Project delayed

EY puts split plan on hold after partners clash

EY announced its split last May

Big four accountant EY has put a plan to split its audit and consulting businesses on hold after a clash over the strategy among the firm’s partners.

The break-up proposal – known as Project Everest – has been paused while specialist teams attempt to resolve a number of issues.

EY’s partners in the UK will be brought up to date with the latest developments. The UK consultancy requires three-quarters of its partners to support the proposal.

A ballot had been expected of partners in April or May, although there have been a few postponements of a vote so far.

A spokeswoman for EY said: “As part of our deliberation and due diligence in connection with the proposed transaction, we are engaging in a dialogue with the largest EY country member firms to determine the final shape of the transaction.

“This transaction is complex and will be the roadmap for the re-shaping the profession, so it is important we get this right. We remain committed to the strategic rationale that underpins Project Everest and believe that a deal can and should be done.”

EY announced last May that it was looking to split itself so that the consulting business, freed from conflicts of interest within the audit arm, could turbocharge its growth.\

Deloitte, KPMG and PwC have declined to follow suit, publicly talking up the benefits, as they see it, of the multi-disciplinary model.

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