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Title: Audit pricing following mergers of accounting practices : evidence from Hong Kong
Authors: Firth, M
Lau, T
Issue Date: 2004
Source: Accounting and business research, 2004, v. 34, no. 3, p. 201-213 How to cite?
Journal: Accounting and Business Research 
Abstract: This study investigates what happens to audit fees after audit firms merge. In particular, we examine whether pre-merger fee premiums of the strong brand name auditor spread to the other auditor. Using data from Hong Kong we analyse the 1997 merger between Kwan Wong Tan & Fong (KWTF) and Deloitte Touche & Tohmatsu (DTT) to become DTT, and the 1998 merger between Coopers & Lybrand (CL) and Price Waterhouse (PW) to form PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). We find that DTT audit fees are 55% higher than KWTF prior to the merger and this premium falls to 41% in 1998 and to 34% in 1999. However, we find no increase in audit fees for incumbent property company clients, a sector where KWTF is the leading supplier. Prior to its merger, PW earned audit fees 16.4% higher than those earned by CL and the premium is even larger for clients in the consolidated enterprises and property companies sectors. We find no change in audit fees after the PwC merger. This result suggests that the PwC merger is a response to increased competition and clients are unwilling to pay higher fees for within-Big 5 re-branding.
ISSN: 0001-4788
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