IPOs

Which Big 4 Firm Had the Most IPO Audit Clients In Q3 2019?

The firm that puts the EY in cringEworthY training seminars for women audited the most initial public offerings in the third quarter, according to a new analysis from Audit Analytics. #Auditor Market Share for 53 #IPO companies in Q3 2019: EY: [20.8%];Marcum: [13.2%];Deloitte: [11.3%];PwC: [11.3%];KPMG: [11.3%];All Others: [32.1%] — Audit Analytics (@AuditAnalytics) October 10, 2019 […]

This Big 4 Firm Had the Most IPO Audit Clients In Q2 2019

After a reeeeal slow start to 2019 due to the government shutdown, initial public offerings picked up the pace in the second quarter, nearly doubling the number of IPOs in the first quarter and including two of the top 10 largest IPOs since 2000. An Audit Analytics analysis revealed that between April 1 and June […]

Which Firm Topped the Big 4 in IPO Audits in Q1 of 2019?

2019 is supposed to be a record-breaking year for initial public offerings. At least that’s what the experts have been telling everyone. Barrett Daniels, Deloitte’s national IPO services leader, said the IPO market in 2019 “could end up being historic,” while Jackie Kelley, EY Americas IPO leader, said “this is going to be the best […]

Avalara IPO Has Big First Day of Trading, But Some Analysts Are Skeptical

Avalara’s initial public offering set the New York Stock Exchange ablaze in a sea of orange on June 15, as the Seattle-based sales tax automation company’s shares nearly doubled in their opening day of trading, according to CNBC. But while Avalara’s IPO looks hot, it’s overpriced, some analysts say. Shares of Avalara closed up 87 […]

controllers IPO SOX

No Matter the Timeline, Controllers and Their Teams Must Be Ready When the IPO Window Opens

Well, looky there, Sarbanes-Oxley requirements. In a perfect world, a private company that is planning to go public would take 12 to 24 months before the initial public offering launch date to make sure all of its i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. But the world we live in ain’t perfect, and certain factors […]

Controllers Supporting CFOs IPO

Supporting the CFO Through the IPO Process Is a Big Task for Controllers

During the interview process for the job of corporate controller at Borderfree Inc., Scott Paterniani, CPA, was told by the company’s CFO, Ed Neumann, that he was focused on operations, scaling the business, and other strategic initiatives, and he needed someone with recent experience with an initial public offering and the Securities and Exchange Commission […]

Controllers First IPO

10 Tips on How Controllers Can Survive Their First IPO

So far, 2018 has been a damn good year for IPOs in the United States. The U.S. IPO market is coming off a first quarter in which 44 companies, including Dropbox, went public, raising about $15.6 billion—the best quarter by proceeds in three years, according to a March analysis by research firm Renaissance Capital. That […]

Deloitte Client and Trading Firm Wants to Go Public, Admits To Being Awful at Accounting

Anyone who has ever struggled through Intermediate or scored two consecutive 74s on FAR can tell you accounting is hard, man. But when you're in the financial business and hoping to go public, there is a minimum expectation that you at least have some idea what you're doing before you invite the auditors over to […]

Chegg’s Market Debut Is Not Nearly As Well-Received As Chegg’s Actual Business

So textbook rental company Chegg went public today. And here's sort of what happened… Chegg priced their IPO at $12.50 a share, which exceeded expectations. Here's what you really need to know though: Chegg said it earned $22.7 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, for the nine months that […]

Early Odds Point to EY as Twitter’s Auditor

We're sure some of you know who the firm is already, but there's nothing out there yet so we'll refrain from calling it official. But! Audit Analytics has some stats on the 248 IPOs since April 2012 that show EY is a big favorite among EGCs since the JOBS Act was passed:  Since April 2012, […]

Auditor Market Share for IPOs Offers More Than Enough Consolation for Ernst & Young

