It is with immense joy & pleasure that we announce that Achille Ekeu, President and CEO of The Washington Valuation Group, has been appointed to the George Washington University School of Business Leadership Advisory Council. This appointment is effective November 6, 2021. Click here to see his page.

The George Washington University is a private federally chartered research university in Washington, D.C. Chartered in 1821 by the United States Congress. GWU is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia.

Beginning with just 20 students and six faculty members, GW has since become a global institution that attracts 27,000+ students from more than 135 countries, thousands of faculty and staff, and a worldwide community of 300,000+ living alumni. With access and proximity to influential institutions that span the Washington region, every generation of the GW community is bound together by an education that provides an unparalleled front-row seat to history.

The university's undergraduate and graduate schools include the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the Elliott School of International Affairs, the GWU School of Business, the School of Media and Public Affairs, the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, the GWU Law School and the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design., the Graduate School of Political Management, the School of Nursing, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the Milken Institute School of Public Health, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the College of Professional Studies.

GWU's main Foggy Bottom campus is located in the heart of Washington, D.C., with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank located on campus and the White House and the U.S. Department of State within blocks of campus. GWU hosts numerous research centers and institutes, including the National Security Archive and the Institute for International Economic Policy. GWU also has two satellite campuses: the Mount Vernon campus, located in D.C.'s Foxhall neighborhood, and the Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Loudoun County, Virginia.

GWU is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity". The university offers degree programs in seventy-one disciplines, enrolling around 11,000 undergraduate and 15,500 graduate students. GWU is home to extensive student life programs, a strong Greek culture, and over 450 other student organizations. The school's athletic teams, the George Washington Colonials, play in the NCAA Division I Atlantic 10 Conference. GWU also annually hosts numerous political events, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund's Annual Meetings.

The university's alumni, faculty, and affiliates include 16 foreign heads of state or government, 28 United States senators, 27 United States governors, 18 U.S. Cabinet members, five Nobel laureates, two Olympic medalists, two Academy Award winners, and a Golden Globe winner. GWU has over 1,100 active alumni in the U.S. Foreign Service and is one of the largest feeder schools for the diplomatic corps. Some of the most famous students include General Colin Powell, Senator Eric Cantor, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Harry Reid, and more. Click here for the GWU monumental alumni.

Thank You,

Achille Ekeu

President & CEO

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The President/CEO of The Washington Valuation Group, Achille Ekeu, has been invited to speak about Business Valuation and Exit Planning at Washington Community Investment Fund (WACIF) during a workshop series titled: Getting More Bang For Your Business's Buck.


In this workshop, you will learn how to prepare an effective exit strategy for the sale of a business without leaving any money on the table. You will also understand the importance of completing a business valuation at least five to ten years before a planned exit.


  • Many business owners have no exit strategy in place and may not know how to create an exit strategy. We will show you how to create one.

  • Many business owners don't understand what business valuation is and why it's critical for their exit strategy. We will explain to you what it is.

  • Many business owners don't know how to ensure their business is ready for transfer when the moment comes. We will show you what to do.


After this webinar, you will be able to:

  • Explain the different reasons to exit a business

  • Describe the exit options available to them

  • Describe the steps they need to take to transfer their business

  • Explain why the valuation of their business is critical when planning to exit

Who Should Attend This Event?

Existing or prospective business owners interested in business valuation and exit strategies.

Date: Wednesday, September 29th, 2021

Time: 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm on Zoom

Registration: Register Here

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Updated: Aug 11, 2021

In the long-running litigation between the estate of the late megastar Michael Jackson and the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Tax Court finally issued its opinion on the value of Jackson’s name and likeness, as well as the value of his interest in two music publishing assets. Overall, this much-anticipated decision is a major win for the Jackson estate.

From the time he was a child Michael Jackson was famous, and there were times in his life, testified his executor, when he was the most famous person in the world. There were certainly years when he was the most well-known popular-music star, and even after his death, there have been years when he was the world's highest-earning entertainer.

