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An international arbitrator Monday ruled Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting can immediately split — ending a bitter, two-year dispute over money. Both sides promptly claimed victory, saying the separation will allow the companies to pursue their businesses as they see fit. Under the arbitration, Andersen Consulting will not have to pay $14.5 billion in termination fees demanded by Arthur Andersen. Andersen Consulting must, however, give up its name. “We are pleased that the arbitration has upheld our position, and we are now prepared to move ahead with our own business plans,” said Jim Wadia, the accounting firm’s worldwide managing partner. Wadia resigned from his position and announced his early retirement after the arbitrator handed down the decision. “Arthur Andersen is strong and will continue to serve our clients without interruption,” Wadia said. The firm, which is a business unit of Andersen Worldwide, has more than 77,000 employees in 84 counties. It posted 1999 revenues of $7 billion. Joe Forehand, global managing partner and CEO of Andersen Consulting, said the arbitrator’s decision was a complete victory for his firm. “We won. It’s over. Now it is time to move on independently, continuing to focus on our clients, our people and our ambitious reinvention agenda,” Forehand said. Andersen Consulting is the world’s largest consulting firm, with $8.9 billion in revenues last year. It has 65,000 employees in 48 countries. As part of the 129-page decision issued by Guillermo Gamba, the International Chamber of Commerce-appointed arbitrator in Paris, Andersen Consulting must surrender its name by Dec. 31, because legal title to the name Andersen Consulting is held by Arthur Andersen. Arthur Andersen said it will take action to enforce the arbitrator’s decision to strip Andersen Consulting of its name and certain intellectual property. The accounting firm has retained the law firm of Boies, Schiller & Flexner. Also, Andersen Consulting is no longer required to make payments to Arthur Andersen. The two firms began as sister companies in 1989 during a corporate restructuring that appointed Arthur Andersen as the tax and audit accounting firm. Andersen Consulting provided management and technology consulting. However, the dispute began in December 1997 when Andersen Consulting requested arbitration, charging the arrangement had been breached by Arthur Andersen’s expansion into business-consulting areas such as technology integration, strategic business planning and business transformation. Arthur Andersen named Louis P. Salvatore, chairman of the oversight committee of the Andersen Worldwide Board of Partners, as interim worldwide managing partner. Wadia’s permanent replacement is expected to be named within the next 90 days. Copyright �2000 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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