Financial Statement Comparability and the Efficiency of Acquisition Decisions
55 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2012 Last revised: 23 Mar 2018
Date Written: July 1, 2016
This study examines whether acquirers make better acquisition decisions when target firms’ financial statements exhibit greater comparability with industry peer firms. We predict and find that acquirers make more profitable acquisition decisions when target firms’ financial statements are more comparable — as evidenced by higher merger announcement returns, higher acquisition synergies, and better future operating performance. We also find that post-acquisition goodwill impairments and post-acquisition divestitures are less likely when target firms’ financial statements are more comparable. Finally, we find that acquirers benefit most from comparability when acquirers’ ex-ante information asymmetry is higher, acquirers operate in volatile operating environments, and management knows relatively less about the target. In total, our evidence suggests targets’ financial statement comparability helps acquirers make better acquisition-investment decisions and fosters more efficient capital allocation.
Keywords: Comparability, Earnings Attributes, Mergers, Acquisitions, Capital Allocation
JEL Classification: M40, M41, M49, G34, G31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation