Earnings management in the private equity divestment process on Warsaw Stock Exchange
Research background: Prior studies suggest that companies which go public manage earnings in order to inflate the issue price. However, for private equity funds the use of such activity can be costly in terms of the reputation capital as they are repetitive stock market players. The results of previous research on the effect of private equity fund on the quality of pre-IPO reported earnings are mixed and inconclusive.
Purpose of the article: The main aim of the study is to empirically investigate the use of pre-IPO earnings management by private equity funds in the process of divestment conducted on a stock exchange.
Methods: I provide comparisons between PE-backed companies and firms with a similar initial market value and growth potential, using the method of single-linkage clustering to build the study sample. In order to assess the scale of pre-IPO earnings management, I apply the discretionary accruals model of Larcker and Richardson .
Findings & Value added: Using a sample of companies conducting IPO on WSE between 2005 and 2015 I do not find evidence that the presence of private equity fund among the shareholders of the company in the period preceding first listing of shares on a stock market constrains the use of earnings management prior to the IPO. The difference between the discretionary accruals in PE-backed and matched companies, when controlling for the market value and book-to-market ratio, is statistically insignificant. To be specific, companies with private equity funds in their shareholder structure do not exhibit lower scale of earnings management prior to the IPO in comparison to other new stock companies.
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