RoyaltyStat Blog

The Premature Death of the Comparable Uncontrolled Transaction (Price) Method

Posted by Harold McClure

A recent TaxNotes piece called for a substantial rewrite of Section 1.482-4, which addresses the transfer of intangible assets. The author, Ryan Finley, suggests that the Comparable Uncontrolled Transaction (CUT/CUP) approach should be relegated to a much more limited role. While many of the his assessments are fair, we would urge caution before relegating CUT too far to the backbench. There are certainly situations where CUT approaches are not only useful, but necessary as part of a larger framework to capture the issues and facts of the specific intercompany issue, examples of which we note later on.

Intangible Assets in Transfer Pricing Are Not Hard-to-Value

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

We can determine the value of certain identifiable assets (including the value of intangible assets) from knowledge about the associated (a) initial investment, (b) comparable growth rate of investments (g), and (c) estimated longevity of annual investment flows. Intangible producing investments include research & development, software development expenses, marketing and advertising expenses.

For this purpose, CAPM (capital asset pricing model) is inapplicable to determine comparable operating rates of return for intangible assets because CAPM is designed to estimate rates of return of traded equity shares, which reflect a stream of prospective dividends plus share price variation (capital gains or loss) during a certain period, and not a prospective stream of operating profits attributed to specific intangibles.

For a given enterprise, streams of dividends and capital gains and their calculated risks (measured during a specified useful period) are unlikely to be discounted or capitalized by an operating rate of return attributed to intangible assets. Inter alia, intangible assets are not frequently traded in ask-bid exchange markets and subject to speculative capital gains (loss).

Hard-to-Value Intangibles sans mystere in Transfer Pricing

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

Unlike the debutant affection of the OECD, we discourage using projected profits or cash flows to measure hard-to-value-intangibles (HTVI) for transfer pricing purposes because this method is speculative and based on several impeachable assumptions.

Forecasting Profit Margin Under CWI in Transfer Pricing

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

We can consider a first-order autoregressive (AR(1)) model to determine an arm’s length profit margin of a “tested party” subject to transfer pricing audit compliance:

Valuation of Intangibles: Pfizer Example

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

Estimates of unidentifiable intangibles based on Tobin’s Q tend to be exaggerated because (in addition to dividend yield) they include a speculative element represented by stock price appreciation. In many cases, capital appreciation can swarm dividend yield. Let’s consider Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), as an example. Pfizer is a global biopharmaceutical company engaged in discovering, developing and manufacturing healthcare products. Pfizer’s technology and marketing intangible-based products include Prevnar, Lyrica, Enbrel, Lipitor, Viagra, Sutent, BeneFIX, Genotropin, ReFacto, and Xyntha. Several products in Pfizer’s current portfolio were acquired from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, including Prevnar and Enbrel.

Valuation of Intangibles: Measuring Excess Returns

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

To measure excess returns attributed to intangibles, we divide the “return on assets” into two components, including a return to tangible assets that is “separate and distinct” from a return to intangible assets. We think of tangible assets consisting primarily of property, plant and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation, and intangible assets consisting of a weighted sum of past investments in R&D, software, and advertising. As such, we define total assets composed of these two components, tangibles (index = 1) and intangibles (index = 2):

Valuation of Intangibles Based on Lagged Investments

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

The valuation of intangibles does not create any special problem as long as we keep track in a company’s general ledger the amounts of separate and distinct expenditures that for the purpose of valuation are treated as investments. Thus,

Valuation of Intangibles: Present Value Method

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

In transfer pricing intangibles are an enigma, regarded as hard-to-value assets. Let’s decipher: If we let Yt represent income (profits, royalties, dividends, interest), Greek gamma γ be the discount rate, and D = 1 + γ be the discount factor, then the present value (PV) of any asset, including intangibles, can be determined by a well-known formula:

Valuation of Intangibles From Initial Capital Stock

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

The initial stock of identifiable assets ("capital stock"), including tangible and intangible assets, is based on the project's initial investment, rate of depreciation or amortization, and estimated growth rate of revenue. This initial capital stock can be estimated by a straight-line equation:

Valuation of Intangibles Based on the Perpetual Inventory Method (PIM)

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

The NPV (net present value) of intangibles has serious break-points. To avoid them, we propose using the perpetual inventory method (PIM). A major advantage of PIM is that no forecasting of revenue attributed to the intangible is needed; instead, we use actual annual expenditures recorded on the company's general ledger (GL), say annual R&D and annual advertising expenses attributed to creating self-developed separate and distinct intangibles. Another major advantage of PIM is that intangible value is not sensitive to changes in discount rates, which in turn depend on an applicable interest rate and a controversial measure of risk attributed to projected royalties.