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IFRS 3: Business combinations

The accounting standard IFRS 3 sets out the definitions and requirements for information to be given by entities about business combinations and their effects. Find articles, books and online resources providing quick links to the standard, summaries, guidance and news of recent developments.

What's on this page?

  • Full-text standard
  • Summaries
  • Guidance and support from ICAEW
  • IASB news
  • Guides
  • Online articles
  • Articles and books from the Library

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Full-text standard

The IFRS Foundation and International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) provides free access to the consolidated unaccompanied international accounting standards for the current year through its website; you will need to register to gain access.

These standards are the unaccompanied versions and do not include any additional content that accompanies the full IAS and IFRS such as illustrative examples, implementation guidance and bases for conclusions.


Business Combinations
Project information from the IASB, including a summary of changes to the IFRSs and a section on remaining differences in other IFRSs and US GAAP.

IFRS 3 – Business Combinations
Timeline and summary from Deloitte IAS Plus, with information on related interpretations and amendments under consideration.

Business combinations
Topic summary provided by PwC, giving latest developments and overview, a summary of the standard and links to relevant resources.

ICAEW guidance and support

Financial Reporting Faculty
The faculty offers assistance and support in IFRS, UK GAAP and other aspects of business reporting. It offers technical briefings and factsheets, IFRS and UK GAAP standards-trackers, plus practical advice from industry experts and working accountants.

IASB news

IASB concludes 2010–2012 and 2011–2013 Annual Improvements Cycles
Project update issued by the IASB on 12 December 2013 announcing amendments affecting IFRS 1, IFRS 2, IFRS 3, IFRS 8, IFRS 13, IAS 16, IAS 24, IAS 38 and IAS 40.

IASB completes the second phase of the business combinations project
Press release issued on 10 January 2008.

Guides and publications

Some guides and comparisons that we link to may pre-date the latest amendments to this standard. While these resources contain useful information, please treat them with appropriate caution.

Distinguishing a business from an asset or a group of assets (pharmaceutical and life sciences industry)
In-depth guide from PwC, published in March 2015, discussing whether an acquisition, investment or license should be accounted for as a business combination or an asset acquisition. The guide includes several illustrative examples.

Business combinations – determining what a business is under IFRS 3 (2008)
Practical guide published by PwC in May 2011 discussing implementation challenges of the revised standard.

IFRS Practice Issues: Replacement of a share-based payment in a business combination
KPMG newsletter looking at accounting for share-based payment replacement awards and unreplaced awards, published May 2010.

IFRS 3 and FASB 141
Article originally published in the Technical Matters column of Financial Management, April 2008 edition, which examines changes to the FASB's and IASB's standards on business combinations and at future convergence.

IFRS 3 (Revised): impact on earnings: the crucial Q&A for decision-makers
Guide published by PwC in March 2008 which looks at the revised version of IFRS 3 issued in January 2008. It describes some of the impacts on earnings that might arise when using this standard to account for mergers and acquisitions. Subjects are addressed in a question-and-answer format.

IFRS 3: Dark Matter
Article reporting on new research which argues that ‘IFRS 3 has done nothing to improve transparency’ originally published in Corporate Financier in March 2007.

M&A needs goodwill from IFRS
Article from Financial Director, published 22 February 2007, giving a summary of the findings from a Citigroup Investment Research report on mergers and acquisitions within IFRS.

The Failure of IFRS 3
Article which argues that the benefits from implementing IFRS 3 have been minimal, following a failure to apply IFRS 3 properly and the inadequate explanation of the limitations of IFRS 3 in annual reports. The article was originally published in Intellectual Asset Management in January 2007.

Inadequate IFRS 3
Article on the results of a study on the new standard following its first year of adoption. The article (published in January 2007) explains the reasons for inadequate reporting, gives examples of inadequate reporting and defines goodwill.

IFRS 3: The First Year
Report from Intangible Business on the implementation of IFRS 3 by FTSE 100 companies following its first year of adoption. The authors of the report concluded that the majority of UK listed companies has failed to apply IFRS 3 correctly.

Practical Application of IFRS3: Business Combinations
Article (published 20 September 2006) aiming to explain both the benefit and the difficult concepts contained in IFRS3. It highlights the differences between UKGAAP and IFRS3 regarding recognition of intangible assets, definition of fair value of stocks, amortisation of goodwill, and impairment testing of goodwill. It also tackles the other changes that have been introduced, for example, in merger accounting, deferred tax and negative goodwill.

Retrospective IFRS3
Article and helpsheet published by Intangible Business looking at the potential benefits of retrospective adoption of IFRS 3.

Accounting for Intangible Assets and Goodwill under International Financial Reporting Standards
Factsheet published by brand valuation consultancy Intangible Business.

Implications of the new international accounting standards for intellectual property owners
Report from brand valuation consultancy Brand-Finance on IFRS 3.

Business Combinations Survey
A Fédération des Experts Comptables Européens (FEE) report published in March 2002. The report aimed to provide ‘an overview of methods of accounting for business combinations have been used in the consolidated financial statements of major European companies in 1999 and 2000 in order to be able to contribute to the discussion on accounting methods for business combinations’.

IFRS 3 Implementation
A selection of articles, case studies and reports by brand valuation consultancy Intangible Business.

Online articles

The library provides access to a range of articles in full text from leading business, finance and management journals. Access to articles is provided to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users subject to suppliers' terms of use.

Articles are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users.

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans. You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post, fax or email through our document supply service.

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