Purchase price: definition, examples and formulas (2023)

Successful transactions end inPurchase prices— a value agreed by two or more parties. The transaction may or may not involve negotiation, but it always involves an agreed price.

CommercialTransactions are generally straightforward: one person sells a product, service, or asset and another person buys it at face value. For example, when you buy a t-shirt on Amazon, the purchase price is the posted ticket for the item.

But not all transactions are so simple, nor are all purchase prices.

not company caseacquisitionsFor example, the purchase price may be paid in non-monetary terms. Imagine a $1,000,000 purchase that one buyer pays forpart in cash and the rest in shares of the company.

In cases like this, it is more difficult to determine theeffectivepurchase price (also known as the actual cash value after all non-monetary consideration has been settled). After all, what is the current value of the shares? This must be calculated to determine the purchase price at leastto a reasonable degree.

This articledefine the purchase price, discuss nuances like the one above, discuss different formulas for calculating it, and discuss common misconceptions.



The concept of "purchase price" may seem so simple that it needs no explanation. However, the reality is that it can be tricky with payment types and ownership percentage.

In short, a purchase price is the economic value, generally defined in fiat currency at a given time, for which a buyer purchases a product, service, or asset. The compensation paid for this amount can be in fiat currency or another currency, such as services such as payment or benefits in kind.

Using this definition, we can identify 3 main criteria:

  • Currency.The value of the purchase price is usuallydefinedin fiat currency (ie USD, EUR, GBP).
  • Pay. Payment can be in fiat currency or another form of remuneration, such as services. The combination of payments is called “total consideration”.
  • Tempo. The value of fiat currency is only valid at any given time. As time passes, market conditions such as inflation and competition can change the value of the purchase price.


We'll see detailed examples throughout the article, but here are some high-level ones:

  • Price of jeans in department stores
  • Price of a Product on Amazon
  • Budget for a plumber to fix a sink
  • Wholesale Product Pricing for Walmart
  • Budget of consultants to analyze the performance of the company
  • Company valuation by share price
  • Share price on a secondary exchange

Purchase Price in Accounting

Purchase prices are extremely important in accounting. When a company purchases an asset, the purchase price is generally considered to be the amount placed on the balance sheet.

For example, shares purchased for $100 become $100 as an asset.

Or in the case ofpermanent asset, the purchase price becomes the asset's initial book value on the balance sheet, which is then depreciated in profit or loss over the asset's useful life.

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The importance of the purchase price in accountingaccurate documentationit is extremely important.

In rare cases, such as an asset purchased with shares, the exact amount of the total consideration must be valued in the currency of the company. This can be done using a technique to assess future cash receipts to date or using a fair market value (discussed at the end of the article).

Purchase Price and Goodwill in Accounting

When a company buys another company, the purchase price may give rise to a special accounting item calledgoodwill.

If the company is bought for more thanliquid fair market valueofallits assets, the excess is called goodwill. On the balance sheet, this means that there is a debit to both the “shares in affiliates” asset account and the “goodwill” asset account.

Fair market value, simply put, is the amount a reasonable buyer would pay for assets on the open market,except that he/she is not subject to time restrictions or other undue pressures. There are several ways to perform this calculation, but the simplest is to look atrecent sale prices of similar assets in the market.

In goodwill purchase scenarios, the buyer must record the difference between the fair market value and the purchase price asgoodwill - which is a different intangible asset.

And that goodwill must be reassessed every year to ensure it reflects reality, a time-consuming process for accountants. Purchase price matters!

Purchase Price as a Legal Term

Unless you buy consumer products in a physical store, most purchases are subject to (1) a contract and (2) legislation, the latter of which takes precedence. And in these contracts a purchase price is always defined.

It is important to understand how the purchase price is used in a purchase agreement.On the one hand, it identifies the obligation that the buyer has towards the seller and vice versa.

On the other hand, it is used as a catalyst or condition for other obligations in a contract.

For example, contracts often stipulate that only upon receipt of payment does the seller transfer ownership of the item being sold.

