Marriott Corp: the Cost of Capital

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To : President, Marriott Corporation
From : FLO299
Subject : Marriott Corporation – The Cost of Capital
Date : April 6, 2010
The Importance of the Cost of Capital
The cost of capital is important as it forms the basis for Marriott’s investing and financial decisions. By understanding and knowing the cost of capital, Marriott is able to select relevant investment projects for the company, determine incentive compensation, and repurchase undervalued shares when needed. The returns of a project were found by discounting the appropriate cash flows against the appropriate hurdle rates. Without knowing the cost of capital, Marriott would not be able to determine hurdle rates that would help Marriott’s growth. Also, knowing the cost of debt would allow Marriott to optimize the use of debt in the company’s capital structure. Knowing the hurdle rates on a divisional level would also enable Marriott to reward their managers using incentive compensation. By using hurdle rates, Marriott managers would be “more sensitive to Marriott’s financial strategy and capital market conditions” and would give the company a more accountable method of rewarding their employees. Lastly, Marriott’s method of calculating a “warranted equity value” for its common shares required knowing the company’s equity cost of capital. A share price that was below the “warranted equity value” signaled to Marriott when the company needed to step in to repurchase its stock as the company believed that repurchases of shares were a better use of Marriott’s cash flow and debt capacity than acquisitions or owning real estate. Computing Marriott’s WACC

The cost-of-capital was computed both divisionally and overall for the company. It required using the formula WACC = (1-t_)RD(D/V) + RE(E/V). _D and E are the market values of the debt and equity respectively and V (market value) = D+E. RD and RE are the pretax cost of debt and cost of equity respectively and t is the corporate tax rate....
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