Posts Tagged ‘Fair values’

The Growth of Appraisal Litigation in Delaware

Posted by Noam Noked, co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Thursday December 5, 2013 at 9:11 am
  • Print
  • email
  • Twitter
Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from David J. Berger, partner focusing on corporate governance at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and is based on a WSGR Alert memorandum. The complete publication, including footnotes, is available here. This post is part of the Delaware law series, which is cosponsored by the Forum and Corporation Service Company; links to other posts in the series are available here.

Numerous commentators and academics have written about the growth of M&A litigation over the last several years. Less noticed, but perhaps more significant, has been the growing tendency of institutional and other large investors to exercise their appraisal rights under Delaware law. Investors in several recent high-profile mergers have announced their intention to, or sought to, exercise their appraisal rights, including in deals involving Dell, Dole Food Company, and 3M/Cogent.

In many of these situations, an even more novel phenomenon is occurring: hedge funds, arbitrageurs, and other money managers are buying the stock of target companies even after a deal is announced to have the option to exercise appraisal rights. Some funds even have been created expressly for this purpose, perhaps with the view that the risks in an appraisal proceeding may be far greater to the target company than to the shareholder.

One such risk is that historically the definition of “fair value” in an appraisal proceeding under Delaware law provides wide discretion to the court to “take into account all relevant factors” beyond the price paid in the underlying merger, even where that price was the result of an arms-length transaction. The practical impact of this standard is that the court’s determination of value may get reduced to a “battle of the experts,” while the experts’ own analyses may be based on future projections and/or other financial information that is, by definition, uncertain. As a result, there is often little hard data to predict what the value of an entity in an appraisal proceeding could be.

…continue reading: The Growth of Appraisal Litigation in Delaware

Does Fair Value Accounting Contribute to Procyclical Leverage?

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Wednesday November 13, 2013 at 9:19 am
  • Print
  • email
  • Twitter
Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Amir Amel-Zadeh of Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge; Mary Barth, Professor of Accounting at Stanford University; and Wayne Landsman, Professor of Accounting at the University of North Carolina.

Many academic researchers, policy makers, and other practitioners have concluded that fair value accounting can lead to suboptimal real decisions by firms, particularly financial institutions, and result in negative consequences for the financial system. This conclusion is sustained by the belief that fair value accounting was a major factor contributing to the 2008-2009 financial crisis by causing financial institutions to recognize excessive losses, which in turn caused excessive sales of assets and repayment of debt, thereby leading to procyclical accounting leverage. Leverage is procyclical when it decreases during economic downturns and increases during economic upturns. In our paper, Does Fair Value Accounting Contribute to Procyclical Leverage?, which was recently made publicly available on SSRN, we examine whether there exists any link between fair value accounting and procyclical accounting leverage.

To address this question, we develop a model of commercial bank actions taken in response to economic gains and losses on their assets throughout the economic cycle to meet regulatory leverage requirements. We focus on commercial banks because of the central role they play in the financial system and the allegation that their actions in response to fair value losses contributed to the financial crisis. Our model and empirical tests based on the model establish that procyclical accounting leverage for commercial banks only arises because of differences between regulatory and accounting leverage, and not because of fair value accounting.

…continue reading: Does Fair Value Accounting Contribute to Procyclical Leverage?

Court Holds Merger Price Is Reliable Indicator of Fair Value

Posted by William Savitt, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, on Tuesday November 5, 2013 at 9:34 am
  • Print
  • email
  • Twitter
Editor’s Note: William Savitt is a partner in the Litigation Department of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. This post is based on a Wachtell Lipton firm memorandum by Mr. Savitt and David E. Shapiro. This post is part of the Delaware law series, which is cosponsored by the Forum and Corporation Service Company; links to other posts in the series are available here.

In a thoughtful and well-reasoned decision, the Delaware Court of Chancery held last week that the merger price produced by a “throrough, effective” sales process, “free from any spectre of self-interest or disloyalty,” can be the most reliable indicator of the value of shares in an appraisal proceeding. Huff Fund Investment Partnership v. CKx, Inc., No. 6844-VCG (Del. Ch. Nov 1, 2013).

CKx was a publicly traded corporation with interests in iconic entertainment properties, including the American Idol television show, Elvis Presley Enterprises, and Muhammad Ali Enterprises. In 2011, following an attempted go-private transaction and faced with uncertainty related to the network renewal of American Idol, CKx received several unsolicited bids to purchase the Company for cash. The CKx board retained an independent financial advisor and conducted an expedited process to explore a sale of the Company. Interested bidders were given three weeks to conduct diligence and negotiate a transaction. The Company ultimately received an offer of $5.50 per share from Apollo and an offer of $5.60 from a competing private equity firm. The $5.60 bid, while nominally higher, was not supported by financing commitments and the bidder refused to provide documentation that would have allowed CKx to verify its representations as to financing. In light of the uncertainty surrounding the $5.60 bid, CKx accepted the offer from Apollo notwithstanding its nominally lower purchase price.