Remember this chart from last month? #CPA link: Mo' Money, Mo' Problems: Faulty Big Four audits climb (along with their fees) http://t.co/M57S1ovtX9 pic.twitter.com/4wHa1xmQ9h — Rick Telberg (@CPA_Trendlines) August 15, 2013 Yep, the one where EY!'s deficient audits blast off like rockets into Syria. It's the kind of info that doesn't make any of the new EY! […]

Ironically for Some, This Ernst & Young Guide to a ‘Smooth IPO Registration’ Just Came Out Today

Recently, some high profile companies have been going public. Leading up to the big day, all kinds of people get ants in their pants because, contrary to what some of you believe, going public is AWESOME. There are roadshows, CNBC hype, and typically you get to ring a bell. Pretty sweet. Unfortunately, there are all […]

Let’s Get to Know the Facebook Audit Committee Members

Cripes, this Facebook IPO thing has people going bonkers so we figured digging up a little relevant information for you all was in order. Most of you probably knew that Ernst & Young was the auditor of Zuckerberg's playland but you probably aren't yet clued in to the members of the audit committee that E&Y […]

Will Yelp Give Goldman Sachs and Citigroup 5 Stars For Its IPO?

Fun fact: yours truly used to be a hardcore Yelper, ranked San Francisco’s funniest Yelper for a good year and a half before I gave up and quit the site. God that makes me feel like a loser. As it should.

Anyway, here’s my issue with a Yelp IPO… Yelp should have quit way back when I did. The window of opportunity, in my mind, has long passed. Maybe in 2007 Yelp had a chance to blow it up but how are they even relevant anymore? Beyond the rabid fan base and drive-by Googlers, I’d say no. They blew a Google deal. They totally bit off the foursquare formula when they should have come up with it first. They still don’t have a money-making plan, as far as we can tell.

So here’s the really crazy part: according to DealBook, Yelp has brought on Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to help with its IPO. Did Jeremy S. suffer from brain-eating food poisoning?!

The offering, which is expected to value the company at $1.5 billion to $2 billion, will probably come to market in the first quarter of next year, a person close to the company said. Yelp is expected to file its prospectus by the end of this year.

In recent months, Yelp has openly telegraphed its intention to go public. At a technology conference during the summer, Yelp’s chief executive, Jeremy Stoppelman, said the company was still pursuing an I.P.O. but did not have a set time line. In late July, in a move that many interpreted as another step toward the public markets, the company hired a chief financial officer, Rob Krolik, who helped Shopping.com go public in 2004.

Just last year, Stoppelman said Yelp likely wouldn’t go public for years, while it took $25 million in funding from Bono’s Elevation Partners. Remember, Elevation Partners also bought a 25% stake in Palm – anyone remember them? Anyway, earlier this year, Stoppleman proudly declined additional financing and announced that “an IPO is back on the table” for Yelp.

Fun fact: GS and Citi also worked on Groupon’s IPO, with Goldman serving as one of the lead underwriters.

But Yelp is no Groupon (that might be a good thing). The seven-year-old start-up has yet to prove how it can make money, outside of shaking down companies and forcing them into sponsorships. Oops, did I say that out loud? I meant through “advertising” revenue from sponsoring companies interesting in “creatively shuffling” their negative reviews.

The sad part is Yelp has an extensive team of writers in its users, and they are constantly creating free content (some of them are not too shabby, either) yet it still cannot figure out how to make money off that. What on Earth is an IPO going to change about that?

President’s Council on Jobs Report Suggests We Should Try Sarbanes-Oxley Light for IPOs

Barbara Roper wrote a commentary piece in WaPo Capital Business over the weekend that suggests the unthinkable: softening hard ass SOX rules for IPOs could actually kill jobs. How is that possible? Aren’t IPOs great for the economy?

Well, not always. Case in point: Groupon. Healthy, financially strong businesses are good for the economy. Scams, frauds or even overambitious accounting tricks might temporarily get the economy’s spirits up like a few rails of coke but eventually reality sets in and the economy is left broken and penniless in the alley looking for its next hit.


