Many companies buy more than 50 percent of the stock of other companies in order to gain control. In a large number of these acquisitions, one company obtains all the outstanding shares of the other so that ownership is complete. If two companies are brought together to form a third, a merger has taken place. If one company simply buys another, the transaction is known as an acquisition. Thomson Financial reported that approximately 35,000 mergers and acquisitions took place around the world during 2006 with a total value of $3.5 trillion. The recent recession has reduced that trend a bit. Such investments are often made to expand operations into new markets or new industries. Google, for example, acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion to move into the presentation of online videos. As discussed earlier in the coverage of intangible assets, one company might buy another to obtain valuable assets such as patents, real estate, trademarks, technology, and the like. Walt Disney’s purchase of Pixar and its digital animation expertise appears to fall into this category. Such transactions can also be made to eliminate competition or in hopes of gaining economies of scale. Sprint’s $35 billion merger with Nextel was projected to increase profits for the combined companies by lowering operating expenses while also reducing the number of competitors in the wireless communication industry.
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Because such acquisitions are common, the financial statements reported by many well-known corporations actually include consolidated financial data from hundreds of different subsidiaries where control has been gained over a number of years. As just one example, Cisco Systems made approximately sixty acquisitions of other companies between 2000 and 2007. Subsequently, the published financial statements for Cisco Systems included the revenues, expenses, assets, and liabilities of each of those subsidiaries. Consolidation of financial statements is one of the most complex topics in all of financial accounting. However, the basic process is quite straightforward. Subsidiary revenues and expenses. The revenues and expenses of each subsidiary are included in consolidated figures but only for the period after control is gained. Consequently, if Giant obtains Tiny by buying 100 percent of its stock on April 1, a consolidated income statement for these two companies will contain no revenues and expenses recognized by Tiny prior to that date. Income statement balances accrued under previous owners have no financial impact on the new owner, Giant. Only the revenues and expenses of this subsidiary starting on April 1 are included in the consolidated totals calculated for Giant Company and its consolidated subsidiary. Subsidiary assets and liabilities. Consolidation of subsidiary assets and liabilities
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