Valuing Intangibles in a Business Combination Reviewed by Momizat on . Separability and transferability are key This overview examines intangible assets within business combinations through the lens of FAS 141. Fair value is covere Separability and transferability are key This overview examines intangible assets within business combinations through the lens of FAS 141. Fair value is covere Rating: 0
You Are Here: Home » QuickRead Top Story » Valuing Intangibles in a Business Combination

Valuing Intangibles in a Business Combination

Separability and transferability are key

This overview examines intangible assets within business combinations through the lens of FAS 141. Fair value is covered as well as identification and classification protocols.

Valuing Intangibles in a Business Combination

Valuing Intangibles in a Business Combination

What Are Intangible Assets?

The International Valuation Standards Committee (IVSC) defines intangible assets as “…assets that manifest themselves by their economic properties; they do not have physical substance, they grant rights and privileges to their owner; and usually generate income for their owner.  Intangible Assets can be categorized as arising from Rights, Relationships, Grouped Intangibles, or Intellectual Property.1

Probably the briefest definition was provided by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB):

…assets (not including financial assets) that lack physical substance.2

Per the FASB, intangible assets are distinguished from goodwill.   FASB provides specific guidance for the identification of intangible assets such that any asset not so identified would fall into the catchall category of goodwill.

The Nature of Intangible Assets

Intangible assets are a subset of human capital, which is a collection of the education, experience, and skills of a company’s employees.  Further, intangible assets receiving legal protection become intellectual property, which is generally categorized into five types: patents, copyrights, tradenames (including trademarks and tradedress), trade secrets, and know how.

Identification and Classification

Identification of intangible assets is as broad as the business mind is creative.  There are the well-accepted intangibles, such as the customer base, in-process research and development, and technology, as well as intellectual property (see the five types above).  The value of these assets typically accounts for a vast majority of an enterprise’s total intangible value, depending on the industry.  There are also unique intangible assets peculiar to an industry or enterprise such as deposits in a bank.

In an attempt to provide some structure to the recognition of identifiable intangible assets,  FASB has classified intangibles into five categories:

  • Marketing-related intangible assets (i.e., trademarks, trade names)
  • Customer-related intangible assets (i.e., customer lists, customer relationships)
  • Artistic-related intangible assets (i.e., pictures, photographs)
  • Contract-based intangible assets (i.e., licensing agreements, supply contracts), and
  • Technology-related intangible assets (i.e., technology with and without patents)3

Assembled workforce is excluded because it fails the separability and transferability test.  A company may have the best employees of the highest value in the world, but they have no value if separated from the business.  Thus,  FASB chose to categorize assembled workforce within the components of goodwill.

Fair Value and Business Combinations

The definition of fair value as stated in SFAS No. 141 is:

The amount at which that asset (or liability) could be bought (or incurred) or sold (or settled) in a current transaction between willing parties, that is, other than in a forced or liquidation sale.4

In contrast, fair market value is defined in the Internal Revenue Code as:

The price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller when the former is not under any compulsion to buy and the latter is not under any compulsion to sell, both parties having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.5

“Identification of intangible assets is as broad as the business mind is creative.”

A principal difference between the two definitions is that the fair value for the business enterprise considers synergies and attributes of the specific buyer and specific seller (i.e., the purchase price of the business combination), while fair market value contemplates a hypothetical willing buyer and a hypothetical willing seller.

A business combination occurs when an enterprise acquires the net assets that constitute a business or equity interest of one or more enterprises and obtains control over that enterprise or enterprises.6

Overview of FAS 141

In accordance with the provisions of Financial Accounting Standards (FAS) No. 141, all identifiable assets acquired, including identifiable intangible assets, are assigned a portion of the cost of the acquired enterprise (the “purchase price”) on the basis of their fair values.

  • Intangible assets, both identifiable and unidentifiable, may be acquired in a business combination or developed internally.  Intangible assets that are not specifically identifiable have indeterminate lives, or are inherent in a continuing business and related to an enterprise as a whole are classified as goodwill.  Purchased goodwill arising on the acquisition of one business by another is defined as the excess of the purchase price of the acquired business over the fair value of its net tangible and identifiable assets.
  • According to FAS No. 141, an acquiring corporation should allocate the cost of an acquired company to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed, using the following principles:
    • All identifiable assets acquired, either individually or by type, and liabilities assumed in a business combination, whether or not shown in the financial statements of the acquired company, should be assigned a portion of the cost of the acquired company, normally equal to the fair values at the date of acquisition;
    • The excess cost of the acquired company over the sum of the amounts assigned to identifiable assets acquired less liabilities assumed should be recorded as goodwill.
    • Identifiable assets that can reliably be measured should be separately recorded in the financial statements of the acquirer at their fair value.  Each intangible asset is not necessarily reliably measurable; this determination should be based on individual facts and circumstances.  Those intangible assets that are identifiable, but not reliably measurable, are considered  elements of goodwill.

Under What Circumstances are Assets Separately Recognized?

Under FAS No. 141, an acquired asset should be separately recognized if the benefits:

  1. Arise from contractual or other legal rights, regardless of whether those rights are transferable, and, if they are transferable, regardless of whether the acquirer intends to transfer them, or;
  2. Are separable.  This means that the asset can be transferred, licensed, or rented individually or in combination with a related contract, asset, or liability, regardless of whether the acquirer intends to transfer, license, or rent it. 

Summary

When valuing intangible assets in a business combination, all of the previously mentioned categories of intangible assets must be considered.  This means the appraiser needs to determine the separability of the intangible assets and include detailed discussions related to the marketing-, customer-, artistic-, contract-, and technology-based intangibles assets.

This article was originally published by and appears on the website of U.S. Valuations and is used here with permission.  

Daniel Jordan, CPA, ASA, CBA, MBA, is the managing principal of New York Business Valuation Group, Inc.  He is an expert in valuing closely -held businesses, ESOPs, fractional interest discounts, intangible assets, and professional practices including calculations of enhanced earnings capacity relating to professional licenses and degrees.  He provides business valuation services full time since 2000 and can be reached at (212) 203-5186 or djordan@usvaluations.net.

1 International Valuation Standards, Guidance Note No. 4, Intangible Assets (2001), at 3.15.

Financial Accounting Standards Board, Statement of Financial Standards No. 141: Business Combinations (June 2001), p. 124.

Financial Accounting Standards Board, Statement of Financial Accounting Standards, No. 141: Business Combinations (June 2001), at 14.

Financial Accounting Standards Board, Statement of Financial Accounting Standards, No. 141: Business Combinations (June 2001), Appendix F.

Internal Revenue Service, Revenue Ruling 59-60, §2.02.

Financial Accounting Standards Board, Statement of Financial Accounting Standards, No. 141: Business Combinations (June 2001), at 9.

The National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) supports the users of business and intangible asset valuation services and financial forensic services, including damages determinations of all kinds and fraud detection and prevention, by training and certifying financial professionals in these disciplines.

Number of Entries : 1444

©2017 NACVA and the Consultants' Training Institute • (800) 677-2009 • 5217 South State Street, Suite 400 Salt Lake City, UT USA 84107

event themes - theme rewards

UA-49898941-1
lw