The report is an effort on the part of the Obama crew, who surveyed 27 business executives (including AOL’s Steve Case… and we know how his business turned out) for ideas on how to get the economy moving again. Among the suggestions, the report recommends Congress make compliance with all or part of Sarbanes-Oxley voluntary for public companies with market valuations up to $1 billion or, alternatively, exempt all companies from SOX compliance for five years after they go public.

The report blames burdensome SOX rules for the sharp drop in small IPOs in recent years, writing:

In the aftermath of the dot-com bubble and unintended consequences stemming from the Spitzer Decree and Sarbanes-Oxley regulations, the number of IPOs in the United States has fallen significantly. This is especially true for smaller companies aspiring to go public. As noted earlier, the share of IPOs that were smaller than $50 million fell from 80% in the 1990s to 20% in the 2000s. Well-intentioned regulations aimed at protecting the public from the misrepresentations of a small number of large companies have unintentionally placed significant burdens on the large number of smaller companies.

That would totally work as a justification except the SEC already debunked this silly idea. In a report earlier this year recommending no new 404(b) exemptions, SEC analysis showed that the United States has not lost U.S.-based companies filing IPOs to foreign markets for the range of issuers that would likely be in the $75-$250 million public float range after the IPO. “While U.S. markets’ share of world-wide IPOs raising $75-$250 million has declined over the past five years, there is no conclusive evidence from the study linking the requirements of Section 404(b) to IPO activity,” the report stated.

And as we all know, companies under $75 million haven’t had to worry about the SOX burden at all thanks to Congressional intervention. So how could it be that the burden they haven’t had has somehow prevented them from going public?

New boogeyman, please. I’m no huge fan of SOX but you’re going to have to come up with something better than this to convince me it’s a good idea to can it.

Is Groupon Getting Cold Feet?

Maybe! The Wall St. Journal reports that the “site isn’t cancelling its initial public offering […] but is reassessing the timing for an IPO on a week by week basis,” because some people have gotten spooked by this big, scary economy. Okay, things are actually pretty frightening out there but Bloomberg’s sources say that the company also “needs time to address regulators’ questions, including possible revisions to a controversial accounting method used in its filing.” But all this – or insolvency, for that matter – isn’t any cause for concern since this just like a couple postponing a wedding. They just need more time. [WSJ, Bloomberg]

SEC Warns of Pre-IPO Investment Scams

The SEC seems awfully interested in social media these days, and we assume it has little to do with Caleb’s obnoxious Whole Foods foursquare check-ins. Their latest nemesis? Pre-IPO investment scams purporting to be offering shares in hot non-public companies like Twitter, Facebook and Groupon.

SEC staff is aware of a number of complaints and inquiries about these types of pre-IPO investment scams, which may be promoted on social media and Internet sites, by telephone, email, in person, or by other means.

In September 2010, a judgment order was entered in favor of the SEC based on allegations that a scam artist had misappropriated more than $3.7 million from 45 investors in four states by offering fake pre-IPO shares of companies, including Centerpoint, AOL/Time Warner, Inc., Google, Inc., Facebook, Inc., and Rosetta Stone, Inc. In addition, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued a recent investor alert about these types of scams. While offerings of pre-IPO shares in a company are not uncommon, unregistered offerings may violate federal securities laws unless they meet a registration exemption, such as restricting the private offering to “accredited investors” — investors who meet certain income or net worth requirements.

Investors should be mindful of the risks involved with an offer to purchase pre-IPO shares in a company. As with any investment, we encourage investors to research thoroughly both the investment product and the professional offering the product before making any investment decision.

Since AOL/Time Warner went public in 2006, we have to assume the scam artist referenced above had been at this for quite some time before the SEC was finally able to bring down the heavy hand of justice on dat ass.

If you’re interested in further reading on the subject, check out FINRA’s Pre-IPO Offerings—These Scammers Are Not Your Friends:

In general, offerings of securities must either be registered with the SEC or meet an exemption under the federal securities laws—otherwise the offering is not legal. “Pre-IPO” speculation involves buying unregistered shares in a private company before the initial public offering of securities—and it can range from risky deals to outright frauds.

