New auditor for Tenon

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The Independent Online

RSM Tenon, the listed accountant that embarrassingly discovered "black holes" in its own books, is interviewing for a new auditor.

PricewaterhouseCoopers is facing an inquiry by the leading accountancy watchdog into its auditing of the firm, which issued a shock profit warning in January and slumped to an £84m first-half loss. PwC has countered that it had been "deliberately" misled by Tenon, which is under new leadership.

It is understood that BDO Stoy Hayward, Grant Thornton, KPMG and Ernst & Young have all pitched to replace PwC. Deloitte was unable to apply for a role, as it has a conflict of interest: the big-four firm had discovered financial irregularities while doing due diligence for Hg Capital last year when the private equity group was looking at buying the business.

Tenon chief executive Chris Merry, a former PwC partner who took over in February, is understood to be keen to get a new auditor ahead of its full year results to 30 June.

The only accountant quoted on the London Stock Exchange, Tenon has started negotiations with Lloyds about its £88m loan facility, which expires in October. A capital raising or asset sale might be necessary.