Public Peers, Accounting Comparability, and Value Relevance of Private Firms’ Financial Reporting
Review of Accounting Studies, forthcoming
52 Pages Posted: 8 May 2020 Last revised: 25 Jan 2022
Date Written: January 25, 2021
We examine whether higher accounting comparability between public and private firms leads to higher value relevance of private firms’ reported financial information. To help develop our hypotheses, we conduct a series of interviews with M&A valuation experts. The experts indicate that having comparable accounting between public and private firms allows them to apply public firms’ valuation multiples directly to private firms, which facilitates the use of private firms’ financial reporting in their valuations. Using a large sample of private target firm M&As in the European Union around the mandatory adoption of IFRS by public firms, we find that private firms’ reported financial information has higher value relevance when it has higher accounting comparability to that of public firms. Furthermore, we find that the impact of accounting comparability is stronger when public peer firm information is more precise. In total, our findings are consistent with higher accounting comparability facilitating a spillover of valuation information from public to private markets, which leads to greater value relevance of private firms’ reported financial information.
Keywords: value relevance, private firms, spillovers, comparability
JEL Classification: M40, M41, G30, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation