Target Financial Reporting Quality and M&A Deals that Go Bust

Posted: 26 Apr 2012

See all articles by Hollis Ashbaugh Skaife

Hollis Ashbaugh Skaife

Graduate School of Management, UC-Davis

Daniel Wangerin

Wisconsin School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 24, 2012


This study investigates the role of financial reporting quality in merger and acquisition (M&A) deals that are ultimately terminated, (i.e., go bust). If a target is a U.S. publicly-traded company, an acquirer’s initial assessment of the potential benefits associated with the acquisition of the company is based on publicly available information. Generally, the acquirer obtains limited private information from the target prior to announcing the deal, but engages in transactional due diligence after signing the acquisition agreement to affirm that the financial reporting warranties made by the target are accurate. We construct a low quality financial reporting score based on measures prior research identifies as being associated with less-reliable, less-relevant, and less precise financial reporting. We find that acquirers offer higher premiums for targets with low quality financial reporting. However, we also find that low quality financial reporting increases the likelihood of deal renegotiation, and contributes to the probability of deals going bust. We document that failed targets are more likely to restate their financial statements after the announcement of the deal, supporting our conjecture that low quality financial reporting contributes to deals being terminated. Our research provides new insights into the capital market consequences of financial reporting quality and identifies a new determinant of financial statement restatements.

Keywords: Mergers and acquisitions, Financial reporting quality, Due diligence, Restatements

JEL Classification: G34, L14, M41, D82

Suggested Citation

Skaife, Hollis Ashbaugh and Wangerin, Daniel D., Target Financial Reporting Quality and M&A Deals that Go Bust (April 24, 2012). Contemporary Accounting Research, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Hollis Ashbaugh Skaife

Graduate School of Management, UC-Davis ( email )

Graduate School of Management
1 Shields Ave
Davis, CA 95616
United States

Daniel D. Wangerin (Contact Author)

Wisconsin School of Business ( email )

975 University Avenue
4104 Grainger Hall
Madison, WI 53706
United States

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