Segment Disclosures, Proprietary Costs, and the Market for Corporate Control
69 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2003
Date Written: December 2002
Recent studies provide evidence that the new segment reporting rule, SFAS 131, induced companies to provide more disaggregated segment information. We use adoption of the new standard to identify firms that aggregated segment information under the old standard, SFAS 14, and examine two motives for managers to aggregate segment information. First, withholding proprietary information and, second, avoiding external scrutiny from the market for corporate control. We find firms that increased their segment disclosure on adoption of SFAS 131 (i.e., firms that aggregated segment data under SFAS 14) had higher abnormal profitability and operations with more divergent performance. We do not, however, find a significant decline in abnormal profits for these firms after SFAS 131, suggesting their concerns that more disaggregated reporting would result in competitive harm were unwarranted. We also document a negative association between aggregating segment information and the probability of takeover activities in the pre-SFAS 131 period. Firms that are forced to provide more disaggregated information under the new standard face a higher takeover likelihood in the post-SFAS 131 period. These results suggest that the more disaggregated disclosure generated by the new standard facilitates the market for corporate control.
Keywords: discretionary disclosure, financial reporting, proprietary costs, corporate control, corporate governance
JEL Classification: M41, M45, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation