Accounting News Roundup: Facebook’s Value; Yankee Fan’s Loot; San Diego’s Cats | 07.14.11

Is Facebook Worth $100 Billion? [WSJ]
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based social network was valued at $15 billion in October 2007 when Microsoft Corp. invested in the company. By this January, Facebook commanded a $50 billion price tag when Goldman Sachs Group Inc. led a $1.5 billion funding round in the company. Today, transactions of Facebook stock on private marketplaces value it at about $84 billion. Some people believe that if Facebook goes public next year, it will trade at a $100 billion valuation, more than the market capitalizations of Hewlett-Packard Co. (currently at $74 billion) and Amazon.com Inc. (at $9g>US board changes swaps accounting for local govts [Reuters]
The board that sets accounting standards for state and local governments on Wednesday changed some financial reporting requirements for swaps and other hedging instruments the governments use. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board said that “deferred outflows” and “deferred inflows” of resources should be reported separately from assets and liabilities on financial statements.

Raters Put U.S. on Notice [WSJ]
Moody’s Investors Service said it was reviewing the government’s top Aaa bond rating for a possible downgrade, citing the “rising possibility” that the government’s $14.29 trillion borrowing limit won’t be raised soon enough to prevent the U.S. from running out of money to pay its bills. In addition, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s privately has told lawmakers and top business groups it might cut the U.S. credit rating if the government fails to make any of its expected payments—including Social Security checks—even if it makes all its debt payments, people familiar with the matter said.

Fan Who Returned Ball Is Reaping Rewards [WSJ]
On Wednesday, the 23-year-old from Highland Mills, N.Y., was guaranteed at least a $50,000 donation, given a 2009 World Series ring, and got an offer to have his taxes covered should the IRS not consider the items Lopez received Saturday gifts. In case there are still some contrarians who believe Lopez didn’t make the right decision, Topps announced Lopez will also have his own baseball card. “It’s an incredible feeling,” Lopez said yesterday at Modell’s Sporting Goods in Times Square, his newfound public relations team not far from his side. “Never ever would I have expected this, so it’s a cool thing.”

ConocoPhillips to Split Into Two Businesses [DealBook]
ConocoPhillips said on Thursday that it would break itself into two companies, spinning off its refining business to shareholders by the first half of next year. ConocoPhillips would hold onto its higher-margin exploration operations, and would seek acquisitions to expand that business.

Small Firms Defend LIFO [In Charge/WSJ]
Known as last-in, first-out – or LIFO – the strategy is used by businesses of all sizes to reduce taxable income by deducting the most recent cost of goods from sales. Since newer goods added to inventories tend to be more costly than older ones, the result gives the appearance of lower earnings, especially during periods of high inflation. In practice, most businesses prefer to sell older inventory items first, before they lose their value or become obsolete. Rolling back the strategy, which has been used for decades, would raise more than $60 billion in tax revenue over 10 years by increasing the tax liability of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers nationwide, according to the administration. It has proposed repealing LIFO from the tax code since 2009.

White House threatens veto for bill defunding Wall Street reform [The Hill]
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a statement Wednesday saying senior advisers would recommend the president veto an appropriations package for financial services and general government if it made it to the president’s desk. The legislation was approved down a party-line vote by the House Appropriations Committee. Among a litany of problems it identified with the package, OMB warned that the $19.9 billion package does not provide sufficient funding to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

EU’s Barnier says won’t budge on accounting rule [Reuters]
The European Union won’t give the green light yet to a new accounting rule that could ease fallout from the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis on banks, a top EU official said on Wednesday. “I do not believe this will be the first solution to the problems we face in Europe at the moment,” EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier told a webcast meeting in New York. The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), under pressure from policymakers at the height of the financial crisis, has eased its “fair value” or mark-to-market rule that was known as IAS 39.

Cat Owners Hiss at Licensing Proposal [NBC SD]
“So now you have Animal Control being your tax collector,” says Sandee Gilbert, the owner of a 1-year-old Cornish Rex male named Nike. “And as a tax collector, you’re going to accrue a tremendous amount of cost trying to find the owner of that cat.”

