Business Valuation Law News

Valuation of key marital asset demands expert opinion

In a Mississippi divorce, the husband's sole-owned fitness training company was the key asset. An accurate valuation was central to achieving an equitable distribution of property, but the parties did not hire experts or even submit much financial information to the trial court. Read more >>

Daubert tests reliability of testimony, not power of persuasion

The plaintiff, representing the debtor enterprises, sued executives of related family-run consumer lending and retail businesses that had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy over allegedly fraudulent transfers. Read more >>

Challenge to new Section 2704 regulations is shaping up

The accounting, valuation, and legal professions are hard at work to defeat the Treasury Department's proposed Section 274 regulations. The new regs would curtail, if not entirely eliminate, valuation discounts in family-controlled entities. Read more >>

Chancery achieves fair value with three imperfect valuation techniques

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Perhaps Chancellor Bouchard thought of Aristotle when he recently ruled in a statutory appraisal action that, even though the results of three common valuation techniques were unreliable indicators of value, in combination they established fair value. Read more >>

Tax Court revaluation means big-time savings for taxpayer

In an estate tax dispute that has lasted for over five years, the Tax Court recently revalued the decedent’s minority interest in an Oregon family business by order of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The recalculation proved a boon to the taxpayer. Read more >>

Expert report proves best defense against Daubert offense

In litigation, attacks on expert opinions are par for the course, but a sound expert report can ward off a Daubert challenge and clear the way to admission at trial, as a recent fraud case illustrates. Read more >>

Delaware Supreme Court Judge Boos Chancery's Option Valuation Case Analysis

In reviewing one of the Delaware Court of Chancery's most noteworthy rulings from 2015, one judge on the state Supreme Court wrote a stinging critique of the trial court's analysis. Read more >>

How else to look at the 'Gawker' case: It's about unjust enrichment

It's not your average lost profits or lost business opportunity case. Rather, Hogan's damages experts were successful in quantifying damages under the less-common unjust enrichment theory. Rather than focusing on the damages to Hogan, the plaintiff, stemming from Gawker's misconduct, the experts calculated the gain to Gawker, the defendant, from the misuse of Hogan's assets, that is, his brand and other intellectual property. Read more >>

Tenn. appeals court muddies the waters regarding use of DLOM in divorce valuation

So much for clarity. A recent Tennessee appeals court decision hinged on the issue of whether a marketability discount was appropriate in the valuation of the husband’s interests in three real estate development partnerships. In reviewing the trial court’s analysis, the appeals court suggested that the lower court misunderstood the principle behind DLOM but ultimately upheld the lower court’s findings. The resulting decision leaves valuators in a pickle as to when to apply the discount and at what rate. Read more >>

Why Del. Chancery rejects merger price in 'Dell' statutory appraisal action

It decided to give no weight to the final merger price—$13.75 per share, and a special $0.13 dividend issued to all shareholders—but rely exclusively on its own post-transaction DCF analysis to determine the fair value of the company. In so doing, the court deviated from a number of Chancery decisions—several issued in 2015—that found the deal price was the most reliable indicator of the company’s fair value. Read more >>

5th Circuit backs district court's fair market value determination in ESOP dispute

The district court's determination of overpayment was a function of the contract price and the stock’s fair market value on each of three transaction dates. For its FMV determination, the court considered the testimony of three noted valuation experts retained by the plaintiffs, the DOL, and the defendants respectively. Different experts used different methods, different assumptions, different estimates, and they reached different conclusions. But they all used multiple approaches to produce several FMV estimates on the transaction dates. To arrive at a final value determination, or range of values, they all averaged or weighted the results. Read more >>

Court admits expert's anti-'Georgia-Pacific' royalty calculation

There is no absolute requirement to develop a reasonable royalty based on the Georgia-Pacific framework. That's the takeaway from a Daubert ruling in which the court denied the defendant's motion to preclude the testimony of the opposing damages expert, who determined a reasonable royalty based on market data instead of the customary Georgia-Pacific factors. Read more >>

Wholesale exclusion of expert testimony contravenes Daubert, 2nd Circuit says

One error in an extensive economic analysis does not automatically call into question the entire expert opinion, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals recently said in the context of a securities fraud lawsuit involving the drug giant Pfizer. With this pronouncement the appeals court resuscitated a class action that had died after the district court excluded the plaintiffs' loss causation and damages expert under Daubert based on errors in the expert's event study. Deprived of the testimony, the plaintiffs were unable to prove two critical elements of their claim. Read more >>

Why Bankruptcy Court declines to be bound by divorce valuation

Following the divorce, the husband filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and asked for confirmation of his plan. The issue was whether the plan could meet the liquidation test applicable under the Bankruptcy Code’s section 1325(a)(4). In essence, the test requires that creditors in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy receive present value payments that are at least equal to the amount the creditors would receive in a Chapter 7 case. Read more >>

Arkansas Supreme Court reverses itself on active appreciation in divorce

Under Arkansas statutory law, the increase in the value of nonmarital property is nonmarital property. But in a line of decisions going back nearly 30 years, the Arkansas Supreme Court created an exception to the statutory rule by way of the active appreciation doctrine, which says that if the growth in value is the result of the owner spouse's efforts, the increase in value is subject to marital distribution. Read more >>

Court refuses to take stand on minority discount in buyback of shares

The parties retained a sole appraiser, whom they both knew from past appraisals he had done of the company. Prior to formally engaging the appraiser, in a court hearing, both sides broached the issue of whether it was appropriate to apply a minority discount in valuing the plaintiff's shares. The court declined to weigh in on the subject, but told the parties the minority discount issue should form “part of the discussion” they needed to have over the valuation methodology. Read more >>

Florida court resists call for bright-line rule on active-passive appreciation

In this age of entrepreneurship, valuators working on divorce cases often run into the issue of active and passive appreciation. But this issue not only comes up in the context of one spouse's ownership of a business that qualifies as separate property, as a recent Florida appeals court ruling shows. The case involved the husband's separate ownership of stock in a company for which he worked and the stock's substantial appreciation in value during the marriage. The wife asked for a rule "that all appreciation of the stock of a company for which a spouse works is a marital asset." Read more >>

NY fair value ruling deals blow to DLOM

The case featured experts whose professional backgrounds and valuation approaches could hardly be more dissimilar. Their value determinations were light-years apart. In trying to make sense of the conflicting testimony and achieve a plausible and fair result, the court decided it could not totally trust either valuation. Although it adopted the defense expert's valuation, it made two consequential changes to it. One was getting rid of the expert's admittedly high and insufficiently explained 35% discount for lack of marketability. Read more >>

Goodwill-noncompete connection trips up buyer of medical practice

Ultimately, the parties reached a deal that included the sale of the building and the sale of the assets of the practice, as well as an employment contract for the doctor. The asset purchase agreement said the assets being sold included all of the practice's goodwill. At the same time, it allocated 100 percent of the purchase price to tangible assets: furniture, fixtures, equipment and supplies. The agreement also included noncompete and non-solicitation clauses. Read more >>

Additional Valuation Information Worthless? Delaware Chancery Thinks so

Asked to probe the value of the disclosures and by extension the fairness of the settlement to the absent class members, the Chancellor used the occasion to detail the problems related to disclosure settlements. He noted the Chancery’s historical practice of approving such settlements, even though they frequently were of marginal value to the plaintiffs. He considered this past attitude of the court one of the causes for the explosion of deal litigation “beyond the realm of reason." Read more >>