We assess the role of both accruals manipulation (AM) and real activities manipulation (RAM) in inducing overvaluation at the time of a seasoned equity offering (SEO). Our results reveal that earnings management is most consistently and predictably linked with post-SEO stock market underperformance when it is driven by RAM; in particular, the opportunistic reduction of expenditures on R&D and selling, general, and administrative activities. Thus, overvaluation at the time of the SEO is more likely when managers actively engage in more opaque channels to overstate earnings. Our findings are particularly relevant because managers exhibit a greater propensity for RAM at the time of SEOs, even though RAM is more costly in the long run.
JEL Classifications: G14; G31; M4; M41