Is Facebook Worth $100 Billion? [WSJ]
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based social network was valued at $15 billion in October 2007 when Microsoft Corp. invested in the company. By this January, Facebook commanded a $50 billion price tag when Goldman Sachs Group Inc. led a $1.5 billion funding round in the company. Today, transactions of Facebook stock on private marketplaces value it at about $84 billion. Some people believe that if Facebook goes public next year, it will trade at a $100 billion valuation, more than the market capitalizations of Hewlett-Packard Co. (currently at $74 billion) and Amazon.com Inc. (at $97 billion).

US board changes swaps accounting for local govts [Reuters]
The board that sets accounting standards for state and local governments on Wednesday changed some financial reporting requirements for swaps and other hedging instruments the governments use. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board said that “deferred outflows” and “deferred inflows” of resources should be reported separately from assets and liabilities on financial statements.

Raters Put U.S. on Notice [WSJ]
Moody’s Investors Service said it was reviewing the government’s top Aaa bond rating for a possible downgrade, citing the “rising possibility” that the government’s $14.29 trillion borrowing limit won’t be raised soon enough to prevent the U.S. from running out of money to pay its bills. In addition, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s privately has told lawmakers and top business groups it might cut the U.S. credit rating if the government fails to make any of its expected payments—including Social Security checks—even if it makes all its debt payments, people familiar with the matter said.

Fan Who Returned Ball Is Reaping Rewards [WSJ]
On Wednesday, the 23-year-old from Highland Mills, N.Y., was guaranteed at least a $50,000 donation, given a 2009 World Series ring, and got an offer to have his taxes covered should the IRS not consider the items Lopez received Saturday gifts. In case there are still some contrarians who believe Lopez didn’t make the right decision, Topps announced Lopez will also have his own baseball card. “It’s an incredible feeling,” Lopez said yesterday at Modell’s Sporting Goods in Times Square, his newfound public relations team not far from his side. “Never ever would I have expected this, so it’s a cool thing.”

ConocoPhillips to Split Into Two Businesses [DealBook]
ConocoPhillips said on Thursday that it would break itself into two companies, spinning off its refining business to shareholders by the first half of next year. ConocoPhillips would hold onto its higher-margin exploration operations, and would seek acquisitions to expand that business.

Small Firms Defend LIFO [In Charge/WSJ]
Known as last-in, first-out – or LIFO – the strategy is used by businesses of all sizes to reduce taxable income by deducting the most recent cost of goods from sales. Since newer goods added to inventories tend to be more costly than older ones, the result gives the appearance of lower earnings, especially during periods of high inflation. In practice, most businesses prefer to sell older inventory items first, before they lose their value or become obsolete. Rolling back the strategy, which has been used for decades, would raise more than $60 billion in tax revenue over 10 years by increasing the tax liability of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers nationwide, according to the administration. It has proposed repealing LIFO from the tax code since 2009.

White House threatens veto for bill defunding Wall Street reform [The Hill]
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a statement Wednesday saying senior advisers would recommend the president veto an appropriations package for financial services and general government if it made it to the president’s desk. The legislation was approved down a party-line vote by the House Appropriations Committee. Among a litany of problems it identified with the package, OMB warned that the $19.9 billion package does not provide sufficient funding to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

EU’s Barnier says won’t budge on accounting rule [Reuters]
The European Union won’t give the green light yet to a new accounting rule that could ease fallout from the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis on banks, a top EU official said on Wednesday. “I do not believe this will be the first solution to the problems we face in Europe at the moment,” EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier told a webcast meeting in New York. The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), under pressure from policymakers at the height of the financial crisis, has eased its “fair value” or mark-to-market rule that was known as IAS 39.

Cat Owners Hiss at Licensing Proposal [NBC SD]
“So now you have Animal Control being your tax collector,” says Sandee Gilbert, the owner of a 1-year-old Cornish Rex male named Nike. “And as a tax collector, you’re going to accrue a tremendous amount of cost trying to find the owner of that cat.”

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