Volume 14, No. 9

 

Business Combinations:  Rewriting The Rules (Again)  Only four brief years ago, Statement No. 141, Business Combinations, rewrote the rule on accounting for business combinations. Probably the most striking change: it eliminated the skeevy pooling of interests accounting method that allowed companies to bury the true value of an acquired operation by recording a combination at the acquired firm's book value. Statement 141 sanctioned only the purchase method of accounting for the acquisition of one firm by another - but left some rather large warts on the methodology's face. Four years later, Statement 141 is being revised in ways both great and small; it'll remove the blemishes that the original Statement 141 left untouched. There will still be only one method of accounting for an acquisition and all combinations will still be considered to be acquisitions - but the end result will be that transactions accounted for under the new, improved Statement 141 will be recorded almost entirely at fair value, 180 degrees differently than was possible under the old pooling method. Furthermore, this standard is a joint project with the International Accounting Standards Board - and will result in a significant accounting standard issued on a common international foundation.

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