Wait, does this have anything to do with that whole Goldman Sachs Facebook embarrassment?

Beware emails from Nigerian princes selling pre-IPO shares in hot tech companies, people.

GM CFO: Today Is No Big Deal

Chris Liddell is thinking about the future!

“I’m not worried about today, I’m worried about the three months and the six months and the nine months” from now, GM Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell said in an interview this morning on CNBC.

Liddell also had some frank talk about how GM can never go back to the bad, old days, when he said GM was a financing company with a car company “attached,” and the auto maker used its pension plan as a “piggy bank.” GM needs to have a “fortress” balance sheet to support its business plan, Liddell said.

So the intention is there but old habits die hard, amiright? Francine McKenna thinks so and makes a prediction:

My prediction: GM needs another accounting restatement before the 2012 election. This time it shouldn’t be retail investors who end up with the short end of this stick.

Any takers? November 6, 2012 is the over/under. We’ll take the overs (post-election day) and if we lose, we’ll take FM to dinner at the restaurant of her choosing.

The Role of a CPA in an IPO: Open Thread

Back with another edition of “Accounting Career Couch” a undergrad senior wants to hear about some experiences the working stiffs of accounting world have had with initial public offerings.

Need advice on your next career move? Want to educate some rubes without coming off like a total jerk? Looking for a way to broach your co-workers body odor problem while not making it too personal? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and we’ll help you let everyone done gently.

Meanwhile, back on campus:

Hello Caleb,

I am an undergraduate senior, and I have a presenta Special Financial Reporting Topics course. My group chose “The Role of a CPA in an IPO”, and I was wondering if this topic has been discussed on your site before, if not, could you make a post so I can gather related information, issues, success/failure stories, and personal experiences in order to complement my research? It seems this topic does not get a lot of coverage, and I believe it would be interesting and beneficial to all your readers.


To our recollection, this is a topic that has not been discussed on GC, so our reader’s inquiry makes for a good jumping off point.

If you’re not familiar with initial public offerings, then you can get the wiki cliff notes here and the SEC’s own fast answers under “I.”

Form S-1 outlines (check out the gory details below) everything a company needs to submit in order to register its securities and there are plenty of ways a CPA can assist a smooth and pleasant experience. If you’re client has less than $25 million in revenues and isn’t registering more than $10 million in securities, Form SB-1 can be used in lieu of the big boy.

Generally, when a company files its S-1, the SEC usually has lots of questions about the financial statements and the accompanying information. The back and forth can be grueling and if your client isn’t organized or financially savvy the temptation to strangle someone and everyone can be high. But hey, if you manage to stick it out with them to the filing date, there’s usually a pretty good party and your client should be grateful for your service.

So at our reader’s request, anyone with recent (or not so recent) experience working on IPOs is invited to share their war stories – the good, the bad, etc.

S-1

Accounting News Roundup: EisnerAmper Partner: GM Balance Sheet ‘Stronger’ Ahead of IPO; KPMG Moves on From New Century, Countrywide; No Bookie Needed for Betting on Grades | 08.19.10

GM’s balance sheet draws praise ahead of IPO [MarketWatch]
“Peter Bible, partner-in-charge at accounting firm EisnerAmper LLP, said General Motors is now carrying a much stronger balance sheet than its predecessor, based on the company’s initial public offering filed late Wednesday. ‘Their debt-to-equity ratio looks handsome,’ Bible said in an interview. ‘This thing has gotten restructured quite a bit. GM’s health care liabilities have fallen significantly. As I look at the balance sheet, it is much healthier.’ ”

Move to converge just exported crisis [Re: The Auditors]
KPMG has put two major lawsuits behind them – Countrywide and New Century. One major difference between these two cases was that New Century had a bankruptcy examiner’s report while Countrywide did not.


Judge Denies Online Religious Group’s Bid for Church Status [WSJ]
A virtual “church” gets denied the whole “church” thing.