Since the contract was written to be specific, any amount less or more than the purchase price would be a breach of contract.

In some cases, the offers failed due to a mismatch in the purchase price. I've seen it happen professionally myself.

Two ways the purchase priceI couldact as a catalyst include:

  • Trigger termination of contract
  • Claim damages owed to the counterparty for time spent under false pretenses, also known asdamages

purchase price formula

There are a few different purchase price formulas and you should know them all. Because? Because you may not always have access to the purchase price number itself.

Conversely, in some cases you may only know the total costs and margin of agroupof products. The good news is that with the number of units we can always arrive at the purchase price, both per unit and per set of units.

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Purchase price: definition, examples and formulas (1)

The purchase price formula is Purchase Price = Cost Price + Margin. We can also write the formula (Purchase Price*Units) = (Cost Price*Units) + (Margin*Units) which represents the total purchase price of all units sold in a period.

Purchase price: definition, examples and formulas (2)

It can also be written as Total Purchase Price = Units * (Product Cost + Product Margin)

Purchase price: definition, examples and formulas (3)

How to calculate the purchase price

Let's look at two examples to illustrate how to use these formulas.

Imagine that you read about a business where the cost of the product is $100 and the desired margin is 20%. Therefore, the margin value is $20 ($100 * 20%). Using our formula,the purchase price is $120.

Now imagine a scenario where you have partialfinancial statementsYou know that the total cost of units sold is $250,000 and you know that the margin per unit is 15%. He also knows that the number of units purchased was 350, but he only sold 250.

I would first identify the unit values. Unit cost is approximately $714 ($250,000 / 350). You know the margin is $107 ($714 * 15%). Now just add the values ​​and multiply by the number of units sold (250).The purchase price per unit is $821 and the total purchase price is $205,250.

Factors to consider in the purchase price

Now that we have an idea of ​​what the purchase price represents in practice and accounting, let's look at the common factors to consider. Knowing this will help you deepen your understanding. There is a section below on each of these topics:

  • Purchase price vs valuation price
  • purchase price x sale price
  • Purchase price vs. loan value
  • tax considerations
  • Payments in Foreign Currency
  • Future payments and discounted cash flows (revenue share, stock compensation)
  • accumulations
  • Differently

Purchase price vs valuation price

In non-commercial transactions, such as business acquisitions, it is not uncommon for buyers to acquire only part of a business. When a company has more than one shareholder, then each shareholder is apartialowner.

In an equity transaction, therefore, it is very important to differentiate between the valuation price and the purchase price.The valuation price is the total value of the company, while the purchase price is the percentage of ownership, determined by the total number of shares, that is being sold.

For example, imagine a company is valued at $1,000,000 and is made up of 20,000 shares, or $50 per share. There is currently one shareholder, and he sells a 20% stake in the company for 4,000 shares. Buyer pays $200,000 (4,000 * $50).The purchase price is $50 per unit, or $200,000 total, and the appraisal is $1,000,000.

Keep this in mind because it's easy to forget in practice:evaluation ≠ purchase price!

purchase price x sale price

The difference between the sale price and the purchase price is a matter of time.The sale price is the initial tag a seller puts on a product, while the purchase price is the amount the product ultimately sells for.

For example, when I sold my first car,the sale price was $2,000Because that's what I put it in for (it was a very, very old car). But the buyer negotiated to buy it for $1,500, which became thepurchase price.

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In capital markets, there is a related concept calledpurchase price x sale price.The purchase price and the sale price of a security are different in that the sale price is the indicated amount and the offer price is the indicated amount plus brokerage fees.

Purchase price vs. loan value

The purchase price and the loan amount often appear together in the context ofhouse purchase. In fact, they are present.each time the debt is used to make a purchase.

A loan amount is the designated portion of a purchase price financed by a loan.The purchase price is the same whether or not the buyer uses a loan to make the purchase, but a loan will improve the buyer's short-term liquidity.

