Dubious Mergers

Jake Zamansky has Lehman in his cross hairs, reminding us of their role in the disastrous marriage of Wachovia and Golden West Financial.  I’ve written about all of Lehman’s woes, which makes me sad.  In the past I’ve made a lot of money from Lehman stock.  It was always one you could count on to grow and grow, but not anymore.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, those holdings and those gains are long gone, having been spent on sunshine and shoes.

But talk of disastrous mergers reminded me that this week was the ten year anniversary of the merger of  PriceWaterhouse and Coopers and Lybrand.  Although PricewaterhouseCoopers, as it is now known so mellifluously, sent out press releases, many blame this merger for the sad competitive state we have now in the audit industry.  
No, it didn’t help for Andersen to disappear. But the repercussions of the merger of these two firms still reverberate in the US and around the world, as well as in the firm itself.  Ask any partner at PwC about their experience, career, and the first thing they’ll tell you is whether they are legacy PriceWaterhouse or legacy Coopers.  The distinction hasn’t died.  Maybe it’s because the Coopers guys were seen as the provincial, slower group who also brought some nasty independence issues to the new firm.  Or, maybe it was because the PW guys were seen as the more globally oriented but snobbier of the two, always acting superior and still acting aloof to their new partners.
Congratulations PwC. 
I hope that, between the two firms, there’s enough money to pay the new litigation claims that both kinds of partners have visited on the firm during the last ten years.