Valuing companies by cash flow discounting: Ten methods and nine theories
Fernández , Pablo
This paper is a summarized compendium of all the methods and theories on company valuation using cash flow discounting. The paper shows the ten most commonly used methods for valuing companies by cash flow discounting: 1) free cash flow discounted at the WACC; 2) equity cash flows discounted at the required return to equity; 3) capital cash flows discounted at the WACC before tax; 4) APV (Adjusted Present Value); 5) the business's risk-adjusted free cash flows discounted at the required return to assets; 6) the business's risk-adjusted equity cash flows discounted at the required return to assets; 7) economic profit discounted at the required return to equity; 8) EVA discounted at the WACC; 9) the risk-free rate-adjusted free cash flows discounted at the risk-free rate, and 10) the risk-free rate-adjusted equity cash flows discounted at the required return to assets. All ten methods always give the same value. This result is logical, since all the methods analyze the same reality under the same hypotheses; they only differ in the cash flows taken as starting point for the valuation. The disagreements in the various theories on the valuation of the firm arise from the calculation of the value of the tax shields (VTS). The paper shows and analyses 9 different theories on the calculation of the VTS: No-cost-of-leverage, Modigliani and Miller (1963), Myers (1974), Miller (1977), Miles and Ezzell (1980), Harris and Pringle (1985), Damodaran (1994), With-cost-of-leverage and Practitioners method. The paper contains the most important valuation equations according to these theories, and also shows the changes that take place in the valuation equations when the debt's market value does not match its book value.
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