Q) Does merging of IBES adjusted file with split factor file and adjusting the data produce the same file as IBES Unadjusted file? If not, which data (adjusted data combined with split factor OR original unadjusted data) is better to use?
A) In order to join IBES adjustment split factor with the detail history file you will need to use the IBES ticker (TICKER) and effective split date (SPDATES) variables.
Unfortunately, SPDATES is not necessarily the true stock split date. Instead, it is the date when the split became effective within the IBES database. So merging the adjusted file with split factor and adjusting the data may produce a file different from the original IBES unadjusted file.
Analyst estimates, on the other hand, are based on the true number of shares outstanding as of the estimated date, since analysts know exactly when a stock splits. Therefore, potentially, an original unadjusted file may be preferable.
However, if you intend to join Unadjusted Actuals data with Unadjusted Detail History and Summary History data, you need to exercise caution because in some cases (usually, in the vicinity of a split date), EPS data items may be based on a different number of shares outstanding due to the fact that one data item accounts for the split but the other does not.