For the rich, ’tis better to give than wait [Reuters]
“With U.S. taxes almost guaranteed to rise next year, the rich have a rare opportunity to distribute some wealth and preserve their fortunes.

A weak economy has led to razor-thin interest rates and beaten-down valuations, which make giving less costly for and potentially more rewarding to heirs. Moreover, the U.S. government is widely expected to rein in a popular tax-avoidance scheme.

‘This is a golden era for shifting estates and giving assets away,’ said Bill Fleming, a financial planner for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Hartford, Connecticut. ‘If you have an estate plan, keep going: Uncle Sam soon will be back in your pocket.’ ”

Wager 101: Students Bet on Their Grades [WSJ]
“The website attracted wagers by 600 students from two colleges last year, said Mr. Gelbart and co-founder Steven Wolf, graduates of Queens College. This month, the site expanded to let students on 36 campuses—including Harvard, Stanford and Brigham Young University—place bets. More than 1,000 new bettors have signed on.

Lisa Lapin, a Stanford University spokeswoman, said school officials were ‘appalled’ when they learned Stanford students could place bets on their grades, adding, ‘the concept of betting on academic performance is contrary to academic development.’

Lance Miller, a finance major at the University of Pennsylvania, says the criticism misses the mark. Mr. Miller, with a GPA of 3.6, won about $80 on two $40 bets that he would earn A’s in business courses.

‘We’re acing classes to make money—isn’t that what they call a win-win?’ said Mr. Miller, 20.”

Facebook’s Places Feature Lets Users Share Their Whereabouts With Friends [Bloomberg]
“Services that help Web users share their whereabouts and find nearby friends could generate as much as $4.1 billion in annual ad sales by 2015, according to Borrell Associates. The features can help marketers more easily target customers — say, by reaching shoppers when they’re close to making a purchase.”

Accounting News Roundup: Big 4 Firms Looking to Cash in on Climate Change; GM Is Back from the Dead; The End of Fan and Fred? | 08.17.10

Barclays in Sanctions Bust [WSJ]
“Barclays PLC agreed to pay $298 million to settle charges by U.S. and New York prosecutors that the U.K. bank altered financial records for more than a decade to hide hundreds of millions of dollars into the U.S. from Cuba, Libya, Iran and other sanctioned countries.

Monday’s settlement agreement of criminal charges is an embarrassment for Barclays, which became a major player on Wall Street by snapping up the collapsed U.S. operations of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008 and has been trying to burnish the U.K. bank’s reputation on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean as a good corporate citizen.”

Cashing in on cleantech [The Guardian]
“While E&Y claims to be the first to set up a practice specifically for cleantech, in recent years PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, KPMG and E&Y have all launched dedicated practices for sustainability and climate change.

Steven Lang, who leads the cleantech division in the UK and Ireland, recently explained the attraction to Business Green: ‘We’ve seen major amounts of capital flowing into clean energy and clean technology and governments increasingly want to use the sector as a driver for international competitiveness.

‘The drivers are there for this to be a major growth area over the next five years.’ ”

GM IPO filing expected Tuesday [Reuters]
It’s like you never left, GM. “General Motors Co has completed the paperwork for an initial public offering, and timing of its filing with the U.S. securities regulators rests with the board of the top U.S. automaker, sources familiar with the process said on Monday.

The initial prospectus, expected to be for $100 million, is likely to be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, two people said, asking not to be named because the preparations for the IPO are private.”


IASB details recruitment process for Tweedie replacement [Accountancy Age]
“In a newly created section of the IASB website, the body has outlined the process it has followed since September 2009, as it searches to replace chairman Sir David Tweedie, who steps down in June 2011.

Among the documents is a letter sent to the European Commissioner’s office on 3 December, 2009, from Sir Bryan Nicholson, who has led the IASB’s recruitment process.”

Woman due in court for pie attack on US Sen. Levin [CT]
“A woman accused of hitting U.S. Sen. Carl Levin in the face with an apple pie during the Armed Services Committee chairman’s constituent meeting in northern Michigan is due in court.

