Consulting Spin-Off

Moves made to split PwC from parent

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PwC Consulting CEO Scott Hartz stepped down last week as Pricewaterhouse-Coopers moved to split the management consulting unit from its accounting and auditing business and take the consulting business public this spring.

Neither PricewaterhouseCoopers nor PwC Consulting would comment.

Thomas O'Neill was named Hartz's successor at PwC Consulting.

Observers said the move could be an indirect response to the Enron/Arthur Andersen debacle.

But some observers, including Stephen Lane, market analyst with the Aberdeen Group, said tough market conditions were also likely a factor.

In September 2000, Hewlett-Packard reportedly was willing to pay up to $18 billion for PwC Consulting. By November, however, the companies had broken off discussions, with HP CEO Carly Fiorina citing "market conditions" as the central reason for abandoning the talks.

If PwC Consulting is, in fact, spun off from its parent company, Andersen and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu will be the remaining Big Five companies with accounting and consulting businesses "joined at the hip," Lane said.

Last year, PricewaterhouseCoopers sold its U.S. corporate value consulting business to Standard and Poor's for $120 million, and its human resources outsourcing business, Unifi Network, to Mellon Financial for $275 million.

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