China: 海外投资系列之并购定价机制

Last Updated: 26 March 2019
Article by Harrison Jia
Most Read Contributor in China, March 2019

在海外并购交易中,定价机制常常是谈判的核心,也是并购交易文本中需要财务团队、律师团队、税务团队等着重确认的交易要素之一。一般而言,常见的并购定价机制有两种:交割后价格调整机制(Post-closingPrice Adjustment Mechanism)和锁箱机制(LockedBox Mechanism)。在本团队近期服务的一个中国企业收购荷兰标的公司的跨境并购项目中,其定价机制即涉及这两种并购定价机制的转换。

一、交割后价格调整机制

交割后价格调整机制是跨境并购中通常使用的定价机制[1]。在该机制中,有两个重要的日期:股份购买协议("SPA")签署日和交割日。交易双方首先在SPA签署日确定标的公司的企业价值(EnterpriseValue),然后在交割后通过"实际现金、负债和营运资本(actualCash, Debt, Working Capital)"确定股权价值(EquityValue)[2]。

具体而言,在交易中如果采用交割后价格调整机制,交易双方需要在交易文本中对以下几个要素进行确定:

a.SPA签署日确定的企业价值:企业价值通常根据交易双方共同同意的估值方式计算而得;

b.股权价值:股权价值是买方购买相关股份的实际对价,即购买价格(PurchaserPrice)(为方便起见,假设买方从卖方购买标的公司的100%的股份)。一般股权价值由企业价值以及交割日当日的实际现金、负债和营运资本计算而来;

c.初始购买价格(InitialPurchase Price):如上述所言,股权价值是由企业价值根据交割日的实际现金、负债和营运资本得来,但在实践中,卖方无法在交割日当日提供标的公司的资产负债表,因此无法在交割日确认交割日当天的实际现金、负债和营运资本,从而无法确定实际购买价格。为解决此问题,常见的作法是交易双方在交割日前对交割日当日的的现金、负债以及营运资本进行估值,由企业价值和此估值获得初始购买价格,并由买方在交割时以初始购买价格进行支付;

d.最终购买价格(FinalPurchasePrice):在交割发生后的一段时间,交易双方可确认标的公司截至到交割日当日的资产负债表以及其他相关财务信息,统称为交割时账目(ClosingAccounts),根据交割时账目与初始购买价格中的相关估值进行比对调整,计算出最终购买价格。

交割后交割调整机制的主要流程如下图:

基于上述对交割后价格调整机制的简要介绍,我们可以总结该机制主要有以下几个特征:

a.更能准确反映初始估值日与交割日之间标的公司的价值变化[3]:这是由于交割后价格调整机制会考虑交割后调整,使得该机制下的股权价值直接反映标的公司在交割时的财务能力;

b.对买方友好:这是因为在交割时标的公司的经济风险和收益才转移给买方,且买方可以控制交割后调整的程序;

c.交割后调整复杂、耗时并且花费大:交易双方会围绕交割后调整进行很长时间的谈判,以确定交割后调整的内容、调整程序、适用的会计准则以及可能引起的争议的解决机制。

二、锁箱机制

锁箱机制是并购交易中另一种常见的定价机制。在锁箱机制中,有三个重要的日期:锁箱日期(LockedBox Date)、SPA签署日以及交割日。具体而言,交易双方在SPA签署日确定标的公司的固定股权价值(FixedEquity Value)。该固定股权价值由双方约定的锁箱日(LockedBox Date)的资产负债表("锁箱资产负债表")(LockedBox Balance Sheet)计算得来,且在SPA签署日进行固定,并不在交割后进行任何调整。

