• mergers and acquisitions;
  • earnings management;
  • share for share bids;
  • accruals

Abstract:  Earnings management by acquirers ahead of share for share bids may affect whether a bid succeeds, and hence which management team controls the target's assets, as well as the distribution of gains between target and acquirer shareholders. This paper tests for such earnings management for the UK, the world's second largest takeover market, in the period 1997–2001 when M&A reached record levels and share for share deals came to account for the majority of expenditure. Using a range of approaches originating in Jones' model, the paper finds evidence consistent with earnings management ahead of share-financed bids.