Acquisitions and mergers as per IFRS 3

Acquisitions and mergers

Acquisitions and mergers are becoming more and more common as entities aim to achieve their growth objectives. IFRS 3 ‘Business Combinations’ contains the requirements for these transactions, which are challenging in practice.

This narrative sets out how an entity should determine if the transaction is a business combination, and whether it is within the scope of IFRS 3.

Identifying a business combination

IFRS 3 refers to a ‘business combination’ rather than more commonly used phrases such as takeover, acquisition or Acquisitions and mergersmerger because the objective is to encompass all the transactions in which an acquirer obtains control over an acquiree no matter how the transaction is structured. A business combination is defined as a transaction or other event in which an acquirer (an investor entity) obtains control of one or more businesses.

An entity’s purchase of a controlling interest in another unrelated operating entity will usually be a business combination (see case below).

Case – Straightforward business combination

Entity T is a clothing manufacturer and has traded for a number of years. Entity T is deemed to be a business.

On 1 January 2020, Entity A pays CU 2,000 to acquire 100% of the ordinary voting shares of Entity T. No other type of shares has been issued by Entity T. On the same day, the three main executive directors of Entity A take on the same roles in Entity T.

Consider this…..

Entity A obtains control on 1 January 2020 by acquiring 100% of the voting rights. As Entity T is a business, this is a business combination in accordance with IFRS 3.

However, a business combination may be structured, and an entity may obtain control of that structure, in a variety of ways.

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Transfer pricing – IAS 12 Best complete read

Transfer pricing
transactions between related parties

A transfer price is the price charged between related parties (e.g., a parent company and its controlled foreign corporation) in an inter-company transaction. Although inter-company transactions are eliminated when consolidating the financial results of controlled foreign corporations and their domestic parents, for preparation of individual tax returns each entity (or a tax consolidation unit of more than one entity in the group in one and the same tax jurisdiction) prepares stand-alone (or a tax consolidation unit) tax returns.

See also:

IAS 24 Related parties narrative IFRS 15 Revenue narrative IAS 12 Income tax narrative

Transfer prices directly affect the allocation of group-wide taxable income across national tax jurisdictions. Hence, a group’s transfer-pricing policies can directly affect its after-tax income to the extent that tax rates differ across national jurisdictions.

Arm’s length transaction principle

Most OECD countries rely upon the OECD TP Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations, that were originally released in 1995 and subsequently updated in 2017 (OECD TP Guidelines). The OECD TP Guidelines reaffirmed the OECD’s commitment to the arm’s length transaction principle.

In fact, the arm’s length transaction principle is considered “the closest approximation of the workings of the open market in cases where goods and services are transferred between associated enterprises.” The arm’s length principle implies that transfer prices between related parties should be set as though the entities were operating at arm’s length (i.e. were independent enterprises).

The application of the arm’s length transaction principle is generally based on a comparison of all the relevant conditions in a controlled transaction with the conditions in an uncontrolled transaction (i.e. a transaction between independent enterprises).

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IFRS 15 Measuring progress to completion – Best complete explanation

IFRS 15 Measuring progress to completion

– how to do it, what to use, learn it all


For each performance obligation satisfied over time, revenue must be recognised over time (IFRS 15.39-45 & IFRS 15.B14-B19). To do so, an entity shall measure the progress towards complete satisfaction of the performance obligation.

The measurement of progress has the objective of faithfully depicting an entity’s performance in transferring control of the goods or services promised to the customer (that is, the extent to which the performance obligation is satisfied).

An entity shall apply a single method of measuring progress for each performance obligation satisfied over time, and shall apply that method consistently to similar performance obligations and in similar circumstances.

At the end of each reporting period, an entity shall remeasure its progress towards complete satisfaction of each performance obligation satisfied over time.

In July 2015 the Joint Transition Resource Group (TRG a combined effort by IASB and FASB to detect problems raised by the implementation of the revenue recognition standards) clarified that the principle of applying a single method of measuring progress for a given performance obligation is also applicable to a combined performance obligation, i.e. one that contains multiple non-distinct goods or services.

Hence, it is not appropriate to apply several methods depending on the stage of performance, even if these methods all belong to one of the two major categories of methods presented below (output methods vs input methods), for example a method measuring progress on the basis of hours expended, and a method measuring progress on the basis of labour costs incurred.

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IAS 8 Best summary policies estimates and errors

IAS 8 Best summary policies estimates and comprises a high level summary of the three items in this standard:

  1. Accounting policies,
  2. Accounting Estimates
  3. Read more

Accounting policies

Accounting policies: The specific principles, bases, conventions, rules, and practices applied by an entity in preparing and presenting financial statements.

Enhancing qualitative characteristic

Comparability, verifiability, timeliness and understand-ability are qualitative characteristics that enhance the usefulness of information that both is relevant and provides a faithful representation of what it purports to represent. The enhancing qualitative characteristics may also help determine which of two ways should be used to depict a phenomenon if both are considered to provide equally relevant information and an equally faithful representation of that phenomenon.