interest for an audit firm to be offering non-audit services to clients.

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