Accounting changes to affect network mergers

By Carolyn Duffy Marsan, Network World |  Business

"If the FASB doesn't try to argue that all intangibles can be separated out and uniquely valued, I think they will make tremendous progress," says Barry Rogstead, president of the American Business Conference, which has lobbied against the elimination of pooling. "If the FASB makes purchase accounting sufficiently attractive, then businesses won't miss pooling."

How much of an impact the elimination of pooling and the revamping of purchase accounting will have on the network industry remains unclear.

"It's a little early for the high-tech community to make an evaluation because [the FASB] is not through with this process yet," says Caroline Graves Hurley, tax counsel and director of tax policy for the AeA, a high-technology trade group. "They've talked more conceptually than specifically. They have to expose their thoughts, and we are waiting to see what they look like."

The next step in this process is for the FASB to release details about its goodwill impairment proposal, which are due in mid-February. Interested parties will have a month to comment, with a final statement due from the FASB in late June.

And the fight over pooling isn't over yet. The issue remains a top priority for the NVCA, TechNet and other lobbying groups.

TechNet's Boylan points out that European and Asian countries allow pooling, although its use is more limited outside the U.S.

"None of our major competitors has prohibited pooling in all circumstances," she says. "We have the best technology development and the best capital markets in the world. Things are working here. Why do we want to monkey with that?"

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