For example, imagine a house valued at $300,000. You want to buy 100%, but you only have $50,000 in cash. You will borrow $250,000 to cover the cash purchase price of $300,000. In this case, the purchase price is $300,000 and the loan amount is $50,000.

The purchase price and the loan amount may be the same amount.When buying a car, for example, you would probably take out a loan for the full purchase price.. However, as you repay the loan, thethe loan amount will be less than the purchase price.

Purchase price is before tax

When a seller closes a deal and makes a profit, they must report that profit as taxable income (not always, but exceptions to capital gains are beyond the scope of this article).

In fact, in a corporate context, all assets have atax base, which indicates how they should be taxed over time.

As a seller, it's important to remember that the value realized in a sale is not just the purchase price, but the net proceeds from the asset.

In some places, taxes can reduce 20% of income. In other places, like Luxembourg, where I started my career, an asset sold after 6 months incurs 0% capital gains tax.

Future payments and discounted cash flows

Another important point istempopayment. B2B companies have long implemented installment payments. And with the introduction of companies like Splitit and Klarna, even providers of consumer products can allow buyers to pay in installments.

But due totime value of money, money received in the future is intrinsically worth less than money received today. Because? Because money can be invested if received today, which means higher returns than if received in the future.

This is a critical point around the purchase price. If a purchase price is established today and the buyer pays on time,so the present value of these payments is less than the purchase price!

Although most people are unaware of the time value of money in a sale,Accountants are not authorized to. They must show the fair value of a purchase, and fair value will always consider the time value of money. Let's see an example.

discounted cash flow example

Imagine that a manufacturing company sells steel bars to a buyer. The manufacturer agrees to accept payment in 3 installments over three years, since the amount is very high and the seller has liquidity. The purchase price is set at $650,000,000.

An initial payment of $450,000,000 must be made upfront and the remainder is divided into two payments: the first on closing day + 1 year and the second on closing day + 2 years. The closing date is December 31, 2021.

Now imagine that with the $2M due on the closing date, the seller could have invested in US Treasuries with 1 and 2 year maturities. 1-year notes have aharvestof 0.07%, and the 2-year note has a yield of 0.22%, both paid annually.

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This means that the investor can make$70 millionin the first installment investing today, and$440kin the second installment, for a total of$508 millionif invested today

However, since you won't have the money today, you are "losing" that value. That's why we discount the futurecash flow. This is what the set looks like:

Purchase price: definition, examples and formulas (4)

While a seller may choose to ignore this "loss," accountants will actually need to record the sale at $649 million, since that is fair market value.In other words, the purchase price is time sensitive and late payments can change it. Some don't care, but accountants do.

Cumulative purchase price

A quick note on provisions. In general, accrual simply means that a service was provided, but no money was exchanged.

A cumulative purchase price occurs when a seller delivers the good to the buyer at an agreed price and then collects the money. This usually happens when the buyer wants to inspect the property before transferring the money.

deferred purchase price

A deferred purchase price is the opposite of an accumulation. The buyer sends the money before the goods are delivered. This usually happens when the good is high risk, such as precious jewelry, and even the transport requires some incentive from the seller.

Purchase price in foreign currency

The value of a product purchased in foreign currency can be complicated for both companies and individuals. Buyers and sellers must record the value of a sale in their country of origin, using the local currency. But how should they deal with him?exchange rate?


The buyer who purchases a product valued in foreign currency must initially record the value at the exchange rate on the closing date.

If the purchase isaccumulated, so you should record the amount on the day of delivery, and then adjust your books for any changes once payment is made.

If the purchase isdeferred, then the buyer must record the amount on the day of payment, then adjust their books once payment is made.

Purchase price: definition, examples and formulas (5)


A seller who sells a product valued in a foreign currency (very rare) must record the value in the currency of its home country at the closing day exchange rate.

If the purchase isaccumulated, you must record the value on the day of delivery and adjust it upon receipt of payment.

If the purchase isdeferred, then the seller must record the sale at the exchange rate on the day of payment and adjust when the product is delivered.

Purchase price: definition, examples and formulas (6)
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