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Wal-Mart Stores Inc  (NYSE:WMT) Intangible Assets: \$18,204 Mil (As of Oct. 2017)

Intangible assets are defined as identifiable non-monetary assets that cannot be seen, touched or physically measured. Wal-Mart Stores Inc's intangible assets for the quarter that ended in Oct. 2017 was \$18,204 Mil.

Historical Data

* All numbers are in millions except for per share data and ratio. All numbers are in their local exchange's currency.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc Annual Data

 Jan08 Jan09 Jan10 Jan11 Jan12 Jan13 Jan14 Jan15 Jan16 Jan17 Intangible Assets 20,497.00 19,510.00 18,102.00 16,695.00 17,037.00

Wal-Mart Stores Inc Quarterly Data

 Jan13 Apr13 Jul13 Oct13 Jan14 Apr14 Jul14 Oct14 Jan15 Apr15 Jul15 Oct15 Jan16 Apr16 Jul16 Oct16 Jan17 Apr17 Jul17 Oct17 Intangible Assets 17,792.00 17,037.00 17,575.00 18,037.00 18,204.00

Calculation

Intangible assets are defined as identifiable non-monetary assets that cannot be seen, touched or physically measured. Examples of intangible assets include trade secrets, copyrights, patents, trademarks. If a company acquires assets at the prices above the book value, it may carry goodwill on its balance sheet. Goodwill reflects the difference between the price the company paid and the book value of the assets.

Explanation

If a company (company A) received a patent through their own work, though it has value, it does not show up on its balance sheet as an intangible asset. However, if company A sells this patent to company B, it will show up on company B's balance sheet as an intangible asset.

The same applies to brand names, trade secrets etc. For instance, Coca-Cola's brand is extremely valuable, but the brand does not appear on its balance sheet, because the brand was never acquired.

Some intangibles are amortized. Amortization is the depreciation of intangible assets.

Many intangibles are not amortized. They may still be written down when the company decides the asset is impaired.

Whenever you see an increase in goodwill over a number of years, you can assume it's because the company is out buying other businesses above book value. GOOD if buying businesses with durable competitive advantage.

If goodwill stays the same, the company when acquiring other companies is either paying less than book value or not acquiring. Businesses with moats never sell for less than book value.

Intangibles acquired are on balance sheet at fair value.

Internally developed brand names (Coke, Wrigleys, Band-Aid) however are not reflected on the balance sheet.

One of the reasons competitive advantage power can remain hidden for so long.

Be Aware

Companies may change the way intangible assets are amortized, and this will affect their reported earnings.

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