Business Valuation Blog | Understanding Buying / Selling a Company

How are valuation multiples calculated?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Dec 27, 2017 12:37:00 PM


When you're looking at a business' overall financial standing, one term that is often tossed around during a business appraisal is valuation multiples. Multiples of what? How is the number calculated? What does it mean to your company's value on the market? Though it can seem like a complex concept, it actually breaks down fairly simply. Here's a quick overview of what valuation multiples are, how they're calculated and how they can impact a company's overall value.

How are valuation multiples calculated and how do they impact your bottom line?

What are they?

Much like multiplication, a valuation multiple represents a specific business value multiplied by a particular figure. That value is typically related to income in the form of discretionary earnings, gross revenue or market conditions. The figure by which it is multiplied is the valuation multiple. Depending on the company involved, this multiple can be anywhere from a small single digit to pushing three digits. 

How are they calculated?

Multiples represent a certain expected amount of income per year. If a company has a multiple of 3x, it means that a buyer is willing to pay the equivalent of three times the expected income to the seller. This means the company's income will pay back the investor over the course of three years, if it continues to perform as expected. A multiple of 5x means the company is valued at five times the projected annual income and that a buyer will see the investment returned over a five year period. However, if a company is actively growing, much higher multiples may be seen.

How do they affect your company's financial situation?

But what impact can these multiples have on your company's financial situation? A startup tech company may only have revenue of $50,000 the first year of operation and $200,000 the second year. If it's purchased at this point, where should the multiple fall? If it's expected to grow to a $20 million annual concern within five years, even paying a 10x multiple on the current $200,000 annual income would only equal a value of $2 million. In this case, a 50x multiple may be considered acceptable.

This not only applies to buying and selling a company, but also to the process of securing financing. Will the tech company, as it stands, be able to reach that level of growth? If it needs additional capital to be able to pull off the expansions that are needed, the company needs to be able to prove to the bank that the company will be able to pay back those funds in good time. An appraisal from a certified valuation specialist uses standardized methodologies to document the company's ability to repay the loan that stand up to strong scrutiny in financial circles, making it easier to secure the financing.

By having a good idea of how valuation multiples are calculated, you're in a better position to improve those numbers and pay or receive a fair price for your company, whether it's for a business loan, a company sale or a business purchase. Knowing where your business stands allows you to improve areas that are weak and push areas that are strong even further to help ensure a successful venture. By working with a certified business appraisal specialist, you're ensuring that the multiples and figures you work from are accurate and represent a solid calculation of your company's overall value.

Tags: Business Valuation, Valuation Multiples

How do Big Business Valuation Multiples Work in the Real World?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Feb 1, 2017 2:02:00 PM

business valuation multiples.jpg

When you're trying to get a grasp on the world of business appraisals, one term that is often tossed around is valuation multiples. In general, it involves business valuations based on the value of another business, either by similar size and market share or by income, which is then adjusted for any differences between the two businesses. But what about valuation multiples we hear about in the news for different businesses? What makes these businesses gain or lose value and how can you apply that information and insight into your own business? Here are a few real-world examples, courtesy of Market Realist, of how companies' valuation multiples actually work.


How do Valuation Multiples Work in the Real World?

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

There are a number of different valuation multiples used in the automotive industry, but one that stands out with Fiat Chrysler is EV-to-EBITDA, or enterprise value to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization. Recent figures have shown it to be approximately 1.3x, which is half that of Ford's 2.6x and GM's 2.5x. Chrysler's figures are also lower in price to earnings and net profitability. Why? Some of it is related to perceived loss of value in their products, but the main factors include their progress on the company's debt reduction plan, expanding margins consistently and trends in domestic car sales.

Home Depot

Because Home Depot has high earnings visibility, analyzing the price to earnings valuation multiple is one of the easiest ways to look at how this company competes. Even though the housing market is still recovering, the recent slowdown in the economy and uncertainty about changes in the interest rate have lowered the company's multiple from 20.4x prior to announcing its earnings to 18.4x. At the same time, investors are still confident in the company's ability to perform, with even its lowered multiple significantly outperforming competitor Lowe's 15.6x.

McDonald's Restaurants

After McDonald's reported gains in the prior quarter, the company's multiples grew from 18.6x to 18.8x. Though this seems like a small change, it can represent millions of dollars of value that was quickly added to a company that is already mature and does not have as much room for growth as younger competitors. In other words, because McDonald's has already grown through so much of the market, its ability to grow is limited, but their value can still improve based on improved earnings.