But there were also many years when he was more famous for his unusual behavior and not his unusual talent. And there were some years where his fame was turned infamous by serious accusations of the most noisome acts. We make no particular judgment about what Jackson did or is alleged to have done, but we must decide how what he did and is alleged to have done affected the value of what he left behind.

His Estate and the Commissioner agreed on the value of many of his assets, but continue to dispute the values of three intangible ones:

  • Jackson's image and likeness;

  • his interest in New Horizon Trust II, through which he held an interest in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, LLC; and

  • his interest in New Horizon Trust III, which contained Mijac Music, a music-publishing catalog that owned the copyrights to compositions that Jackson wrote or co-wrote, as well as compositions by other songwriters.

Facts of the Case

After Jackson died the Estate hired the accounting firm Crowe Horwath to prepare its return. Their work began with a long list of labor-intensive chores, as Jackson's various assets needed to be inventoried, photographed, valued, and insured. The chores became more arduous when they discovered that Jackson's Tohme-led team of advisers had kept no contemporaneous books and records in the last three years of his life. Kane, Jackson's last business manager, worked as a liaison between the Estate and the Crowe Horwath team to prepare the return, and recommended appraisers to value Jackson's interests in Sony/ATV and Mijac, as well as his image and likeness.

The Estate retained Moss Adams, a large accounting and consulting firm, to value Jackson's image and likeness and his interest in Mijac. Relying entirely on the income approach to valuation, Moss Adams valued Jackson's image and likeness at $2,105 and Mijac at $70,860,000.

To value Jackson's ownership interest in Sony/ATV, the Estate selected the Salter Group, an independent financial and strategic advisory firm that specializes in valuations. The Salter Group also chose to use only the income method, which led it to value Jackson's ownership interest in Sony/ATV at $0.

Using these valuations, the Estate, on its 2009 Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return, reported the value of:

  • Jackson's image and likeness at $2,105;

  • NHT II, which held Sony/ATV, at $0; and

  • NHT III, which held Mijac, at $2,207,351.

The Estate also reported Jackson's various other assets—the most significant among them including his Hayvenhurst home; MJJ Productions, Inc.; MJJ Ventures, Inc.; and his master recordings. Jackson was, when he died, the sole shareholder of MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures. MJJ Productions collected Jackson's mechanical royalties as a recording artist under an agreement with Sony Music, Inc., while MJJ Ventures collected Jackson's share of joint venture income under an agreement with Sony for the exploitation of Jackson's master recordings.

The IRS Audit

The Commissioner audited the Estate's tax return and in May 2013 issued a notice of deficiency that adjusted the Estate's reported values. We summarize it here:

              Item                        Adjustment

  Hayvenhurst real estate                 $1,425,000

  MJJ Ventures, Inc.                      67,393,780

  Share of artist mechanical rights
  under Jackson 5 master recordings,
  and master recordings                   34,299,095

  Miscellaneous property                  48,603,827

  Image and likeness                     434,261,895

  New Horizon Trust II                   469,005,086

  New Horizon Trust III                   58,478,593

  Debts                                   12,252,591

  Limitations to Schs. J & K               (713,436)

   Total                               1,125,006,431

This adjusted valuation led the Commissioner to conclude that the Estate had underpaid Jackson's estate tax by a shade more than $500 million. The Commissioner also determined that some of the valuations were so far off that he tacked on penalties of nearly $200 million. The Estate timely petitioned. During the trial, neither the Commissioner nor the Estate entered any evidence into the record to show that the initial determination of these penalties was personally approved in writing by the immediate supervisor of the individual making the determination. The Commissioner moved after trial to reopen the record with new evidence to try to show that the initial determination of penalties was personally approved in writing by the immediate supervisor of the individual making the determination. The Court denied that motion.

The IRS's Valuation Expert's opinion of value are the following:

  • Jackson's image and likeness at $161 million;

  • NHT II, which held Sony/ATV, at $206 million; and

  • NHT III, which held Mijac, at $114 million.

In the end, here are the tax court's decisions: