Earnings management and initial public offerings: The case of the depository industry
In a typical IPO, insiders are "net sellers" of IPO shares; however, in a demutualizing thrift, insiders are "net buyers" of IPO shares. Using a sample of mutual depository IPOs, we find evidence consistent with earnings management prior to the conversion of mutual thrifts. We find on average that mutuals report lower ROA and increased loan loss provisions and loan loss reserves in the period prior to the demutualization. Using a two-stage approach, we also find that the level of discretionary loan loss provisions and discretionary reserves are positively related to both the level of insider participation in the IPO and the first-day returns to investors. Our results are consistent with management of mutual thrifts benefiting at the conversion from reduced pre-IPO earnings and book equity resulting from earnings management.
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