Apple Drops Longtime Accounting Firm

Times Staff and Wire Reports

Apple Computer Inc., in a cost-cutting move, fired Ernst & Young, the accountants that have audited the personal computer maker's financial statements since the company went public in 1980. Apple switched to KPMG Peat Marwick, beginning with the financial statements for its fiscal year ending Sept. 26, 1997. The change is one of a string of moves that Chairman Gilbert Amelio has made since taking over 11 months ago. "The transition had nothing to do with disagreements about the statements," an Apple spokeswoman said. Ernst & Young will complete its audit of the statements for fiscal 1996, which ended Sept. 27. Shares of Cupertino-based Apple lost 62.5 cents to close at $22.625 on Nasdaq. In a separate development, Global Village Communication Inc. said it will take a restructuring charge of about $25 million to $30 million and cut 20% of its work force largely because of weak demand for Apple products. Many of the Sunnyvale-based modem maker's products are used with Apple Macintosh computers, though it sells products for use with other PCs. The company, which will cut 42 jobs, also said revenue will be significantly below expectations. Global Village's stock fell 39 cents to close at $5.75 on Nasdaq.

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