PwC partners approve sale to IBM

The partners of accountancy company PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) have approved the sale of its consulting division, PwC Consulting, to IBM Corp., the companies announced Thursday.

In addition, the 30-day regulatory waiting period in the U.S., required under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, expired on Sept. 9 without a request for additional information about the merger, PwC and IBM said in a statement.

However, IBM’s proposed US$3.5 billion purchase of the global management consulting and technology services company is still awaiting approval from the European Commission, which has a Sept. 23 deadline for either clearing the deal or launching an expanded inquiry.

IBM, of Armonk, New York, announced in late July its intention to purchase PwC Consulting in an effort to boost the services division within its IT services and business consulting company. IBM Global Services is the world’s largest IT services provider, with approximately 150,000 employees serving customers in 160 countries. The company reported annual revenue in 2001 of US$35 billion.

Earlier this year, IBM said it planned to cut about 14,000 jobs within the division.

If the merger is approved, 30,000 PwC employees and partners will become part of the Business Innovation Services unit within the IBM Global Services organization. IBM has said that it will lay off some PwC Consulting employees should the merger be finalized though no numbers have been given.

The deal is expected to be finalized in early October, IBM and PwC said.