IBM and Price WaterhouseCoopers LLC officials confirmed reports that the two companies are conducting assessments that could lead to layoffs once PwCs global consulting business is acquired by IBM by the end of this month.
Officials from both companies, however, denied reports that the companies have already decided to eliminate 4,000 positions from the 80,000 combined headcount that would result from the planned $3.5 billion acquisition.
"At the appropriate stage we will take an assessment of complementary skills," said a PwC spokeswoman. "We havent gone to the level of detail necessary to come up with a number, however."
An IBM spokeswoman said the company is examining synergies and redundancies that would result from the acquisition of PwC.
The layoffs, if and when they come, would be a continuation of cost-cutting actions that have been under way at both companies for the past several months.
Reacting to a slowdown in both its systems and consulting businesses, IBM last quarter cut headcount by an estimated 5 percent. The cuts reportedly affected its IT services business, IBM Global Services, as well as other IBM businesses.
PwC, similarly, has cut its headcount from about 35,000 last year to about 30,000 currently.