Financial Accounting Blog

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Expensing. Business Week article analyzes Tyco Corp.'s acquisition that raised suspicion among the investment community that uncommon growth may be due to manipulative accounting.
"This is one of the most startling examples of financial engineering you can hope to find," says Albert J. Meyer, an analyst at David W. Tice & Associates and longtime critic of Tyco's accounting. CIT made downward "adjustments" to income totaling $221.6 million last May, just before the deal closed. The result, is that CIT swung into the red in April and May, losing $78.8 million. Then, in June, CIT earned $71.2 million.

Even if you accept Tyco's explanations, the bottom-line impact is indisputable: The huge surge in charges taken by CIT just before the deal closed--combined with the drop in,"other revenue",--helped produce a noticeable jump in CIT earnings just after the deal closed. Indeed, CIT was the major reason Tyco reported a 34% increase in per-share earnings for the quarter ending Sept. 30, just as profits were tanking throughout Corporate America.