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ESOP Case Appeal Stokes Controversy Over DOL Valuations

A series of court cases have generated controversy over the tactics and valuation methods the Department of Labor (DOL) has been using, including claims that the DOL has improperly redefined the term “fair market value,” does not follow generally accepted valuation principles nor standards, and continually uses an expert the valuation community deems “unqualified.”

North Carolina court looks to deal price for fair value in tobacco merger

The importance of Delaware appraisal jurisprudence beyond state borders was on display in a recent fair value decision out of North Carolina related to a merger involving the tobacco giant Reynolds.

Indiana and South Carolina courts issue key discount rulings

The Indiana Court of Appeals and the South Carolina Supreme Court recently issued noteworthy rulings on the appropriateness of discounts in valuing minority interests. The contexts in which the issue arose were different, but both situations amounted to a compelled buyback of shares.

Business interruption cases and the role financial experts can play

Filing a business interruption claim has become one of the go-to moves for businesses as they try to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. A discussion of two cases that were adjudicated just before the COVID-19 crisis came into relief explains the trajectory many claims, including claims arising out of the COVID-19 crisis, may take and points to opportunities for damages experts.

Reynolds American Inc. v. Third Motion Equities Master Fund Ltd.

In appraisal action involving merger of public (tobacco) company, court, guided by key Delaware court decisions, says deal price best reflects fair value and represents upper limit; contemporaneous valuations based on comparable companies, precedent transactions, and DCF support use of deal price.

North Carolina Court Says Deal Price Represents Upper Limit of Tobacco Company’s Fair Value

In appraisal action involving merger of public (tobacco) company, court, guided by key Delaware court decisions, says deal price best reflects fair value and represents upper limit; contemporaneous valuations based on comparable companies, precedent transactions, and DCF support use of deal price.

Expert in courts—Strickland challenges business valuers who are adversarial or too keen

Experts who attack other experts, behave discourteously, or slavishly follow the instructions of solicitors will not be treated favourably by the courts because they are deeply dependent on the knowledge that their experts, including business valuation specialists, maintain independence and professionalism.

BVU News and Trends March 2020

A monthly roundup of key developments of interest to business valuation experts.

Tales From the Trenches: How Recent Challenges with the IRS Impact Your Valuation

With a special focus on the recent Aaron U. Jones (USTC TCM 2019-101) case regarding tax affecting an S corp and a partnership, this workshop is the best way to get IRS insights short of going into litigation. Get real insights on how to avoid and what to do if working with the IRS on business valuation issues at all levels. Join Mike Gregory as he dives into conflict resolution (with assistance from the Collaboration ...

5th Circuit Upholds Tax Court’s Characterization of Interest and Discount Rulings

5th Circuit affirms Tax Court’s ruling that decedent’s transferred interest is limited partner, not an assignee, interest; appeals court says estate’s related challenge to Tax Court’s valuation reflects disagreement with characterization of interest, not value computation; valuation holds up.

Estate of Streightoff v. Commissioner (II)

5th Circuit affirms Tax Court’s ruling that decedent’s transferred interest is limited partner, not an assignee, interest; appeals court says estate’s related challenge to Tax Court’s valuation reflects disagreement with characterization of interest, not value computation; valuation holds up.

Optical Works & Logistics, LLC v. Sentinel Ins. Co.

In business interruption case, court denies insurer’s summary judgment motion, finding plaintiff’s breach of contract suit raises many issues of material fact, including whether plaintiff’s fledgling business was ever viable and, but for insurer’s refusal to pay claim, could have resumed operations.

Business Interruption Claim Raises Triable Issue as to Viability of New Business, Court Finds

In business interruption case, court denies insurer’s summary judgment motion, finding plaintiff’s breach of contract suit raises many issues of material fact, including whether plaintiff’s fledgling business was ever viable and, but for insurer’s refusal to pay claim, could have resumed operations.

Tax Court spurns IRS’ gift tax valuation theory and methodology

In a gift tax dispute, the U.S. Tax Court recently found for the taxpayer when it rejected the unusual reasoning and methodology the Internal Revenue Service’s trial expert proposed to keep low the discounts applicable to the nonvoting membership units in two limited liability companies (LLCs).

Edelson v. Cheung

In business dispute alleging breach and fraud, court adopts plaintiff expert’s methodology to value contested interest by way of the market approach; court notes expert well explained why the income approach was not available and the asset approach was too limited to provide an accurate valuation.

Court Agrees Market Approach Generates Most Accurate Value of Plaintiff’s Interest

In business dispute alleging breach and fraud, court adopts plaintiff expert’s methodology to value contested interest by way of the market approach; court notes expert well explained why the income approach was not available and the asset approach was too limited to provide an accurate valuation.

Synergy deduction purely academic in new Delaware appraisal ruling

In a statutory appraisal case that involved the sale of a publicly traded company to a privately held entity, the Delaware Court of Chancery recently decided the deal price was a reliable indicator of fair value and a downward adjustment for synergies was justified.

ASA Houston hosts expert witness workshop and mock trial

ASA Houston hosts the Expert Witness Workshop & Mock Trial on April 16, 2020 in Houston, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Valuation underpinning contested stock sale reflects fair value, Court of Chancery says

In a breach of fiduciary duty action arising out of a controversial stock sale, the Delaware Court of Chancery dismissed the plaintiff’s attacks on the underlying valuation, noting the appraiser was “exceptionally knowledgeable about the industry” and held “informed beliefs” as to the company’s specific structure.

Grieve v. Commissioner

In gift tax dispute, Tax Court rejects IRS expert’s valuation of noncontrolling, nonmarketable interests in two LLCs; expert proposed valuation theory and method were intended to lower opposing experts’ minority and marketability discounts but lacked support in facts, case law, or among peers.

Tax Court Rejects IRS’ Value Analysis, Finding It Assumes Additional Actions Not ‘Reasonably Probable’

In gift tax dispute, Tax Court rejects IRS expert’s valuation of noncontrolling, nonmarketable interests in two LLCs; expert proposed valuation theory and method were intended to lower opposing experts’ minority and marketability discounts but lacked support in facts, case law, or among peers.

Great Hill Equity Partners IV, LP v. SIG Growth Equity Fund I, LLP

Court rejects plaintiff’s damages calculation related to sweeping fraud and contract breach allegations where plaintiff submitted expert report before court’s liability rulings and failed to offer revised expert report after liability trial; damages were not sufficiently tied to proven wrongs.

Plaintiff’s Overbroad Damages Calculation Prompts Court Not to Grant Award for Proven Wrongdoing

Court rejects plaintiff’s damages calculation related to sweeping fraud and contract breach allegations where plaintiff submitted expert report before court’s liability rulings and failed to offer revised expert report after liability trial; damages were not sufficiently tied to proven wrongs.

Attack on DOL’s ability to seek monetary damages in Vinoskey ESOP case fails

In the contentious Vinoskey ESOP case, the trustee recently asked for a new trial, arguing the Secretary of Labor, representing the plaintiff, lacked the statutory authority to seek monetary damages on behalf of the ESOP and the court lacked the authority to hear this claim.

Delaware Court of Chancery says no to expert’s novel approach to beta calculation

In an appraisal proceeding in which the Delaware Court of Chancery favored the discounted cash flow analysis as the means with which to determine fair value, the court had sharp words for the company expert’s decision to introduce a new way for calculating equity beta.

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