We examine whether more transparent disclosure about goodwill impairment tests conveys useful information to sell-side analysts about the parameters used in the complex and often opaque impairment testing process. Drawing on a sample of European companies from 2006 to 2014, we construct a unique dataset on the transparency of goodwill impairment disclosure and develop two analyst disagreement measures by extracting analysts’ opinions about firms’ impairment decisions in brokers’ reports. We show that the level of disclosure transparency is negatively associated with both disagreement among analysts, a proxy for information uncertainty, and disagreement between analysts and managers, a proxy for information asymmetry. Further, we find that discount-rate-related disclosure transparency is associated with both types of analyst disagreement, while cash-flow-related disclosure transparency is associated with disagreement between analysts and managers only. Our paper speaks to the usefulness of goodwill impairment test disclosures to analysts, while also highlighting that opportunistic and boilerplate disclosure by some firms hampers the ability to resolve information asymmetry and information uncertainty. Link to the article
ANDREICOVICI, I., JENY, A. and LUI, D. (2019). Disclosure Transparency and Disagreement Among Economic Agents: The Case of Goodwill Impairment. European Accounting Review, 29(1), pp. 1-26.