Firm Performance and Analyst Forecast Accuracy Following Discontinued Operations: Evidence from the Pre-SFAS 144 and SFAS 144 Eras
Description: Because of the non-recurring and transitory nature of discontinued operations, accounting standards require that the results of discontinued operations be separately reported on the income statement. Prior accounting literature supports the view that discontinued operations are non-recurring or transitory in nature, and also suggests that income classified as transitory has minimal relevance in firm valuation. Finance and management literature, however, suggest that firms discontinue operations to strategically utilize their scarce resources. Assuming that discontinued operations are a result of managerial motives to strategically concentrate resources into remaining continued operations, this dissertation examines the informativeness of discontinued operations. In doing so, this dissertation empirically tests the financial performance, investment efficiency, valuation, and analyst forecast accuracy effects of discontinued operations. In 2001, Financial Accounting Standards Board's (FASB) Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) 144 (hereafter SFAS 144) replaced Accounting Principles Board's Opinion 30 (hereafter APB 30) and broadened the scope of divestiture transactions to be presented in discontinued operations. Some stakeholders of financial statements argued that discontinued operations were less decision-useful in the SFAS 144 era because too many transactions that do not represent a strategic shift in operations were separately stated as discontinued operations on the income statement. With the possibility that the discontinued operations reported in SFAS 144 era may not reflect a major strategic reallocation of resources, this dissertation examines whether the relationship between discontinued operations, firm performance, investment efficiency, and analyst forecast accuracy are different in the pre-SFAS 144 and SFAS 144 era. Using a sample of firms that discontinued operations between 1990 and 2012, this dissertation study finds limited evidence that firms experience improvement in financial performance following discontinued operations and that such improvement is only observed in pre-SFAS 144 era. The results also suggest that any improvement in financial performance documented is conditional on the profitability ...
Date: May 2017
Creator: Guragai, Binod