The big four


PwC to open university in Sanya

PwC has announced plans to establish a university in Sanya, in a bid to boost innovation and competitiveness within the city. The Big Four firm announced the signing of a strategic cooperation agreement on the project with the municipal government, in China’s Hainan Province, on 29 April. The project will also support the development of Hainan Free Trade Zone, which could see the province grant foreign firms greater trade and economic freedom. “The PwC University project reinforces our corporate social responsibility, and maximizes our values by contributing to national development,” says Raymund Chao, PwC Asia Pacific and Greater China Chairman.

KPMG fined for bank audit

KPMG in the United Kingdom has been fined £4.5 million and reprimanded after admitting its own misconduct in its 2009 audit of Co-operative Bank. The U.K. Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said the failure came to light following the merger between the bank and building society Britannia, which led to the discovery of £1.5 billion missing in the bank’s accounts. The FRC added that KPMG had failed to inform Co-operative Bank about the risky loans it had acquired through the merger and failed “to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence.” KPMG said: “We regret that some of our audit work around specific elements of the bank’s fair value adjustments did not meet the appropriate standards.”

Slack technologies works towards June listing

Workplace messaging app owner Slack Technologies announced plans to go public on 20 June. The company, which currently has a valuation upwards of US$15 billion, will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “WORK” and expects to raise US$197 million. Instead of an initial public offering, it will go public via a direct listing, making it easier for existing shareholders to sell stock. It has since registered nearly 17 million shares of stock since 20 May. Slack, which is used by over 600,000 organizations with three or more employees, is one the most high-profile companies to go public this year, following Pinterest, Beyond Meat, Lyft and Uber Technologies. It plans to report first-quarter results on 10 June.

Mazars to probe former Nissan chairman

Mazars has been hired to investigate former Nissan chairman and Renault Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn, who has been imprisoned since last November following charges of falsifying financial statements. Auditors will look into whether the high expenses claimed by the embroiled ex-chairman were for personal use. These include personal trips made by Ghosn and his family over a three-year period worth €4.8 million, an expense of over €12 million on high-end clothing and entertainment, and a €545,000 banquet at the Palace of Versailles. Ghosn, who denies all charges, claims he is the victim of a “conspiracy” by former colleagues at Nissan. Ghosn’s defense lawyer, Takashi Takano, says he is expected to go on trial in 2020.

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