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In 1983 Berkshire acquired the rest of Blue Chip in a merger that required purchase accounting as contrasted to the "pooling" treatment allowed for some mergers. Under purchase accounting, the "fair value" of the shares we gave to (or "paid") Blue Chip holders had to be spread over the net assets acquired from Blue Chip. This "fair value" was measured, as it almost always is when public companies use their shares to make acquisitions, by the market value of the shares given up.
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Once the fair value option is elected, the decision is irrevocable. For existing financial assets and liabilities, companies can implement the fair value option when the choice is made to use the guidance in Statement no. 159. In addition, companies can elect to apply the fair value option, after initial adoption, on the date when other eligible items are recognized. As an example, following the initial implementation of the guidance, a company that enters into an eligible commitment can elect to use fair value accounting for that commitment.
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A key for auditors in evaluating the appropriateness of fair value option decisions is to ensure that the guidance is implemented in a manner that is consistent with the underlying objectives of Statement no. 159 and reflects substance over form. Auditors need to exercise the appropriate level of professional skepticism when evaluating facts and circumstances related to using the fair value option. A heightened degree of awareness might be necessary to ensure that businesses are using the option to reflect economic reality, rather than attempting to achieve a particular accounting result.