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The Recognition of Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets in Business Combinations – The Portuguese Case

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Australian Accounting Review

Published online on


In this study, we investigate the magnitude of goodwill recognised in business combinations during the years 2005 to 2009 by the Portuguese companies listed on Euronext Lisbon, and characterise the amount of the other intangible assets recognised separately from goodwill. We also analyse the level of compliance of those companies with the main disclosure requirements of International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 3 – Business Combinations. Our study, which involves the analysis of 197 business combinations, reveals that the amounts of goodwill continue to be highly material, while conversely, the value of identifiable intangible assets in those acquisitions is very low. The results suggest that Portuguese companies do not undertake sufficient efforts to individually identify and disclose intangibles acquired in business combinations. This fact is reinforced by the reduced level of compliance with the disclosures required by IFRS 3, particularly the factors that contribute to the recognition of goodwill. Our findings provide feedback to standard setters in an effort to improve practice in the application of IFRS 3. Moreover, they reinforce their recent concerns regarding the post‐implementation review of business combinations, as well as the ongoing project of the IASB, whose objective is to improve disclosures in existing standards.