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The Effect of SFAS No. 141 and SFAS No. 142 on the Accuracy of Financial Analysts' Earnings Forecasts after Mergers

Description: This study examines the impact of Statements of Financial Accounting Standards No. 141 and No. 142 (hereafter SFAS 141, 142) on the characteristics of financial analysts' earnings forecasts after mergers. Specifically, I predict lower forecast errors for firms that experienced mergers after the enactment of SFAS 141, 142 than for firms that went through business combinations before those accounting changes. Study results present strong evidence that earnings forecast errors for companies involved in merging and acquisition activity decreased after the adoption of SFAS 141, 142. Test results also suggest that lower earnings forecast errors are attributable to factors specific to merging companies such as SFAS 141, 142 but not common to merging and non-merging companies. In addition, evidence implies that information in corporate annual reports of merging companies plays the critical role in this decrease of earnings forecast error. Summarily, I report that SFAS 141, 142 were effective in achieving greater transparency of financial reporting after mergers. In my complementary analysis, I also document the structure of corporate analysts' coverage in "leaders/followers" terms and conduct tests for differences in this structure: (1) across post-SFAS 141,142/pre-SFAS 141, 142 environments, and (2) between merging and non-merging firms. Although I do not identify any significant differences in coverage structure across environments, my findings suggest that lead analysts are not as accurate as followers when predicting earnings for firms actively involved in mergers. I also detect a significant interaction between the SFAS-environment code and leader/follower classification, which indicates greater improvement of lead analyst forecast accuracy in the post-SFAS 141, 142 environment relative to their followers. This interesting discovery demands future investigation and confirms the importance of financial reporting transparency for the accounting treatment of business combinations.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Mintchik, Natalia Maksimovna
Partner: UNT Libraries