…continue reading: Court Holds Merger Price Is Reliable Indicator of Fair Value

Measurement in Financial Reporting: The Need for Concepts

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Wednesday October 2, 2013 at 8:53 am
  • Print
  • email
  • Twitter
Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Mary Barth, Professor of Accounting at Stanford University.

Measurement concepts in financial reporting are sorely needed. A key role of accounting is to depict economic phenomena in numbers, i.e., to develop measurements to report in financial statements. It is shameful that neither is there a conceptual definition of accounting measurement nor are there concepts guiding standard setters’ choice of measurement base. The Framework has a glaring hole until these concepts are developed. In the paper, Measurement in Financial Reporting: The Need for Concepts, which was recently made publicly available on SSRN, I offer a starting point for developing such concepts by focusing on how the objective of financial reporting, qualitative characteristics of useful financial information, and the asset and liability definitions can be applied to measurement. The Framework should be a coherent whole and, thus, any measurement concepts should flow from, be consistent with, and embody these concepts.

To date the focus of measurement in standard setting has been on individual assets and liabilities, and the lack of concepts for these measurements is obvious. However, aggregate amounts are also fundamental to financial reporting—financial reports include key aggregate amounts such as total assets, total liabilities, and net income. Changes in measurements of assets and liabilities during the reporting period also are fundamental because they determine items of income and expense as well as comprehensive income itself. Thus, if financial reports are to achieve their objective, measurement concepts need to deal with aggregate amounts and changes in measurements, as well as the implications of the measurements for the information revealed in a set of financial statements taken together.

…continue reading: Measurement in Financial Reporting: The Need for Concepts

CEO Compensation and Fair Value Accounting

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Friday July 12, 2013 at 9:03 am
  • Print
  • email
  • Twitter

Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Ron Shalev of the Department of Accounting at New York University, Ivy Zhang of the Department of Accounting at the University of Minnesota, and Yong Zhang of the School of Accounting and Finance at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

In our paper, CEO Compensation and Fair Value Accounting: Evidence from Purchase Price Allocation, forthcoming in the Journal of Accounting Research, we investigate the influence of bonus intensity (i.e., the relative importance of bonus in CEO pay) and alternative accounting performance measures used in bonus plans on the allocation of purchase price post acquisitions. Upon the completion of an acquisition, the acquirer is required to allocate the cost of acquiring the target to its tangible and identifiable intangible assets and liabilities based on their individually estimated fair values. The remainder, namely, the difference between the purchase price and the fair value of net identifiable assets, is recorded as goodwill. The recognition of goodwill has different implications for subsequent earnings than that of other assets. Tangible and identifiable intangible assets with finite lives, such as developed technologies, are depreciated or amortized, depressing earnings on a regular basis. In contrast, goodwill is unamortized and subject to a periodic fair-value-based impairment test. As write-offs of goodwill impairment are infrequent (Ramanna and Watts, 2009), recording more goodwill generally leads to higher post-acquisition earnings.

…continue reading: CEO Compensation and Fair Value Accounting

Fair Value Accounting for Financial Instruments

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Tuesday November 6, 2012 at 10:01 am
  • Print
  • email
  • Twitter
Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Elizabeth Blankespoor of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University; Thomas Linsmeier of the Financial Accounting Standards Board; Kathy Petroni, Professor of Accounting at Michigan State University; and Catherine Shakespeare of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

In our paper, Fair Value Accounting for Financial Instruments: Does it improve the Association between Bank Leverage and Credit Risk?, which was recently made publicly available on SSRN, we contribute to the debate on whether financial instruments should be measured at fair value in financial statements. Accounting standard setters have been deliberating the role of fair values for financial instruments for decades. A fair value is the price at which two willing parties would exchange an asset or settle a liability. Starting after the savings and loan crisis in the late 1980s, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has increased the extent to which financial instruments are recognized at fair value (see Godwin, Petroni, and Wahlen 1998). In 2010, the FASB proposed to require that all financial instruments be recognized at fair value, with limited exceptions for receivables and payables and some companies’ own debt (FASB 2010). The proposal was controversial, with over 2,800 comment letters submitted, the vast majority of which objected to the fair value measurement of loans, deposits, and financial liabilities. The FASB is redeliberating this project and has tentatively decided that all financial instruments should be measured at fair value except certain debt financial assets and most financial liabilities (including deposits), which would be measured at amortized cost (FASB 2011).

To empirically provide insight on the controversy, we assess whether a fair value leverage ratio can explain measures of a bank’s credit risk better than a leverage ratio based on a mixture of fair values and historical costs consistent with the mixed-attribute model of US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and a leverage ratio based on even fewer fair values than GAAP, which is consistent with regulatory Tier 1 capital. We focus on balance sheet leverage because it is very commonly used for assessing firm risk. We define a bank’s credit risk as the risk that the bank defaults on its obligations, and we focus on credit risk because understanding a bank’s credit risk is essential to understanding its financial condition.

