The Talbots, Inc., And Subsidiaries: Accounting For Goodwill Case Study Solutions


The Talbots, Inc. is a well-known women’s clothing retailer that operated across the United States. The company’s significant growth and success over the years were mainly attributed to its excellent management, marketing strategies, and the acquisition of J. Jill Group. However, Talbots faced some accounting challenges regarding the accounting treatment of goodwill after its acquisition of J. Jill Group. This case study will analyze the accounting issue and provide recommendations on how to resolve the issue.

Case Issue:

The main accounting issue facing Talbots is the accounting treatment of goodwill arising from the acquisition of J. Jill Group. Talbots paid $517 million for the acquisition, with $350 million attributed to goodwill. The company’s management must determine the appropriate accounting treatment for the goodwill, given the requirements of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

Case Analysis:

According to GAAP, goodwill must be tested for impairment at least once every year or when circumstances indicate that the goodwill’s value may be impaired. Impairment occurs when the fair value of an asset or reporting unit falls below its carrying amount. Talbots management must determine the value of J. Jill Group and compare it to the goodwill’s carrying amount to determine if there is any impairment.

There are two approaches to testing for goodwill impairment. The first approach involves comparing the fair value of the reporting unit to its carrying value. The second approach involves comparing the fair value of goodwill to its carrying value. Talbots used the second approach to test for impairment of its goodwill.

To determine the fair value of goodwill, Talbots used a discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis. The DCF analysis involved forecasting the expected cash flows from J. Jill Group and discounting them to their present value using a discount rate that reflected the risks associated with J. Jill Group. Based on the DCF analysis, Talbots concluded that the fair value of goodwill was $297 million, which is less than its carrying value of $350 million. As a result, Talbots management determined that there was an impairment of goodwill.

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Conclusion and Recommendations:

Based on the case analysis, it is clear that Talbots must recognize the impairment loss in its financial statements. The impairment loss would reduce Talbots’ net income for the year, leading to a decrease in earnings per share. To mitigate the negative impact of the impairment loss on the company’s financial position, Talbots’ management should consider taking the following actions:

  • Conduct a thorough review of the assumptions used in the DCF analysis to determine if they are reasonable and accurate.
  • Consider the possibility of reversing some of the impairment loss if J. Jill Group’s performance improves in the future.
  • Communicate with investors and other stakeholders about the impairment loss, its impact on the company’s financial position, and the steps taken to address the issue.

In conclusion, Talbots’ management must ensure that its accounting treatment of goodwill complies with GAAP requirements. By taking the recommended actions, the company can mitigate the negative impact of the impairment loss on its financial position and reassure investors and stakeholders about its commitment to sound accounting practices.

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