New standard may block mergers

Link: UK may ban merger accounting

The company’s group financial controller made the revelation this week while speaking on a controversial accounting standard that would stop deals being booked as ‘pooling of interests’.

Proposals put forward by the International Accounting Standards Board on business combinations will effectively rule out the possibility of companies ‘merging’ and will force both company boards to choose which side is acquiring the other.

Speaking at an ICAEW forum on business combinations, Tim Watts, group financial controller at AstraZeneca, poured doubt on the merits of the proposals. ‘AstraZeneca may not have happened if there had been no pooling of interests,’ he said. ‘The Astra side would not have stomached being perceived as losers in the deal.’

AstraZeneca was formed by the merger of pharmaceutical companies Astra and Zeneca in 1999. Current guidance allowed chief financial officer Jonathan Symonds to represent the deal as a merger, despite Zeneca having a larger market capitalisation.

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