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Pressure on Big Four

KPMG looking at sale of restructuring business

KPMG is looking at reshaping its business (pic: KPMG)

Big Four accountant KPMG is considering a sale of its restructuring arm as the major players seek ways to reshape their businesses in the face of regulatory and economic pressure. 

A sale is seen as part of a wave of deals that could be imminent as the sector’s dominant firms seek to address perceived conflicts of interest between their audit arms and other operations. 

KPMG is to close its Makinson Cowell, its investor advisory business, at the end of November. Heads of the division and some of its staff will join Lazard, the asset manager. 

It also sold its pensions division for more than £200m in March to Exponent, a private equity group, in a deal that freed the business of awkward potential conflicts of interest with clients of its audit division. 

Deloitte was also said to have considered a sale of its restructuring business last month before ditching the idea. 

The Big Four must submit plans to the accounting regulator by Friday for how they intend to ringfence their audit practices to ensure greater independence following a string of accounting scandals in which they have failed to spot major financial failings.

Some of KPMG’s restructuring team previously left to join insolvency specialist Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) after the Big Four firm rejected an offer for the division in 2016. 

A KPMG spokesman confirmed the firm was exploring options for its restructuring business, first reported by Sky News.

The firm has been sounding out potential private equity buyers in recent weeks, the Financial Times reported.

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