What adjustments are necessary to appropriately value a company? We normalize for non-recurring and unusual items and for discretionary expenses of owners. These are necessary to achieve marketable minority/financial control value. Then, if strategic control is desired, we adjust cash flows for synergistic or strategic cash flow benefits. It is important to understand the critical differences between normalizing and control adjustments.
At the core of every business valuation, whether of an entire business or an interest in a business, lie three key elements that must be examined and understood. This is true regardless of the seeming complexity or simplicity of any valuation situation. The elements are expectations for cash flow, the expected growth in cash flow, and the risks associated with achieving the cash flow. In this short video post, we Keep It Simple, Sally or Stewart and will elaborate on the concepts in the near future.
While I have always focused on trying to make presentations for judges as understandable as possible, I have been thinking about this topic a good bit during the past year. By the time the year is over, I will have spoken on this topic of simplifying complex financial information for judges and juries a number of times around the country. Sometimes, it is a single graphic that helps convey the reasonableness of a complex series of opinions. This post is about one such graphic.
The issue of a premium for an S corporation at the enterprise level has been tried in a tax case, and the conclusion is none. This case marks a virtually complete valuation victory for the taxpayer. It also marks a threshold in the exhausting controversy over tax-affecting tax pass-through entities and applying artificial S corporation premiums when appraising S corporations (or other pass-through entities). This post provides an extensive review of the case.
How should an expert explain the basics of valuation to a judge or a jury or a business owner or an attorney who needs to understand something about value for court, for personal reasons, or for clients? This post provides seven ideas to discuss the essence of business valuation in terms that have proven successful for me.
Peter Mahler of New York Business Divorce Blog wrote a post today titled “Disclosure of Estate Tax Stock Appraisals in Shareholder Disputes.” The question addressed is if or whether, in the context of contested stock valuation procedures stemming from elections to purchase in statutory dissolution or dissenting shareholder cases, pre-litigation appraisals rendered for estate tax purposes (or other purposes) should be discoverable. That’s a good question. In this post, I’ll comment briefly as a business appraiser and businessman.
The last post addressed EBITDA’s “Naughty 11” Problems and What to Do About Them. Today we talk about EBITDA’s “11 goodies” that help counter the “naughty 11” problems and make it a useful tool for analysts, operators, and owners. In the end, there is no single magic measure of cash flow that reveals all about business value. EBITDA, however, is one measure of cash flow that deserves attention in terms of valuation-related analysis, but in the context of solid reviews of historical income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements with insights about history and outlook from management.
EBITDA is at the same time the most discussed and most maligned measure of business cash flow. Simply put, EBITDA is Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization. The problem with EBITDA is that too often analysts or market participants or writers want to think that there is a single measure of cash flow that will reveal all, bringing Utopia to valuation. This post notes 11 things that EBITDA is not or will not do—and compares other cash flow measures according to the same criteria. Utopia does not exist and there is no valuation elixir. Sadly, we actually have to analyze companies to value them or buy them or sell them.
My last post described an early promissory note valuation that provided me with an object lesson in humility. This post is the follow-up to show that it is possible to learn from such lessons and to lay the groundwork for future growth. The ending of this two-part series is happier than its beginning!