The Value Relevance of Aged Goodwill: A South African Study

Keywords: goodwill, intangible assets, IFRS 3, Ohlson model, value relevance


The purpose of this study was to determine whether goodwill, which is measured in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standard 3 (IFRS 3), is value relevant at acquisition and as time progresses, for a period of two years after acquisition. Using the Ohlson model, 126 JSE firm-year observations were tested. It was subsequently found that goodwill was not value relevant at acquisition date but did become value relevant as time progressed. The possible reasons for goodwill not being value relevant at acquisition are attributed to the manner in which IFRS 3 requires goodwill to be measured, the allowance of provisional values under IFRS 3, and the complexities associated with complying with IFRS 3. Goodwill being value relevant as time progresses is attributed to the subsequent measurement requirements of IFRS 3, in particular the annual impairment testing requirement as opposed to the previous amortisation requirements. This study was conducted in a South African context where limited studies on goodwill have taken place. The results are deemed to be useful to investors and standard setters as they hold implications for goodwill accounting practice and changes to goodwill accounting standards.