Twenty-two-year-old Ahlam M. Mohsen of Coldwater will be arraigned Tuesday. She is being held without bond after being arrested Monday on a felony charge of stalking, and misdemeanor counts of assault and disorderly conduct”

Apple?

Facebook Partnership Is Proven by $3,000 Check, Lawyer Says [Bloomberg]
“The western New York man suing over claims he owns 84 percent of Facebook Inc. has a copy of a $3,000 cashier’s check his lawyer says is proof of a contract with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.

The purported 2003 check is made out to Zuckerberg and dated three days before Paul Ceglia claims the two men signed a contract, according to the attorney. That agreement, Ceglia said in court papers, entitles him to control of the world’s biggest social networking website.”

Conference To Debate Future Of Fannie, Freddie [NPR]
Euthanasia seems like a good option here.

Accounting News Roundup: Bush Tax Cuts May Still Have Life; FASB’s ‘Religious War’ Rages; Facebook Might Do an IPO Someday | 07.22.10

Bush Tax Cuts Roil Democrats [WSJ]
“Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) said in an interview Wednesday that Congress shouldn’t allow taxes on the wealthy to rise until the economy is on a sounder footing.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) said through a spokesman that he also supported extending all the expiring tax cuts for now, adding that he wanted to offset the impact on federal deficits as much as possible.

They are the second and third Senate Democrats to come out publicly in recent days in favor of extending all the tax breaks for the time being. Sen. Evan Bayh (D., Ind.) made similar comments last week.”

Madoff’s Ghost Still Haunts SEC [Washington Wire/WSJ]
In testimony earlier in the week, SEC Chair Mary Schapiro told a congressional committee that many of the people that investigated Bernie Madoff – 15 of 20 enforcement attorneys and 19 of 36 examination staffers – have left the Commission. However, that isn’t good enough for Rep. Bill Posey (R – FL).

“Republican Rep. Bill Posey of Florida –- home to many Madoff victims -– said he wants to know if those SEC employees ended up at other regulatory agencies, working for companies they were supposed to regulate, or retired with government pensions.

‘There’s a necessity to know where they went,; said Posey. ‘It’s like letting a pedophile slink out the door or change neighborhoods. We’re dealing with the same type of problem here.’

Schapiro strongly disagreed. ‘These aren’t bad people. In some cases they were people who were very junior and not adequately trained or supervised.’ In other cases, she said, they were pulled from one project to another.”

Despite the proclivities of some SEC employees, we haven’t seen anything warrant that particular label.


FASB in “religious war” to bring in fair value [Accountancy Age]
Lawrence Smith believes in fair value, you might say, in a fanatical sense. The FASB Member was quoted in AA, “Some people have advised us that we shouldn’t say this, but I’ll say it – fair value, to some of us, is almost like a religious war out there and we are trying to deal with that as best we can.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard a FASB member drop the relidge war rhetoric. Marc Siegel used similar language last summer, so there seems to be at least a smidge of seriousness behind .

Plus, at the rate things are going, the debate will soon reach Israel/Palestinian ignorability (word?) levels later this year.

Facebook IPO “when makes sense”, Zuckerberg tells ABC [Reuters]
That is, never.

Trust, but verify [MJS]
Starting now!

Accounting News Roundup: UBS Deal Hits a Snag; More Clifton Gunderson M&A Activity; Governance Prep Is Big Hurdle for Companies Going Public | 06.08.10

Primaries to Watch From Coast to Coast [WSJ]
There are eleven states that have primaries going on out there today so get out there and pull the lever for someone.

Swiss-US deal on UBS delayed by lower house snub [Reuters]
UBS still owes the IRS 4,450 names of clients as part of the deal that the U.S. reached with Switzerland re: tax evaders with UBS accounts. Small problem – the deal is hung up in Switzerland’s parliament, after the lower house of Switzerland’s parliament rejected it.

