Boston Scientific, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft have all takenwrite-offs of goodwill in response to poorly performingacquisitions. The Wall Street Journal identified a numberof companies whose balance sheets include substantial amounts ofgoodwill, which measures the amount paid for a acquisition inexcess of the value of the acquired company's hard assets.

The Journal found six S&P 500 companies that havegoodwill that exceeds the market value for the entire company, arelationship that it says could point to future write-offs,including Sealed Air, Frontier Communications, and Nasdaq OMX.

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