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‘Big Four’ Audit Firms May Face U.K. Antitrust Probe This Month

Britain’s antitrust regulator said it will decide this month whether to open a probe into market dominance by the “Big Four” accounting firms, focusing on bank loans that force borrowers to use the largest auditors.

A U.K. House of Lords committee investigating the financial crisis said in a March report that the firms, which audit 99 of the 100 largest U.K. companies, should be probed by the London-based Office of Fair Trading to determine whether their market dominance wrongfully limits choice. The probe could be the most high-profile for the agency since it investigated banks’ equity underwriting practices -- an inquiry that closed without any action being taken.