Financial Modelling

Written by admin on May 21st, 2011

Officers acknowledges the relationship between value and marketability, stating: “Investors prefer an asset which is easy to sell, that is, liquid.” The discount for lack of control is separate and distinguishable from the discount for lack of marketability. It is the valuation professional’s task to quantify the lack of marketability of an interest in a privately-held company. Because, in this case, the subject interest is not a controlling interest in the Company, and the owner of that interest cannot compel liquidation to convert the subject interest to cash quickly, and no established market exists on which that interest could be sold, the discount for lack of marketability is appropriate. Several empirical studies have been published that attempt to quantify the discount for lack of marketability. These studies include the restricted stock studies and the pre-IPO studies. The aggregate of these studies indicate average discounts of 35% and 50%, respectively. Some experts believe the Lack of Control and Marketabilty discounts can aggregate discounts for as much as ninety percent of a Company’s fair market value, specifically with family owned companies.


Restricted stock studies


Restricted stocks are equity securities of public companies that are similar in all respects to the freely traded stocks of those companies except that they carry a restriction that prevents them from being traded on the open market for a certain period of time, which is usually one year (two years prior to 1990). This restriction from active trading, which amounts to a lack of marketability, is the only distinction between the restricted stock and its freely-traded counterpart. Restricted stock can be traded in private transactions and usually do so at a discount. The restricted stock studies attempt to verify the difference in price at which the restricted shares trade versus the price at which the same unrestricted securities trade in the open market as of the same date. The underlying data by which these studies arrived at their conclusions has not been made public. Consequently, it is not possible when valuing a particular company to compare the characteristics of that company to the study data. Still, the existence of a marketability discount has been recognized by valuation professionals and the Courts, and the restricted stock studies are frequently cited as empirical evidence. Notably, the lowest average discount reported by these studies was 26% and the highest average discount was 45%.


Option pricing


In addition to the restricted stock studies, U.S. publicly traded companies are able to sell stock to offshore investors (SEC Regulation S, enacted in 1990) without registering the shares with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The offshore buyers may resell these shares in the United States, still without having to register the shares, after holding them for just 40 days. Typically, these shares are sold for 20% to 30% below the publicly traded share price. Some of these transactions have been reported with discounts of more than 30%, resulting from the lack of marketability. These discounts are similar to the marketability discounts inferred from the restricted and pre-IPO studies, despite the holding period being just 40 days. Studies based on the prices paid for options have also confirmed similar discounts. If one holds restricted stock and purchases an option to sell that stock at the market price (a put), the holder has, in effect, purchased marketability for the shares. The price of the put is equal to the marketability discount. The range of marketability discounts derived by this study was 32% to 49%.


Pre-IPO studies


Another approach to measure the marketability discount is to compare the prices of stock offered in initial public offerings (IPOs) to transactions in the same company’s stocks prior to the IPO. Companies that are going public are required to disclose all transactions in their stocks for a period of three years prior to the IPO. The pre-IPO studies are the leading alternative to the restricted stock stocks in quantifying the marketability discount. The pre-IPO studies are sometimes criticized because the sample size is relatively small, the pre-IPO transactions may not be arm’s length, and the financial structure and product lines of the studied companies may have changed during the three year pre-IPO window.


Applying the studies


The studies confirm what the marketplace knows intuitively: Investors covet liquidity and loathe obstacles that impair liquidity. Prudent investors buy illiquid investments only when there is a sufficient discount in the price to increase the rate of return to a level which brings risk-reward back into balance. The referenced studies establish a reasonable range of valuation discounts from the mid-30%s to the low 50%s. The more recent studies appeared to yield a more conservative range of discounts than older studies, which may have suffered from smaller sample sizes. Another method of quantifying the lack of marketability discount is the Quantifying Marketability Discounts Model (QMDM).




In finance, the discounted cash flow (or DCF) approach describes a method to value a project, company, or financial asset using the concepts of the time value of money. All future cash flows are estimated and discounted to give them a present value. The discount rate used is generally the appropriate cost of capital, and incorporates judgments of the uncertainty (riskiness) of the future cash flows.


FV=PV (1+i)n






The cost of capital for a firm is a weighted sum of the cost of equity and the cost of debt (see Capital investment decisions). It is also known as the “Hurdle Rate” or “Discount Rate”.


Capital (money) used to fund a business should earn returns for the capital owner who risked his/her saved money. For an investment to be worthwhile the projected return on capital must be greater than the cost of capital. Otherwise stated, the risk-adjusted return on capital (that is, incorporating not just the projected returns, but the probabilities of those projections) must be higher than the cost of capital.


The cost of debt is relatively simple to calculate, as it is composed of the rate of interest paid. In practice, the interest-rate paid by the company will include the risk-free rate plus a risk component, which itself incorporates a probable rate of default (and amount of recovery given default). For companies with similar risk or credit ratings, the interest rate is largely exogenous.


Cost of equity is more challenging to calculate as equity does not pay a set return to its investors. Similar to the cost of debt, the cost of equity is broadly defined as the risk-weighted projected return required by investors, where the return is largely unknown. The cost of equity is therefore inferred by comparing the investment to other investments with similar risk profiles to determine the “market” cost of equity.


The cost of capital is often used as the discount rate, the rate at which projected cash flow will be discounted to give a present value or net present value.


Cost of debt


The cost of debt is computed by taking the rate on a non-defaulting bond whose duration matches the term structure of the corporate debt, then adding a default premium. This default premium will rise as the amount of debt increases (since the risk rises as the amount of debt rises). Since in most cases debt expense is a deductible expense, the cost of debt is computed as an after tax cost to make it comparable with the cost of equity (earnings are after-tax as well). Thus, for profitable firms, debt is discounted by the tax rate. Basically this is used for large corporations only.


Cost of equity


Cost of equity = Risk free rate of return + Premium expected for risk


Expected return


The expected return can be calculated as the “dividend capitalization model”, which is (dividend per share / price per share) + growth rate of dividends (that is, dividend yield + growth rate of dividends).


Capital asset pricing model


The capital asset pricing model (CAPM) is used in finance to determine a theoretically appropriate price of an asset such as a security. The expected return on equity according to the capital asset pricing model. The market risk is normally characterized by the ? parameter. Thus, the investors would expect (or demand) to receive:




The Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) is used in finance to measure a firm’s cost of capital.


The total capital for a firm is the value of its equity (for a firm without outstanding warrants and options, this is the same as the company’s market capitalization) plus the cost of its debt (the cost of debt should be continually updated as the cost of debt changes as a result of interest rate changes). Notice that the “equity” in the debt to equity ratio is the market value of all equity, not the shareholders’ equity on the balance sheet.


Calculation of WACC is an iterative procedure which requires estimation of the fair market value of equity capital




Because of tax advantages on debt issuance, it will be cheaper to issue debt rather than new equity (this is only true for profitable firms, tax breaks are available only to profitable firms). At some point,

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