Title

EPS Dilution After SEOs and Earnings Management

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2012

Publication Source

Managerial Finance

Volume

38

Issue

5

Inclusive pages

485-507

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03074351211217823

ISBN/ISSN

0307-4358

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

Purpose
– Firms are concerned about earnings per share (EPS) dilution after equity issues. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether firms manage upward their discretionary accruals around seasoned equity offerings (SEOs) to mitigate the impact of dilution on reported earnings.
Design/methodology/approach
– The authors employ adjusted discretionary accruals from cash flow statements, normalized by the average common equity, in the multivariate tests.
Findings
– There is evidence that SEO‐year discretionary accruals are the highest when contemporaneous operating cash flows are the lowest. Moreover, managers react to temporary rather than permanent declines in operating performance. Firms with the highest SEO‐year discretionary accruals experience the strongest improvements in post‐SEO operating cash flows. In addition, investors are not misled by the SEO‐year earnings management. There is no relation between the SEO‐year discretionary accruals and post‐SEO stock performance. Overall, these findings are consistent with the hypothesis that firms manage discretionary accruals around SEOs to mitigate the effect of temporary EPS dilution. Practical implications – The paper's findings suggest that firms manage discretionary accruals during the SEO year to reduce the temporary negative impact of SEOs on operating performance measures, consistent with the EPS dilution hypothesis. Such earnings management makes earnings smoother and more predictable, improving earnings informativeness. The findings also suggest that misleading earnings management is not a common practice during the SEO year.
Originality/value
– This paper adds to the literature questioning the evidence that managers frequently engage in misleading earnings management around corporate events. The authors provide an alternative explanation for earnings management around SEOs.

Keywords

Cash flow, Equity capital, Share values, Earnings management, Seasoned equity offerings, Earnings per share dilution

Disciplines

Corporate Finance

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