Time Warner Media

Time Warner has a price to earnings multiple that is second only to Disney's numbers, and an EV-to-EBITDA multiple that is the highest among the industry giants. But what is their advantage that keeps the company with the high numbers? The company has continued developing original programs, is looking at a new approach to content licensing strategies in overseas markets and has made active gains in promoting its digital platform viewer numbers. These innovations have allowed the industry giant to expand even in a tight market.

As you can see, valuation multiples are a tool used to determine the valuation of a company across many industries and specialties. By knowing how they interact with real work situations, you can get a better grasp of what events will impact your business' overall value.

And of course things change by the time you are reading this the company's earnings and possibly the earnings have changed!

Tags: Valuation Multiples, discretionary earnings, EBITDA

What Can a Business Valuation Calculator Tell You?

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Jul 20, 2016 9:56:43 AM


A business valuation calculator can provide you with a quick insight into how your business is performing and what it might command for sale on the open market. Yet is this calculator really an effective replacement for getting the valuation of a company taken by an appraiser? Learn what a business valuation calculator can -- and can't -- tell you about your company's worth. 

What is a Business Valuation Calculator? 

A business valuation calculator is a simple tool that allows you to gauge the worth of your company by entering your total earnings in a fiscal year. Add to your earnings the taxes paid, amortization, net profit and interest, which is sometimes referred to as EBITDA, to get the total earnings. 

By adding a multiplier for your industry, the calculator can give you a range of high and low values for your business. For example, let's say your total earnings for a year were $200,000 and you have a small service business. A calculator would take your $200,000 and multiply it by the industry multiplier to generate a business value ranging from $X to $Y. 

A calculator is a useful way for small business owners to get an independent and industry relevant idea of what their business is worth. However, it is no substitute for getting a company valuation from an appraiser who understands the niche you operate in. 

Business Valuations vs. Valuation Calculator

Business appraisers not only can review your income and earnings and calculate the financial worth of your business, they can integrate industry specific trends and forecasts into the valuation. Since business appraisers take the time to research your business, they can add in subjective variables that would nonetheless affect your company's value if you were to sell it. 

For example, if your business is growing rapidly due to changes in the industry? On the other hand, if your business is about to become extinct due to changing competition or technology, your company might be worth less. 

A calculator has no way of knowing this level of information about your company. As a result, the information it gives you is only somewhat accurate. Were you to rely on the calculator alone to evaluate an offer for your company, you might settle for too low of an offer or set an unrealistically high price for your small business.

While a calculator is a useful check on your business worth, it is no substitute for the in-depth opinion of a qualified appraiser. If you would like to get a professional evaluation of your business, look for an appraiser who is credentialed by a major industry organization and can explain the appraisal process to you in plain language. Since you will naturally want to act upon the appraiser's report to sell your business or increase its value, you will need to understand the valuation and the appraiser's logic.

Tags: Valuation Multiples, business valuation calculator

Valuation Multiples and How They Affect Business Valuations

Posted by Business Valuation Specialists LLC on Aug 10, 2015 3:58:56 PM


When you're trying to determine the valuation of a company for any number of purposes, you may hear the term valuation multiples tossed around. But what is it, how does it affect business appraisals and when should a different approach be used? Let's take a look at this company appraisal process:

What are valuation multiples?

Valuation multiples is a business appraisal method that can very quickly evaluate a business based on similar businesses, while still adjusting for differences before determining a business valuation appropriate to the company. In the most basic sense, a valuation multiple shows market value as it relates to a key statistic that shows that value. It's usually in one of two forms, as a percentage of sales or a multiple of earnings.

How it can affect a business valuation?

A valuation multiple provides the information that prospective investors with a valuation based on comparable sales. It's a fairly simple model, making it much more user-friendly in terms of understanding where the numbers are coming from, and it provides a useful tool to measure the fair market value in a simple fashion.  These valuation multiples are obtained from databases of transactions.  Business valuation professionals subscribe to these databases so that they have access to current and historic business sales.  The data is mined to find closely related business and then statistics is used to find which multiple should be used for the data set.  The multiple with the lowest coefficient of variation is typically the multiple that is used.

What if there are circumstances that require a different approach to company valuation?

Is your busines in an evolving industry, possibly in a high growth technology field?  If you're concerned that a basic valuation multiple appraisal won't give you an accurate figure, it may be better to have a thorough company appraisal performed to generate a more accurate analysis.  The discounted cash flow method, which is an income approach to valuation, is typically used for these situations.  Though valuation multiples are easy to understand and use sales comparisions as a basis, it isn't the one-shoe-fits-all methodology.

Whether you're selling your business, considering selling off a portion of your operation or are thinking about acquiring a new operation to expand your business concerns, having a solid business appraisal ensures you know what you're getting. Make sure to use a valuation company with a reputation for excellence to prevent costly mistakes in your business plans.

Tags: Business Valuation, Valuation Multiples