PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) history, profile and history video
PricewaterhouseCoopers provides assurance, tax and advisory services to clients in 158 countries. The company traces its roots to 1849, when Samuel Price established an accounting firm. Five years later, William Cooper opened his own company. Those firms eventually became Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand, which merged in 1998 to firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.”
The firm was created in 1998 when Coopers & Lybrand merged with Price Waterhouse.Both firms had histories dating back to the 19th century.
Coopers & Lybrand
In 1854 William Cooper founded an accountancy practice in London, which became Cooper Brothers seven years later when his three brothers joined.
In 1898, Robert H. Montgomery, William M. Lybrand, Adam A. Ross Jr. and his brother T. Edward Ross formed Lybrand, Ross Brothers and Montgomery in the United States.
In 1957 Cooper Brothers; Lybrand, Ross Bros & Montgomery and a Canadian firm McDonald, Currie and Co, agreed to adopt the name Coopers & Lybrand in international practice. In 1973 the three member firms in the UK, US and Canada changed their names to Coopers & Lybrand.Then in 1980 Coopers & Lybrand expanded its expertise ininsolvency substantially by acquiring Cork Gully, a leading firm in that field in the UK. In 1990 in certain countries including the UK, Coopers & Lybrand merged with Deloitte Haskins & Sells to become Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte, in 1992 renamed Coopers & Lybrand.
Samuel Lowell Price, an accountant, founded an accountancy practice in London in 1849. In 1865 Price went into partnership with William Hopkins Holyland and Edwin Waterhouse. Holyland left shortly after to work alone in accountancy and the firm was known from 1874 as Price, Waterhouse & Co. (The comma was dropped from the name much later.) The original partnership agreement, signed by Price, Holyland and Waterhouse could be found in Southwark Towers, one of PwC’s important legacy offices (now demolished).
By the late 19th century, Price Waterhouse had gained significant recognition as an accounting firm. As a result of growing trade between the United Kingdom and the United States, Price Waterhouse opened an office in New York in 1890, and the American firm itself soon expanded rapidly. The original British firm opened an office in Liverpool in 1904 and then elsewhere in the United Kingdom and worldwide, each time establishing a separate partnership in each country: the worldwide practice of PW was therefore a federation of collaborating firms that had grown organically rather than being the result of an international merger.
In a further effort to take advantage of economies of scale, PW and Arthur Andersen discussed a merger in 1989but the negotiations failed mainly because of conflicts of interest such as Andersen’s strong commercial links with IBM and PW’s audit of IBM as well as the radically different cultures of the two firms. It was said by those involved with the failed merger that at the end of the discussion, the partners at the table realized they had different views of business, and the potential merger was scrapped.
1998 to present
In 1998, Price Waterhouse merged with Coopers & Lybrand to form PricewaterhouseCoopers (written with a lowercase ‘w’).
After the merger the firm had a large professional consulting branch, as did other major accountancy firms, generating much of its fees. Management Consulting Services (MCS) was the fastest growing and often most profitable area of the practice, though it was cyclical. The major cause for growth in the 1990s was the implementation of complex integrated ERP systems for multi-national companies. PwC came under increasing pressure to avoid conflicts of interests by not providing some consulting services, particularly financial systems design and implementation, to its audit clients. Since it audited a large proportion of the world’s largest companies, this was beginning to limit its consulting market. These conflicts increased as additional services including outsourcing of IT and back office operations were developed. For these reasons, in 2000, Ernst & Young was the first of the Big Four to sell its consulting services, to Capgemini.
The fallout from the Enron, Worldcom and other financial auditing scandals that led to the passage of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act severely limited the interaction between management consulting and auditing (assurance) services. PwC Consulting began to conduct business under its own name rather than as the MCS division of PricewaterhouseCoopers. PwC therefore planned to capitalize on MCS’s rapid growth through its sale to Hewlett Packard (for a reported $17 billion) but negotiations broke down in 2000.
In 2000, PwC acquired Canada’s largest SAP consulting partner Omnilogic Systems.
In March 2002 Arthur Andersen, LLP affiliates in Hong Kong and China completed talks to join PricewaterhouseCoopers, China.
PwC announced in May 2002 that its consulting activities would be spun off as an independent entity and hired an outside CEO to run the global firm. An outside consultancy,Wolff Olins, was hired to create a brand image for the new entity, called “Monday”. The firm’s CEO, Greg Brenneman described the unusual name as “a real word, concise, recognizable, global and the right fit for a company that works hard to deliver results. These plans were soon revised, however. In October 2002, PwC sold the entire consultancy business to IBM for approximately $3.9 billion in cash and stock. PwC’s consultancy business was absorbed into IBM Global Business Services, increasing the size and capabilities of IBM’s growing consulting practice.
PwC started to rebuild its consulting practice with acquisitions such as Paragon Consulting Group and the commercial services business of BearingPoint in 2009. The firm continued this process by acquiring Diamond Management & Technology Consultants Inc in November 2010 and PRTM in August 2011. In August 2012 the firm acquired Ant’s Eye View, a social media strategy development and consulting firm to build upon the its growing Management Consulting customer impact and customer engagement capabilities. On October 30, 2013, the firm announced that it would acquire Booz & Company.
The company currently offers a growing range of enterprise-level software services to meet rising data management challenges. In 2013, the company partnered with data integration firm Pneuron Corporation to help firms manage big data.’
*Information from Forbes.com and Wikipedia.org
**Video published on YouTube by “ PwC Chile“