The Duff & Phelps 2019 U.S. Goodwill Impairment Study, now in its 11th year of publication, examines general and industry goodwill impairment (GWI) trends of over 8,800 U.S. publicly traded companies through December 2018. Total GWI recorded by U.S. publicly traded companies climbed 125% over the prior year, reaching $78.9 billion in 2018. Much of the leap was driven by General Electric’s (GE) $22.1 billion GWI. However, GWI still climbed an impressive 62%, excluding GE’s impairment. The chart below shows trends in GWI in dollar amount and number of impairment events over the last five years.
Seven out of 10 industries analyzed saw their aggregate GWI amounts increase for the second consecutive year. Healthcare, consumer staples and energy were the top three industries with the largest increase in goodwill impairment, after excluding the amount for GE. The graphic below highlights trends in the aggregate GWI amount for each of the 10 industries analyzed over the period 2014-2018.