Newark Morning Ledger Co. v. United States, 507 U.S. 546, 25 (1993)

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570

NEWARK MORNING LEDGER CO. v. UNITED STATES

Opinion of the Court

tics or value, to the paid subscribers of the Booth newspapers as of May 31, 1977. . . . The cost of generating such marginal subscribers would not reflect the fair market value of the existing subscribers of the Booth newspapers as of May 31, 1977." 734 F. Supp., at 181.

Because it continued to insist that petitioner had used the wrong valuation methodology, the Government failed to offer any evidence to challenge the accuracy of petitioner's application of the "income approach." The District Court found that the aggregate fair market value of the "paid subscribers" of the Booth newspapers as of May 31, 1977—i. e., "the price at which the asset would change hands between a hypothetical willing buyer and willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell, both parties having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts," id., at 185—was $67,773,000, with a corresponding adjusted income tax basis of $71,201,395. Petitioner was entitled to depreciate this adjusted basis using a straight-line method over the stipulated useful lives.

VI

Petitioner has borne successfully its substantial burden of proving that "paid subscribers" constitutes an intangible asset with an ascertainable value and a limited useful life, the duration of which can be ascertained with reasonable accuracy. It has proved that the asset is not self-regenerating but rather wastes as the finite number of component subscriptions are canceled over a reasonably predictable period of time. The relationship this asset may have to the expectancy of continued patronage is irrelevant, for it satisfies all the necessary conditions to qualify for the depreciation allowance under 167 of the Code.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

It is so ordered.

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