Fair value basics
Camelback Investment Company
Camelback Investment Company (CIC) is a private company that invests in various financial and nonfinancial assets for its shareholders. Assets are measured at fair value at each reporting date so that the
shareholders will know what their underlying shares are worth, which facilitates sales of the limited number
of shares.
It is early January 2011, and as the junior accountant at CIC, you have been asked by the chief financial
officer (CFO) to work with the chief investment officer (CIO) to evaluate and determine the propriety of fair
values that the CIO is proposing for a number of investments as of December 31, 2010. In that regard, the
CFO asks you to challenge the valuation methodologies that the CIO has assigned to the various
investments to ensure they are in compliance with ASU 820 and IFRS 13.
The investments are as follows:
Marketable equity securities
CIC has an investment in 100,000 shares of common stock of a large public company whose stock is
traded on the NYSE. The stock is currently valued in the accounting records at $25.00 per share ($2.5
million), which was the value at the last measurement date of September 30, 2010. The CIO is proposing
to measure the fair value of the common stock at the bid price for the stock at the close of business on the
measurement date of December 31, 2010, which is $27.50 per share. This valuation approach is consistent
with what has been used in the past three years by management. Thus, the fair value is $2.75 million at
Private equity securities
CIC has an investment in 100,000 shares of common stock of a private company. There are no market
quotes with respect to the fair value of the common stock; however, the private company’s operations, size
and performance are similar to a company whose stock is traded on the NASDAQ. The CIO has taken
some of the similar company’s market metrics, such as the price/earnings ratio of the common stock, a
discounted earnings calculation and a few others, and has adjusted these metrics to reflect performance
that he believes is better and more accurate of the metrics with which to value the private company and
related investment. However, these revised metrics do not agree with the metrics of the similar public
company or other companies in this industry.
CIC has an investment in a 10-acre parcel of land that is located near downtown Los Angeles that has just
been remediated from an old oil spill. The carrying value of the land at September 30, 2010, was $1 million
per acre, or $10 million, and is the equivalent of the cost of the land plus the costs to remediate the oil spill.
The surrounding area consists of single-story warehouse facilities, which is consistent with the zoning of the
area. The CIO believes that the land can be used to construct either a commercial warehouse or industrial
manufacturing facility; the later requiring rezoning from the city. Recent similar sales of land within the area
have been approximately $800,000 per acre. The CIO is valuing the land at $1 million per acre as he
Fair value basics – case studies 1
© 2011 Ernst & Young Foundation (US). All Rights Reserved.

believes that with a rezoning and clever marketing, the land will sell for $1 million per acre in the future.
Further, he says that management has the intent and ability to hold the land for a reasonable period of time
and then sell it for $10 million. He thinks this is the highest and best use of the land.
CIC owns a group of 10 automobiles, previously used by the senior executives of CIC, that are currently for
sale. The automobiles are currently carried at $15,000 per auto for a total of $150,000. They have low
mileage and could be sold in either the retail market or the dealer market. The dealer market is an active
market and management could access that market the next day. Management has been told by a reputable
dealer that the autos could be sold for approximately $13,000 per auto. The retail market is slightly harder
to access and would take some time to dispose of the automobiles. Used car pricing guides put the sales
prices of the autos at approximately $15,500. The CIO is proposing to measure the fair value of the
automobiles at December 31, 2010, at $15,000, the current carrying amount, as he believes that through
orderly sales within the next two to three months the automobiles could be sold in the retail market for at
least $15,000 per auto.
Real estate
CIC has an investment in a condominium project that was completed on September 30, 2010. The carrying
amount of the condominium at that date was $25 million and reflected the cumulative investments that CIC
made to the developer. Through December 31, 2010, there have not been any sales of any of the
condominium units and the developer has just declared bankruptcy.
CIC has taken over the project, hired a management company to oversee the building and a
marketing/sales company to sell the individual units. The CIO hired Ace Number One (Ace) real estate
valuation and appraisal experts to measure the fair value of the project as of December 31, 2010. Ace
ended up valuing the condominium project at $18 million and their report considered a combined approach
of comparable sales figures for comparable condominium units as well as a discounted cash flow approach,
adjusted for the current economic conditions.
Ace acknowledged their understanding of the definition of fair value under ASC 820 and IFRS 13 as an exit
price and presented their impeccable qualifications. The CIO believes their valuation is overly conservative
and that given a reasonable period of time, 18 months, the marketing/sales company will be able to sell all
the units at only a 10% haircut to the total amount invested in the project. He is therefore proposing to
value the investment in the condominium project at $22.5 million ($25 million at 90%).
? For each of the above investments, determine if you agree or disagree with the CIO’s valuation

If you agree, state your reasons. Also, determine if there are other valuation approaches that could
be used.

If you disagree, state your reasons and suggest either a different approach or how you might
change the current approach and what, if any, adjustments should be made to the valuation.

? For each of the above investments, determine the classification according to the fair value hierarchy.

Fair value basics – case studies 2
© 2011 Ernst & Young Foundation (US). All Rights Reserved.