Amendments to IFRS 3 – definition of a business: PwC In brief INT2018-13

Publication date: 23 Oct 2018

adobe_pdf_file_icon_32x32Amendments to IFRS 3 – definition of a business: PwC In brief INT2018-13

At a glance

On 22 October 2018, the IASB issued amendments to the guidance in IFRS 3, ‘Business Combinations’, that revises the definition of a business. According to feedback received by the IASB, application of the current guidance is commonly thought to be too complex, and it results in too many transactions qualifying as business combinations.

What is the issue?

New guidance

To be considered a business, an acquisition would have to include an input and a substantive process that together significantly contribute to the ability to create outputs. The new guidance provides a framework to evaluate when an input and a substantive process are present (including for early stage companies that have not generated outputs). To be a business without outputs, there will now need to be an organised workforce.

The definition of the term ‘outputs’ is narrowed to focus on goods and services provided to customers, generating investment income and other income, and it excludes returns in the form of lower costs and other economic benefits.

It is also no longer necessary to assess whether market participants are capable of replacing missing elements or integrating the acquired activities and assets.

An entity can apply a ‘concentration test’ that, if met, eliminates the need for further assessment. Under this optional test, where substantially all of the fair value of gross assets acquired is concentrated in a single asset (or a group of similar assets), the assets acquired would not represent a business.

What is the impact and for whom?

The changes to the definition of a business will likely result in more acquisitions being accounted for as asset acquisitions across all industries, particularly real estate, pharmaceutical, and oil and gas. Application of the changes would also affect the accounting for disposal transactions.

Differences in accounting between business combinations and asset acquisitions include, among other things, the recognition of goodwill, recognition and measurement of contingent consideration, accounting for transaction costs, and deferred tax accounting.

When does it apply?

Entities shall apply these amendments to business combinations for which the acquisition date is on or after the beginning of the first annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2020 and to asset acquisitions that occur on or after the beginning of that period. Early application is permitted.

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