The KPMG/PwC poaching rivalry is still going strong, but weirdly, it seems like more troops […]
(UPDATE) Accounting News Roundup: Europe’s $1 Trillion Deal; PwC Gets Some Action in Dubai; The Longest Auditor-Client Relationships | 05.10.10
EU Crafts $962 Billion Show of Force to Halt Euro Crisis [Bloomberg]
With the Euro under pressure, the European Central Bank has hatched a plan to “offer financial assistance worth as much as 750 billion euros ($962 billion) to countries under attack from speculators.” EU countries are chipping in 440 billion in loans, the EU’s budget throws in 60 billion, and 250 billion from the International Monetary Fund.
The funds will be available to those countries that experience a financial crisis similar to Greece. Portugal and Spain have debt to GDP ratios of 8.5% and 9.8% respectively, exceeding the EU’s mandated limit of 3%. package approved last week, receiving 110 billion euros “after agreeing to unprecedented austerity measures,” triggering riots in the country.
Dubai Holding Hires Debt Advisers [WSJ]
Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group, a part of Dubai Holding (not to be confused with fellow Dubai conglomerate Dubai World) has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to help them with a teenie debt restructuring project. DH’s debt issues come about after Dubai World is still working to restructure the $14 billion in outstanding debt that it has with its creditors after a slight panic late last year.
UPDATE: KPMG and Deloitte are getting in on the fun as well, as the Financial Times reports that they have been engaged to advise Dubai Group and Dubai International Capital, respectively.
You Complete My Audit [CFO]
Had your auditor for awhile? If you want to crack the top 100 of longest auditor-client relationship, you’d have to be putting up with the same firm for over 50 years. According to the CFO’s analysis of Audit Analytics data, the longest auditor-client relationship belongs to Deloitte and Proctor & Gamble who have been together since 1890. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ longest relationship is with Goodyear Tire & Rubber, starting in 1898; Ernst & Young with Manulife Financial, 1905; KPMG and General Electric go back to 1909.
Of the 100 companies that have stuck with their auditors the longest, 97 of those companies were with Big 4 firms:
• PricewaterhouseCoopers – 34
• E&Y – 25
• Deloitte – 24
• KPMG – 14
Straight Talk about Brutality of White Collar Crime from a Convicted Felon [White Collar Fraud]
GC friend and forensic sleuth Sam Antar recently had some a two part interview produced that from his recent speaking presentations at Stanford Law and Business Schools. Part one is below and you can see part two over at WCF.
Accounting News Roundup: The Tanning Tax Isn’t Fair; Dubai World Gets Another Life; Guy Hands Won’t Have to Go to London | 03.25.10;
• Does New 10% Tanning Tax Discriminate Against Whites? [TaxProf Blog]
Are you being unfairly taxed just because you want some extra Vitamin D?!?
• Dubai World, Nakheel Get $9.5 Billion Injection [WSJ]
For now at least, it appears that Aidan Burkett, Deloitte’s rock star restructuring expert has saved the day at Dubai World. DW will get $9.5 billion from the Dubai Government and plans to pay $26 billion to its creditors that include HSBC, Lloyds, Standard Chartered and RBS.
The complex deal that has taken months to draw up involves Dubai World issuing two tranches of new debt and converting $8.9 billion, or 38%, of its existing obligations into equity, the company said.
The new debt won’t be guaranteed by Dubai government, which has previously been a thorny issue between creditors and the city-state’s advisors.
• Citi Loses Bid to Move EMI Trial [WSJ]
Remember Guy Hands, the founder of Terra Firma Capital, who hates taxes so much that he asks that his family come to visit him in Guernsey so that he doesn’t risk his non-resident status for England?
Well, you’ll be happy to know that Citi’s bid to get the trial moved to London was rejected by Judge Jed Rakoff so Hands won’t have to worry his pretty little head. Had the motion to move the trial been granted, Hands’ non-resident status could have been jeopardized and he may have had to pay taxes due to England. And, God forbid, do some of the traveling to see his family.
Last week we touched on Deloitte and KPMG facing off in the whole Dubai World fiasco. Today we get the lowdown on the possible difficulties that Aidan Birkett — Deloitte’s MD of corporate finance and the Chief Restructuring Offficer of DW — could run into serving his finicky client.
Hard to believe that a group of über-wealthy sheiks (responsible for re-creating the Earth out of tiny man-made islands, no less) would resist outside advice but it sounds like Birkett will have his hands full.
Zawya Dow Jones:
Bankers say his biggest challenge will be getting Dubai’s government to listen. It’s unclear whether he’ll be given a free hand to remodel Dubai World without the interference of the emirate’s political elite.
“When a foreigner comes into the country, ultimately what happens is that the door closes, people speak Arabic, they come out and they say that’s the deal,” said a Dubai-based investment banker, who asked not to be named.
That doesn’t sound complicated. Go to meeting. Listen to your interpreter struggle to keep up. The sheiks nod in agreement at each other. Meeting adjourned.
Naturally, Deloitte is confident that their man will get what he wants:
People who have worked with Birkett in the past say he is a tough operator and will demand that his advice is heeded by Dubai’s powerful sheiks.
“He is robust and he’s absolutely straight, no nonsense,” said Deloitte’s Ward in Dubai. “He doesn’t have to upset everybody along the way but he gets his own way.”
Sounds like a perfect recipe for a boardroom blowup/storm out session to us. DW doesn’t sound like it has a lot of options since all their assets were purchased with debt, so it’ll be interesting to see how they rationalize their “we’ll do whatever the hell we want” attitude. Best of luck, Deloitte.
FOCUS: Deloitte’s Birkett Faces Struggle With Dubai Sheiks [Zawya Dow Jones via WSJ]
If you spent the last four days in a tryptophan-induced coma, you may have missed the news that there’s a bit of a problem in Dubai. A $59 billion problem.
Long/short: Dubai World, the state sponsored investment company, asked for a six month extension on repaying principal and interest maturities to its lenders.
While this spooked a lot of people, the latest reports indicate that Dubai is of the opinion that it’s NBD.
Despite the claims by DW that nothing is fucked, it’s being reported that at least two Big 4 firms will get to bill the hell out of the parties privy to this latest debt-related SNAFU.
Dubai World has hired Deloitte to help them restructure their
house of cards debt while KPMG is representing banks that hold $30 billion of the Dubai World debt in the negotiations. Now while we’d like to imagine tense, smoked-filled rooms with fists being slammed on conferences tables and screaming into speaker phones, it’s likely that it will be a much more cordial affair but we remain hopeful.
As for the other two usual suspects, why E&Y has been left out of the proceedings altogether is a mystery but the PwC/Becks/Dubai World connection seems like a good enough reason to us to keep P. Dubs on the sidelines. Call it a hunch.
We’ll keep you updated on the Big 4 angle of this story as it continues long into 2010.