IBM-PwC Deal Gets OK

IBM’s $3.5 billion cash-and-stock deal to
acquire PwC Consulting
received approval from PricewaterhouseCoopers’
partners on Thursday afternoon, clearing the way for the acquisition to
close by next month.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, PwC’s parent company, said the vote by partners in
its member firms was “overwhelmingly in favor” of the deal.

IBM has already begun to make room for PwC, which it struck
a deal to buy last month in a bid to buff up its services unit. Last week,
The Wall Street Journal reported IBM planned to cut 4,000 jobs from
the 50,000 in its consulting operations. PwC will add another 30,000
employees, combining with IBM’s consulting ranks to form IBM Global
Services. The layoffs would amount to about 5 percent of the consolidated
consulting unit.

After toying with spinning off the consulting unit in an IPO,
PricewaterhouseCoopers decided to sell PwC to untangle its consulting and
auditing businesses in the wake of the accounting scandals sweeping
corporate America that raised questions about the practice of accounting
firms consulting for their audit clients.

PricewaterhouseCoopers also said that the 30-day federal waiting period for
regulatory objection to the merger had passed on Monday without any requests
for additional information, removing another potential roadblock to closing
the deal. The European Union’s competition arm, as well as other regulatory
agencies, still need to approve the deal.

The company said all regulatory approvals were expected by early next month.

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