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IASB publishes discussion paper on business combinations under common control

  • IFRS - IASB Image

Nov 30, 2020

On November 30, 2020, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) published a discussion paper DP/2020/2 "Business Combinations under Common Control". The IASB reactivated this topic as a research project in 2012 after the original research project was postponed in 2009 for the time being due to the financial crisis at that time. Comments are requested by September 1, 2021.

 

Background

Business combinations under common control are excluded from the application of the current IFRS requirements for business combinations. Under IFRS standards, there are requirements for the parent consolidated financial statements and for the selling entity, but no rules for the acquiring entity. As a result, the preparers of the financial statements of the acquiring entity must develop an accounting policy to account for such transactions. There are accounting policy choices - both in choosing the method and in presenting the comparative information for the previous period.

In practice, the need to develop a suitable accounting method can lead to different presentations of comparable facts and circumstances. Especially since such transactions often occur during restructuring or the creation of new entities - possibly also for an IPO. For these reasons, the IASB has been pursuing a research project for a long time, which was suspended for a time, but which, after intensive consideration, has now culminated in a discussion paper, which, in terms of process, precedes the development of an exposure draft.

 

Summary of preliminary views

Scope. The proposed requirements would apply to all transactions under common control. There would therefore no longer be any differentiation as to whether or not these transactions have economic substance, i.e. whether they constitute pure capital reorganizations or not.


Accounting method dependent on the existence of non-controlling interests. Following its analysis, the Board came to the preliminary conclusion that not one single method for all transactions is in the best interests of all stakeholders. The objective criterion for determining when a transaction should be accounted for using the acquisition method is the existence of a non-controlling interest in the acquiring entity, or at higher levels in the case of sub-groups. Consequently, the book-value method should be applied to all acquiring entities in which there are no non-controlling interests. The only exception is for acquirers whose shares are not traded on a public market, provided that all non-controlling shareholders have been informed of and have not objected to the proposed use of the book-value method. If all non-controlling interests are held by related parties within the scope of IAS 24, application of the book-value method is mandatory.

Application of the acquisition method. Where the acquisition method is to be applied, it must be applied in accordance with IFRS 3. However, if the consideration given is less than the fair value of the assets and liabilities received, this amount is not recognized in profit or loss but in equity.

Application of the book-value method. The IASB proposes to apply the IFRS carrying amounts of the transferred entity prospectively, i.e. from the date of acquisition. The consideration in the form of assets is to be determined at the carrying amounts of the acquiring entity, liabilities incurred are to be determined using the standards applicable to initial measurement. Any difference between the carrying amounts of the assets and liabilities received and the consideration given should be recognized in equity. Transaction costs should be recognized in profit or loss in the period in which they are incurred. The only exception to this are costs for the issuance of additional equity or debt instruments, which must be recognized in accordance with the provisions of IAS 32.

Disclosures. When applying the acquisition method, the disclosure requirements resulting from IFRS 3 should be disclosed, taking into account the improvements proposed in discussion paper DP/2020/1 Business Combinations - Disclosures, Goodwill and Impairment. However, there are additional requirements with regard to IAS 24 that intended to assist preparers. For acquisitions that must be accounted for using the book-value method, adjusted reporting obligations are proposed based on the disclosures required by IFRS 3. This should enable users to assess the nature, financial impact and benefits of the acquisition. However, it is explicitly not required to disclose financial information for periods prior to the acquisition date. Similarly, no fair value of the consideration given is to be disclosed or additionally determined. However, the amount recognized in equity as the difference between the carrying amounts of the assets and liabilities received and the consideration given should be disclosed.

The deadline for comments on the discussion paper is September 1, 2021.

 

Additional information

 

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