Separate Acquisition

If an intangible asset is acquired separately, the cost of the intangible asset can usually be measured reliably. This is particularly so when the purchase consideration is in the form of cash or other monetary assets.

Acquisition as Part of an Amalgamation

An intangible asset acquired in an amalgamation in the nature of purchase is accounted for in accordance with AS 14. In accordance with this Statement:

  • A transferee recognises an intangible asset that meets the recognition criteria, even if that intangible asset had not been recognised in the financial statements of the transferor and
  • If the cost (i.e. fair value) of an intangible asset acquired as part of an amalgamation in the nature of purchase cannot be measured reliably, that asset is not recognised as a separate intangible asset but is included in goodwill.

Hence, judgement is required to determine whether the cost (i.e. fair value) of an intangible asset acquired in an amalgamation can be measured with sufficient reliability for the purpose of separate recognition. Quoted market prices in an active market provide the most reliable measurement of fair value. The appropriate market price is usually the current bid price. If current bid prices are unavailable, the price of the most recent similar transaction may provide a basis from which to estimate fair value, provided that there has not been a significant change in economic circumstances between the transaction date and the date at which the asset’s fair value is estimated.

If no active market exists for an asset, its cost reflects the amount that the enterprise would have paid, at the date of the acquisition, for the asset in an arm’s length transaction between knowledgeable and willing parties, based on the best information available. The cost initially recognised for the intangible asset in this case is restricted to an amount that does not create or increase any capital reserve arising at the date of the amalgamation. Certain enterprises that are regularly involved in the purchase and sale of unique intangible assets have developed techniques for estimating their fair values indirectly.

These techniques include, where appropriate, applying multiples reflecting current market transactions to certain indicators driving the profitability of the asset (such as revenue, market shares, operating profit, etc.) or discounting estimated future net cash flows from the asset.

Acquisition by way of a Government Grant

In some cases, an intangible asset may be acquired free of charge, or for nominal consideration, by way of a government grant.

This may occur when a government transfers or allocates to an enterprise intangible assets such as airport landing rights, licences to operate radio or television stations, import licences or quotas or rights to access other restricted resources.

AS 12, requires that government grants in the form of non-monetary assets, given at a concessional rate should be accounted for on the basis of their acquisition cost. Accordingly, intangible asset acquired free of charge, or for nominal consideration, by way of government grant is recognised at a nominal value or at the acquisition cost, as appropriate; any expenditure that is directly attributable to making the asset ready for its intended use is also included in the cost of the asset.

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