Handbook | November 2020



Handbook: Asset acquisitions

Latest edition: KPMG highlights significant differences in accounting for asset acquisitions vs business combinations.

Nick Burgmeier

Nick Burgmeier

Partner, Dept. of Professional Practice, KPMG US

+1 212-909-5455

Dan Langlois

Dan Langlois

Partner, Dept. of Professional Practice, KPMG US

+1 212-872-3256

Our in-depth guide explains in detail how to account for asset acquisitions. The guidance includes Q&As and examples clarifying how the accounting for asset acquisitions differs from business combinations accounting.


  • An acquirer entering into a transaction considered to be an asset acquisition

Relevant dates

  • Effective immediately

Key impacts

  • Accounting for asset acquisitions follows a cost accumulation model, rather than the fair value model that applies to business combinations.
  • As entities adopt the new definition of a business, we expect more transactions to qualify as asset acquisitions. 
  • ASC 805-50 provides only limited guidance, so entities need to consider other sources, such as:
    • ASC 805 on business combinations
    • Other existing US GAAP
    • Superseded US GAAP on business combinations that was consistent with a cost accumulation model. 

Report contents

  • Executive summary
  • Scope of ASC 805-50
  • Determining the cost of the acquisition
  • Allocating the cost of an asset acquisition
  • SEC reporting considerations

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