What is a contingent consideration liability?

contingent consideration

In it’s Q4 2020 earnings release AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) reported that it recorded a $4.7 billion increase in the contingent consideration liability for the drug Skyrizi. This expense wiped out ABBV’s net earnings for the quarter. Therefore, I decided to do some research to try to understand what a contingent consideration liability is.

What is a contingent consideration?

Contingent considerations are financial instruments employed in complex business transactions. Their purpose is to share risk associated with the transaction between buyers and sellers. A contingent consideration is an obligation of the buyer to transfer additional assets (cash, equity, physical assets) to the seller if future events occur or conditions are met.

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