The Legend of Weighted Average Return on Assets and Benchmarking Purchase Price Allocation Data

BVResearch Pro
March 19, 2019
Matthew Crane, ASA, CPA
intangibles, purchase price allocation
business combinations, purchase price allocation, relief-from-royalty, ASC 805, cost approach, discount rate, fair value, income approach, pratt's stats, weighted average cost of capital (WACC), discounted cash flow (DCF), intangible, market approach, cost of equity, dealstats, weighted average return on assets (WARA)


The author's research shows that only current assets, non-competes, and customer relationships have any predictability to WACC in limited industries. In general, when intangibles have significance, their coefficients are negative, which reduces WACC and implied risk. This finding supports the claim by Lev and Gu (2008) that intangibles are important assets, which reduce, not increase risk. The concept that intangible always should have a premium above WACC is unfounded, and the premise of ARM 34 that intangibles are ancillary assets is outdated. The author suggests and alternative method to use purchase price allocation data to support the selection of premiums above WACC.
JFIA-2019-No1-1 Published Version Crane
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