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PwC partners approve sale to IBM

The partners of accountancy company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have approved the sale of its consulting division, PwC Consulting, to IBM.

In addition, the 30-day regulatory waiting period in the USA, required under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, expired on 9 September without a request for additional information about the merger, PwC and IBM said in a statement.

However, IBM's proposed $3.5bn (£2.2bn) purchase of the global management consulting and technology services company is still awaiting approval from the European Commission, which has a 23 September deadline for either clearing the deal or launching an expanded inquiry.

IBM announced in late July its intention to purchase PwC Consulting in an effort to boost its IT services and business consulting subsidiary. IBM Global Services is the world's largest IT services provider, with approximately 150,000 employees serving customers in 160 countries. The company reported annual revenue in 2001 of $35bn (£22.4bn).

Earlier this year, IBM said it planned to cut about 14,000 jobs within the division.

If the merger is approved, 30,000 PwC employees and partners will become part of the Business Innovation Services unit within IBM Global Services. IBM has said that it will lay off some PwC Consulting employees should the merger be finalised though no numbers have been given.

The deal is expected to be finalised in early October, IBM and PwC said.

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