…continue reading: Fair Value Accounting for Financial Instruments

Delaware Supreme Court Affirms $2 Billion Damages Award

Posted by Stephen P. Lamb, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, on Friday September 7, 2012 at 9:12 am
  • Print
  • email
  • Twitter
Editor’s Note: Stephen Lamb is a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP focusing on Delaware corporate law and governance issues. This post is based on a Paul Weiss client memorandum by Mr. Lamb and Jospeh Christensen. This post is part of the Delaware law series, which is cosponsored by the Forum and Corporation Service Company; links to other posts in the series are available here.

In Americas Mining Corporation the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Chancery’s decision in the Southern Peru Copper litigation in which the Court of Chancery awarded damages of $2 billion and $300 million in attorneys’ fees.

While the damage and fee levels were unprecedented, the Delaware Supreme Court found that the Court of Chancery followed existing precedent and exercised its discretion appropriately in awarding such amounts after the plaintiffs had prevailed in showing that Southern Peru Copper had overpaid to acquire an asset owned by its controlling stockholder. The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Chancery’s calculation of the damages award based on the difference between the fair value of the asset and the amount paid. Further, the Delaware Supreme Court found that the Court of Chancery properly used its discretion in awarding the attorneys’ fee as a percentage of the damages award.

…continue reading: Delaware Supreme Court Affirms $2 Billion Damages Award

Common Stock Under Delaware’s Fair Value Standard

Posted by Noam Noked, co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Saturday August 4, 2012 at 7:42 pm
  • Print
  • email
  • Twitter
Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Bradley W. Voss, partner in the Commercial Litigation Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP, and is based on a Pepper Hamilton publication. This post is part of the Delaware law series, which is co-sponsored by the Forum and Corporation Service Company; links to other posts in the series are available here.

Delaware courts frequently are called upon to determine the “fair value” of a company’s stock. For a company whose capital structure includes preferred stock with a liquidation preference, there is the question of how to treat that liquidation preference when determining the per-share “fair value” of the common, the preferred, or some other specific class of the company’s stock.

Two recent Delaware Court of Chancery decisions by Chancellor Leo E. Strine Jr. demonstrate that the answer depends on whether the liquidation preference actually has been triggered (or otherwise represents a non-speculative payment obligation), or whether the payout of the liquidation preference is a matter of speculation. Importantly, that determination depends on the specific rights defining the liquidation preference, as set forth in the charter or certificate of designations, and does not necessarily depend on “market realities” that might suggest a discount for common stock relative to the preferred.

…continue reading: Common Stock Under Delaware’s Fair Value Standard

The Role of Accounting in the Financial Crisis

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Friday March 2, 2012 at 9:36 am
  • Print
  • email
  • Twitter
Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from S.P. Kothari and Rebecca Lester, both of the Department of Economics, Finance, and Accounting at MIT.

In our paper, The Role of Accounting in the Financial Crisis: Lessons for the Future, which was recently made publicly available on SSRN, we discuss the causes of the financial crisis, with particular focus on the debated role of the relevant U.S. accounting standards, and summarize implications for accountants and accounting regulators based on the effect of these existing rules.

The Great Recession that started in 2008 has had significant effects on the US and global economy; estimates of the amount of US wealth lost are approximately $14 trillion (Luhby 2009). Various causes of the financial crisis have been cited, including lax regulation over mortgage lending, a growing housing bubble, the rise of derivatives instruments such as collateralized debt obligations, and questionable banking practices. In addition to these and many other reasons, we explain two factors that partially contributed to the crisis: certain management incentives and fair value accounting standards.

…continue reading: The Role of Accounting in the Financial Crisis

Voluntary Disclosures That Disavow the Reliability of Mandated Fair Value Information

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Friday November 11, 2011 at 9:04 am
  • Print
  • email
  • Twitter
Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Walter Blacconiere (deceased); James Frederickson, Professor of Accounting at the Melbourne Business School; Marilyn Johnson of the Department of Accounting at Michigan State University; and Melissa Lewis of the Department of Accounting at the University of Utah.

U.S. and international accounting standards mandate recognition and/or disclosure of fair value information for an increasing number of items. Fair value estimates require judgment, introducing the possibility of biases in measurements, measurers, and/or models. In addition, unanticipated changes in market risk result in realized values differing from fair value estimates. Accompanying the shift to fair value accounting is the emergence of voluntary disclosures in audited financial statement footnotes that alert investors to management’s concerns about the reliability of mandated fair value information. We refer to such disclosures as reliability disavowals (hereafter, disavowals). In our paper, Are voluntary disclosures that disavow the reliability of mandated fair value information informative or opportunistic? forthcoming in the Journal of Accounting and Economics as published by Elsevier, we examine whether disavowals are informative; that is whether they are a truthful revelation by management that their fair value estimates are unreliable. We also consider that managerial opportunism may contribute to—or even solely motivate—the decision to disavow.

…continue reading: Voluntary Disclosures That Disavow the Reliability of Mandated Fair Value Information

Next Page »
 
  •  » A "Web Winner" by The Philadelphia Inquirer
  •  » A "Top Blog" by LexisNexis
  •  » A "10 out of 10" by the American Association of Law Librarians Blog
  •  » A source for "insight into the latest developments" by Directorship Magazine