T.N. Soong & Co (勤業管理顧問), the Taiwan affiliate of Andersen Worldwide, said it plans to merge with rival KPMG International as Arthur Andersen LLP faces US charges of obstructing a federal investigation of Enron Corp's collapse.
T.N. Soong, which counts the nation's largest company, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), among its clients, said it plans to merge with KPMG in Taiwan on Oct. 1, pending approval from partners and regulators and a three-month due diligence.
"We need to ensure that fish from different tanks can be mixed together," T.N. Soong Chairman Edward Way said. "Luckily, without overlap in clientele, the combination will not create redundancy in our work force."
Andersen's non-US affiliates have been in talks to sell operations to KPMG. Companies such as drugmaker Merck & Co and Delta Air Lines fired Andersen after the firm was indicted last week for destroying "tons" of Enron-related documents needed by the US government, prompting speculation Andersen won't survive.
"We are continuing to work together to consider possible ways in which to combine our operations throughout the major markets of Europe, Africa, Middle East, Canada, Asia and Latin America," Mike Rake, chairman of KPMG emerging markets, said in a statement. "Such a combination would be complementary in terms of geographic coverage and industry expertise."
T.N. Soong, which plans to keep its 1,400 employees, is housed in the same building in Taipei as KPMG, which has 1,700 workers.
The combined company, to be called KPMG until a new name is found, will audit 376 publicly traded Taiwan companies that comprise 53 percent of the market value.
Plaintiffs suing Andersen plan to oppose efforts by the firm's overseas partners to break off from the US operation to avoid liability.