Why is this political jockeying even happening? Since the name naming is a big no-no in Swiss secrecy law, the parliamentary approval became necessary after a Swiss court blocked the transfer of the information in January. The names for retracted smackdown has an August deadline but if it is not met, the Swiss risk the the launch of a new tax case against UBS by the United States.


Clifton Gunderson Merges With St. Louis’ Humes & Barrington [Clifton Gunderson]
Clifton Gunderson has obtained St. Louis-based Humes & Barrington, in an deal effective June 1. The H&B staff of 53 will join the 7 partners in adding to the 1,900 professionals at CG. This acquisition was in addition to the purchase of Stockton Bates that we mentioned last week as well as the purchase of BKD’s Merrillville, IL location.

Corporate Governance is Top Challenge for Companies Considering an IPO, KPMG Survey Series Finds [KPMG PR]
Improving governance is biggest challenge as 64% of the companies surveyed looking to make a public offering listed it as a top challenge along with developing a robust business plan (40%) and preparation of financial track record (36%).

Jefferson Wells aligns with Baker Tilly Mexico [Milwaukee Business Journal]
Milwaukee-based Jefferson Wells has aligned with Baker Tilly Mexico to expand its operations in that country and the the Central America region. This marks the fifth expansion for JW in twelve months and is the first into Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

Accounting News Roundup: PwC Dealt a Blow on Penn. Healthcare Bankruptcy Ruling; Zipcar Going Public; Altria Gets Smoked by IRS | 06.02.10

PwC loses ruling on big Pa. healthcare bankruptcy [Reuters]
We’re a little late to the party on this one – holiday and all – but we’ll get you caught up. Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation (“AHERF”), a large Pittsburgh hospital system, sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1998 with over $1.3 billion in debt. Unsecured creditors of AHERF accused Coopers & Lybrand of “conspiring with AHERF officials in the 1996 and 1997 fiscal years to hide the increasingly dire financial health of the Pittsburgh-based system.”

In 2007, a District Court in ruled that the creditors could not recover any damages from PwC on behalf of AHERF due to “a legal doctrine governing cases of equal fault, concluding AHERF was at least as much at fault as PwC.”

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals finally got the case on their docket and unanimously overturned the ruling saying that PwC could be liable if they had “not dealt materially in good faith with the client-principal.” The Third Circuit also disagreed with the lower court’s finding that misstated financial statements could have a short-term benefit to AHERF, saying “‘a knowing, secretive, fraudulent misstatement of corporate financial information’ cannot benefit a company.”


Zipcar Files for a $75 Million I.P.O. [DealBook]
The car-sharing company announced yesterday that it has filed for a $75 million offering to pay off debt and pay for general expenses as it plans to expand its business in the U.S. and Britain. DealBook reports that the company, founded in 2000, has lost money every year and warned in its S-1 filing that it might not become profitable as it incurs significant expenses in the expansion.

Man accused of ‘bomb bag’ threat at IRS office [SF Chronicle]
Lawrence Rios was charged yesterday for allegedly threatening an IRS employee after he handed the woman a note that read “bomb bag” and patted his backpack, insinuating that he had more than trail mix in there, in August of last year. This occurred after the employee had been assisting him for 10 minutes. We’d hate to see how he reacts at the post office.

SEC Is Boosting Scrutiny of Offshore Accounting, Fagel Says [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
Shoddy accounting practices that were/are rampant in the U.S. – revenue recognition and outright fraud – have not been rooted out offshore, so the Commission is looking to tighten up the controls and practices of foreign subsidiaries. Marc Fagel, head of the SEC’s San Francisco office told Bloomberg, “They’re not doing that so much in San Jose, but they may have a Hong Kong office where they haven’t figured out they’re doing that, or that it’s a problem.” The San Fran office is looking to add a dozen attorneys and accountants to help with the Commission’s efforts.

Altria to pay $971 million in taxes, interest to IRS [Reuters]
The payment settles a dispute between the company (aka Philip Morris) and the Service over its 2000 to 2003 tax returns.