Valuation of Business Restructurings in Germany – Part I: Economic Life of Businesses

For multinational enterprises seeking to engage in business restructuring in Germany, a lack of national legislation and inconsistent regulations are causing problems, including high exit charges and the risk of double taxation. The German tax legislation assumes an indefinite time frame of capitalization for the valuation of business restructurings, unless reasons can be provided for a definite useful life. Empirical evidence shows that there are prudent reasons why business restructurings should not be started from the premise of an indefinite capitalization period for the valuation of a transfer package, especially for whole business units. Most companies do not reach the mature age that would justify a projection of future cash flows into perpetuity. Moreover, research shows that the cumulated probability of default of a company behaves like a negative growth rate for the expected cash flows. Therefore, it is very likely that business restructuring transactions are overvalued, which results in a higher tax burden for the transferring entity, and the risk of double taxation increases.