Pricewaterhouse hires DiMassimo

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PricewaterhouseCoopers hired DiMassimo Brand Advertising, New York, to help separate the identities of its various lines of accounting and consulting businesses.

DiMassimo won the estimated $20 million assignment, according to executives close to the client, although the work's scope has yet to be determined. It is expected to include development of a brand for Pricewaterhouse's Financial Advisory Services group and an integrated promotional campaign. DiMassimo won the account in a three-way pitch that included New York shops Della Femina/Rothschild/Jeary & Partners and Omnicom Group's Moss/Dragoti, a unit of DDB Worldwide.

The FAS group handles financial, economic and strategic advice for corporations, including investment banking, turnaround and merger-advisory services. Pricewaterhouse announced last month its global revenue rose 15% to $21.5 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2000, over the $18.7 billion a year earlier. FAS showed even better growth, increasing 21% to $1.5 billion in revenues.

A Pricewaterhouse spokesman confirmed DiMassimo was retained by FAS to design a campaign "if and when-and only if and when-a separation were to occur." He added the separation is not imminent and no decision has been made, although other executives close to the review said they expect the split will be resolved within the next six months. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill Holliday, New York continues to handle ads for the company's audit and tax services as well its Management Consulting Services unit. A spokesman for the agency referred calls to the client.

Pricewaterhouse is the latest professional-services firm to separate its practices under different names. The Big Five accounting firms-KPMG, Pricewaterhouse, Ernst & Young, Arthur Andersen and Deloitte & Touche-have been under pressure from the Securities and Exchange Commission to separate their consulting businesses from their accounting, auditing and tax practices to protect the auditors' independence.

REPOSITIONING

Many firms have repositioned and even shed units to take on more profitable consulting work, including Ernst & Young, which sold its consulting unit to French consulting company Cap Gemini last June, and Arthur Andersen, which split off Andersen Consulting in 1989. Andersen Consulting launched a $175 million global campaign in Novem-ber to promote its new name, Accenture. Deloitte Consulting last month hired Interpublic's McCann-Erickson, Worldwide, New York, to create a branding campaign.

Pricewaterhouse announced in February 2000 a plan to restructure its business into at least two units, which would separate its auditing and business advisory practices from management consulting activities. At the time, the company said its audit and business advisory services and its tax practice would keep the Pricewaterhouse-Coopers name; management consulting, corporate finance and other activities would be developed into one or more separate businesses. In September, the company reached an agreement to sell its consulting division to Hewlett-Packard Co. for up to $18 billion, but the deal collapsed two months later due to HP's financial shortfalls.

Contributing: Hillary Chura

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