U.S. goodwill impairment doubled in 2015: D&P study

BVWireIssue #171-1
December 7, 2016

U.S. publicly traded companies recorded $57 billion in goodwill impairment (GWI) in 2015—more than double the impairment recorded during the prior year, according to the 2016 U.S. Goodwill Impairment Study from Duff & Phelps. The study was prepared and issued in partnership with the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF).

Hard-hit industries: For the second year in a row, the energy sector was the hardest-hit industry, with GWI of $18.2 billion in 2015, compared to $5.8 billion in the prior year. Energy accounted for nearly one-third of the aggregate GWI in 2015, with 56% of energy companies that carry goodwill on their balance sheets recording an impairment. The IT industry was also significantly impacted in 2015, as two of the three overall largest impairments took place in this industry and total GWI more than tripled, to $12.9 billion compared to 2014. The consumer discretionary industry and industrial sector also saw steep increases in 2015, more than doubling impairment levels of the prior year.

The study examines general and industry goodwill impairment trends through December 2015 for over 8,500 U.S. publicly traded companies. It also reports results from an annual survey of Financial Executive International (FEI) members, representing both privately owned and publicly traded companies.

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