Pandemic Prompts Biggest Goodwill Impairments Since 2008 Crisis

March 4, 2021, 7:32 PM

U.S. companies in 2020 recorded the biggest hits since the 2008 financial crisis to goodwill, the intangible asset that companies report when they buy other businesses.

Companies dinged their earnings by writing down $143 billion worth of goodwill, according to valuation firm Duff & Phelps. Those noncash charges—more than double the $71 billion companies wrote off in 2019—are expected to increase as more companies report their financials.

Companies in the energy sector recorded the biggest impairments, reflecting the collapse in global oil prices because of the coronavirus pandemic, the firm said. Energy technology company Baker Hughes Co., ...

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