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GLOBAL accounting and advisory major Ernst & Young has merged with itself two large Mumbai-based accounting firms, PD Desai & Company and SV Ghatalia & Associates, in a move that will catapult Ernst & Young’s leadership position in tax and advisory services and also give a push to the ongoing consolidation in the industry.

The merger of the two firms — reliably learnt to have about 175 to 200 corporate clients together — with Ernst & Young will lead to about 62 employees from both the firms becoming a part of Ernst & Young and will also bring large companies from the Tata and the Birla business houses, into the Ernst & Young fold. Confirming the development, Ernst & Young country managing partner Rajiv Memani said: “We will benefit from the tremendous equity they (the two partners) enjoy with leading Indian corporates. This will improve our ability to service clients on complex tax and regulatory issues.”

Ernst & Young’s move to combine the two firms with itself, comes close on the heels of a similar transaction in April when PricewaterhouseCoopers, an arch rival of Ernst & Young and also part of the Big Four, bought out another Mumbai-based accounting firm Dalal & Shah to gain from the wide ranging clientele that the local accounting firm has.

PD Desai & Company managing partner Pinakin Desai, who is also an eminent tax expert, will join Ernst & Young as a partner, with Geeta Jani, another senior tax practitioner. Mr Desai will also bring with him 22 employees from his firm which has mandates on direct tax consulting from leading Indian multinationals. “We can contribute in the tax and advisory segment where we are quite strong,” said Mr Desai when contacted. “Ernst & Young is a fast growing firm that is keen to develop its employees,” he added.

Also, Kirit Kamdar, the managing partner of SV Ghatalia & Associates, will join Ernst & Young as a partner and also bring with him a large team of 40 professionals.

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