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The Amount and Timing of Goodwill Write-Offs and Revaluations: Evidence from U.S. and U.K. Firms


This paper investigates criticisms that U.S. GAAP had given firms too much discretion in determining the amount and timing of goodwill write-offs. Using 1,576 U.S. and 563 U.K. acquisitions, we find little evidence that U.S. firms managed the amount of goodwill write-off or that U.K. firms managed the amount of revaluations (write-ups of intangible assets). However, our results are consistent with U.S. firms delaying goodwill write-offs and U.K. firms timing revaluations strategically to avoid shareholder approval linked to certain financial ratios.

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Henning, S.L., Shaw, W.H. & Stock, T. The Amount and Timing of Goodwill Write-Offs and Revaluations: Evidence from U.S. and U.K. Firms. Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting 23, 99–121 (2004).

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  • goodwill
  • impairments
  • intangible assets
  • managerial incentives