由于在锁箱机制中不存在交割后调整[4],同时标的公司的经济风险和利益在锁箱日便转移给买方,而股份的所有权在交割日才归属于买方,因此买方需要通过价值减损(Leakage)的约定寻求保护。价值减损是指在锁箱日和交割日之间卖方对标的公司进行的价值抽取行为或活动。允许的价值减损(PermittedLeakage)是双方在SPA签署日同意的卖方可进行价值抽取的项目,发生允许的价值减损并不会导致购买价格的减少或触发卖方对陈述/保证的承诺违约。未经允许的价值减损(UnpermittedLeakage)一般包括标的公司向卖方支付的管理费、以低于市场价向卖方或其关联方转让标的公司的资产、标的公司对卖方或其关联方的债务免除等等。如在锁箱日和交割日之间发生未经允许的价值减损,则卖方需要向买方赔偿价值减损的部分。

锁箱机制的核心在于在锁箱日将标的公司的价值锁定,在交割后无需对购买价格进行调整。对于交易双方而言,该机制主要有以下几个特征:

a.节约成本和时间:这是因为此机制不涉及交割后调整,因此不涉及双方对交割后调整的谈判和成本的花费,这对双方而言都是优势;

b.简化SPA协议:采用锁箱机制的SPA无需对交割后调整的相关内容(例如:调整项的约定、双方对账目的核实、适用的会计准则、争议解决等)进行约定;

c.购买价格的确定性:对于卖方而言,交割后价格调整机制可能会在交割后带来购买价格的减少,而锁箱机制避免了这一问题;对于买方而言,交割后价格调整机制可能产生股权价值超过初始企业价值从而需要买方进行额外注资,但在锁箱机制下则买方无需有此顾虑;

d.对卖方友好:竞标式投标中,锁箱机制可以帮助卖方对买方出价进行直观比对,同时锁箱机制下,标的公司的经济风险和利益在锁箱日便转移给买方,卖方无需承担自锁箱日至交割日期间的风险。换言之,在锁箱日至交割日期间,标的公司仍由卖方的管理层进行经营,但此时经济风险已转嫁给买方,即买方承担在此期间标的公司经营状况下行的风险;

e.对买方的保护较弱:买方仅能通过价值减损、卖方保证、赔偿条款等约定获得保护,因此在谈判中买方需要对此类条款进行严密思考并进行详细约定,例如买方应当确保在SPA中约定卖方应在锁箱日至交割日期间按照约定的方式继续经营标的公司,并约定买方充足的知情权;

f.购买价格可能无法准确反映交割时标的公司的财务状况。

三、锁箱机制与盈余机制(Earn-out)的结合使用

锁箱机制与交割后价格调整机制的主要区别之一在于是否存在交割后的价格调整。在采用锁箱机制的并购交易中,买方最大的顾虑之一是买方支付的对价(购买价格)无法准确反映交割时标的公司的价值,因此,为安抚买方的此顾虑,在某些交易中双方会采用锁箱机制与盈余机制结合的方式进行定价。

盈余机制是对买卖双方估值差距之间的一种解决方案[5]。一般而言,双方约定只有在交割后达到约定的经济绩效或非经济绩效,卖方才有权获得剩余部分购买价格或额外的补偿。经济绩效可能是标的公司的营收、EBITDA、EBIT、净利润等;非经济绩效可能是客户量、产品获得批准等。盈余机制的最大特点在于,即使标的公司的经济风险和利益已经转移,卖方仍应承担交割后标的公司的经营风险或享受相关收益。

将锁箱机制与盈余机制结合,通过盈余机制要求卖方仍承担一定比例的经营风险,能够部分降低买方的风险。在此次本团队服务的并购交易中,买卖双方采用锁箱机制,但约定在交割时买方仅支付一定比例的购买价格,剩余部分在盈余期(Earn-outPeriod)结束后根据标的公司的经营状况进行调整之后再支付给卖方。利用这种方式,能够在卖方基于锁箱机制在锁箱日将标的公司的风险转移给买方后,仍要求卖方部分"承担"风险,以此部分解决买方在锁箱机制下的顾虑。

通过对并购交易中的常见的两种定价机制进行简要介绍和对比,我们可以看出不同机制对交易双方的利弊。当然,交易双方应结合交易的性质、双方的需求、双方的谈判地位、操作便利性等选择合适的定价机制。

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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