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This study investigates the relation between the method of payment in acquisitions, earnings management, and operating performance for a large sample of firms that conducted acquisitions between 1985 and 1997. Prior to their acquisitions, acquirers exhibit levels of operating performance that exceed that of their respective industry peers. We find no evidence that acquirers manage their earnings prior to acquisitions, despite the possible incentives of managers who plan stock-based acquisitionsdoi:10.2307/3594998 fatcat:djwf22h7hbfkddjhpctmmcsham