Valuation

VALUATION TECHNIQUES

Vault Guide to Finance Interviews Valuation Techniques

How Much is it Worth?
Imagine yourself as the CEO of a publicly traded company that makes widgets. You’ve had a highly successful business so far and want to sell the company to anyone interested in buying it. How do you know how much to sell it for? Likewise, consider the Bank of America acquisition of Fleet. How did B of A decide how much it should pay to buy Fleet? For starters, you should understand that the value of a company is equal to the value of its assets, and that Value of Assets = Debt + Equity or Assets = D + E If I buy a company, I buy its stock (equity) and assume its debt (bonds and loans). Buying a company’s equity means that I actually gain ownership of the company – if I buy 50 percent of a company’s equity, I own 50 percent of the company. Assuming a company’s debt means that I promise to pay the company’s lenders the amount owed by the previous owner. The value of debt is easy to calculate: the market value of debt is equal to the book value of debt. (Unless the debt trades and thus has a real “market value.” This information, however, is hard to come by, so it is safe to use the book value.) Figuring out the market value of equity is trickier, and that’s where valuation techniques come into play. The four most commonly used techniques are: 1. 2. 3. 4. Discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis Multiples method Market valuation Comparable transactions method

Generally, before we can understand valuation, we need to understand accounting, the language upon which valuation is based.

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Vault Guide to Finance Interviews Valuation Techniques

Basic Accounting Concepts
Before we look at these valuation techniques, let’s take a look at basic accounting concepts that underpin valuation. MBAs interested in finance careers should definitely be comfortable with these concepts (and may find this overview to be very basic). Undergrads who have

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