Financial Modelling

Written by admin on May 21st, 2011

adjusted to fair market value wherever possible. The value of a company’s intangible assets, such as goodwill, is generally impossible to determine apart from the company’s overall enterprise value. For this reason, the asset-based approach is not the most probative method of determining the value of going business concerns. In these cases, the asset-based approach yields a result that is probably lesser than the fair market value of the business. In considering an asset-based approach, the valuation professional must consider whether the shareholder whose interest is being valued would have any authority to access the value of the assets directly. Shareholders own shares in a corporation, but not its assets, which are owned by the corporation. A controlling shareholder may have the authority to direct the corporation to sell all or part of the assets it owns and to distribute the proceeds to the shareholder(s). The non-controlling shareholder, however, lacks this authority and cannot access the value of the assets. As a result, the value of a corporation’s assets is rarely the most relevant indicator of value to a shareholder who cannot avail himself of that value. Adjusted net book value may be the most relevant standard of value where liquidation is imminent or ongoing; where a company earnings or cash flow are nominal, negative or worth less than its assets; or where net book value is standard in the industry in which the company operates. None of these situations applies to the Company which is the subject of this valuation report. However, the adjusted net book value may be used as a “sanity check” when compared to other methods of valuation, such as the income and market approaches.


Market approaches


The market approach to business valuation is rooted in the economic principle of competition: that in a free market the supply and demand forces will drive the price of business assets to a certain equilibrium. Buyers would not pay more for the business, and the sellers will not accept less, than the price of a comparable business enterprise. It is similar in many respects to the “comparable sales” method that is commonly used in real estate appraisal. The market price of the stocks of publicly traded companies engaged in the same or a similar line of business, whose shares are actively traded in a free and open market, can be a valid indicator of value when the transactions in which stocks are traded are sufficiently similar to permit meaningful comparison.


The difficulty lies in identifying public companies that are sufficiently comparable to the subject company for this purpose. Also, as for a private company, the equity is less liquid (in other words its stocks are less easy to buy or sell) than for a public company, its value is considered to be slightly lower than such a market-based valuation would give


Guideline Public Company method


The Guideline Public Company method entails a comparison of the subject company to publicly traded companies. The comparison is generally based on published data regarding the public companies’ stock price and earnings, sales, or revenues, which is expressed as a fraction known as a “multiple.” If the guideline public companies are sufficiently similar to each other and the subject company to permit a meaningful comparison, then their multiples should be nearly equal. The public companies identified for comparison purposes should be similar to the subject company in terms of industry, product lines, market, growth, and risk.


Transaction Method or Direct Market Data Method


Using this method, the valuation analyst may determine market multiples by reviewing published data regarding actual transactions involving either minority or controlling interests in either publicly traded or closely held companies. In judging whether a reasonable basis for comparison exists, the valuation analysis must consider: (1) the similarity of qualitative and quantitative investment and investor characteristics; (2) the extent to which reliable data is known about the transactions in which interests in the guideline companies were bought and sold; and (3) whether or not the price paid for the guideline companies was in an arms-length transaction, or a forced or distressed sale.


The most widely used transactional databases include:


Institute of Business Appraisers (smaller companies)

BIZCOMPS® (smaller companies)

Pratt’s Stats® (smaller to mid-sized companies)

Public Stats™ (larger companies)

DoneDeals® (larger companies)

Alacra (larger companies)


Discounts and premiums


The valuation approaches yield the fair market value of the Company as a whole. In valuing a minority, non-controlling interest in a business, however, the valuation professional must consider the applicability of discounts that affect such interests. Discussions of discounts and premiums frequently begin with a review of the “levels of value.” There are three common levels of value: controlling interest, marketable minority, and non-marketable minority. The intermediate level, marketable minority interest, is lesser than the controlling interest level and higher than the non-marketable minority interest level. The marketable minority interest level represents the perceived value of equity interests that are freely traded without any restrictions. These interests are generally traded on the New York Stock Exchange, AMEX, NASDAQ, and other exchanges where there is a ready market for equity securities. These values represent a minority interest in the subject companies – small blocks of stock that represent less than 50% of the company’s equity, and usually much less than 50%. Controlling interest level is the value that an investor would be willing to pay to acquire more than 50% of a company’s stock, thereby gaining the attendant prerogatives of control. Some of the prerogatives of control include: electing directors, hiring and firing the company’s management and determining their compensation; declaring dividends and distributions, determining the company’s strategy and line of business, and acquiring, selling or liquidating the business. This level of value generally contains a control premium over the intermediate level of value, which typically ranges from 25% to 50%. An additional premium may be paid by strategic investors who are motivated by synergistic motives. Non-marketable, minority level is the lowest level on the chart, representing the level at which non-controlling equity interests in private companies are generally valued or traded. This level of value is discounted because no ready market exists in which to purchase or sell interests. Private companies are less “liquid” than publicly-traded companies, and transactions in private companies take longer and are more uncertain. Between the intermediate and lowest levels of the chart, there are restricted shares of publicly-traded companies. Despite a growing inclination of the IRS and Tax Courts to challenge valuation discounts , Shannon Pratt suggested in a scholarly presentation recently that valuation discounts are actually increasing as the differences between public and private companies is widening . Publicly-traded stocks have grown more liquid in the past decade due to rapid electronic trading, reduced commissions, and governmental deregulation. These developments have not improved the liquidity of interests in private companies, however. Valuation discounts are multiplicative, so they must be considered in order. Control premiums and their inverse, minority interest discounts, are considered before marketability discounts are applied.


Discount for lack of control


The first discount that must be considered is the discount for lack of control, which in this instance is also a minority interest discount. Minority interest discounts are the inverse of control premiums, to which the following mathematical relationship exists: MID = 1 – [ 1 / (1 + CP)] The most common source of data regarding control premiums is the Control Premium Study, published annually by Mergerstat since 1972. Mergerstat compiles data regarding publicly announced mergers, acquisitions and divestitures involving 10% or more of the equity interests in public companies, where the purchase price is million or more and at least one of the parties to the transaction is a U.S. entity. Mergerstat defines the “control premium” as the percentage difference between the acquisition price and the share price of the freely-traded public shares five days prior to the announcement of the M&A transaction. While it is not without valid criticism, Mergerstat control premium data (and the minority interest discount derived therefrom) is widely accepted within the valuation profession.


Discount for lack of marketability


Another factor to be considered in valuing closely held companies is the marketability of an interest in such businesses. Marketability is defined as the ability to convert the business interest into cash quickly, with minimum transaction and administrative costs, and with a high degree of certainty as to the amount of net proceeds. There is usually a cost and a time lag associated with locating interested and capable buyers of interests in privately-held companies, because there is no established market of readily-available buyers and sellers. All other factors being equal, an interest in a publicly traded company is worth more because it is readily marketable. Conversely, an interest in a private-held company is worth less because no established market exists. The IRS Valuation Guide for Income, Estate and Gift Taxes, Valuation Training for Appeals

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