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Relative Valuation

Why is valuation required? It helps us to take investment decisions.
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If Estimated Value > Market Price, Buy If Estimated Value < Market Price, Don t Buy

How can equity be valued?
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DDM Relative Valuation CAPM

In discounted cash flow valuation, the objective is to find the value of an asset, given its cash flow, growth and risk characteristics. In relative valuation, we value an asset based upon how similar assets are currently priced in the market. A prospective house buyer decides how much to pay for a house by looking at the prices paid for similar houses in the neighborhood. In the same vein, a potential investor in a stock tries to estimate its value by looking at the market pricing of similar stocks. Consequently, there are two components to relative valuation. The first is that to value assets on a relative basis, prices have to be standardized, usually by converting prices into multiples of some common variable. The second is to find similar assets, which is difficult to do since no two assets are exactly identical. With real assets like antiques and baseball cards, the differences may be small and easily controlled for when pricing the assets. In the context of valuing equity in firms, the problems are compounded since firms in the same business can still differ on risk, growth potential and cash flows.

Relative valuation is pervasive Most valuations on Wall Street are relative valuations.
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Almost 85% of equity research reports are based upon a multiple and comparables. More than 50% of all acquisition valuations are based upon multiples

The popularity of relative valuation is due below mentioned advantages of it; a. It is less time and resource intensive than discounted cash flow valuation: Discounted cash flow valuations require substantially more information than relative valuation. For analysts who are faced with time constraints and limited access to information, relative valuation offers a less time intensive alternative. b. It is easier to sell: In many cases, analysts, in particular, and sales people, in general, use valuations to sell stocks to investors and portfolio managers. It is far easier to sell a relative valuation than a discounted cash flow valuation. After all, discounted cash flow valuations can be difficult to explain to clients, especially when working under a time constraint many sales pitches are made over the phone to investors who have only a few minutes to spare for the pitch. Relative valuations, on the other hand, fit neatly into short sales pitches. In political terminology, it is far easier to spin a relative valuation than it is

. we need to identify comparable assets and obtain market values for these assets. relative valuations will generally yield values that are closer to the market prices than discounted cash flow valuations. Consider. they will be rewarded if they pick technology stocks that are undervalued relative to other technology stocks. since the absolute prices cannot be compared. d. convert these market values into standardized values. since it attempts to measure relative and not intrinsic value. It is easy to defend: Analysts are often called upon to defend their valuation assumptions in front of superiors. if they have a problem with the value. controlling for any differences between the firms that might affect the multiple. Consequently. relative valuation is likely to yield higher values for these stocks than discounted cash flow valuations. Market Imperatives: Relative valuation is much more likely to reflect the current mood of the market. A biased analyst who is allowed to choose the multiple on which the valuation is based and to choose the comparable firms can essentially ensure that almost any value can be justified. with their long lists of explicit assumptions are much more difficult to defend than relative valuations. when the market is over valuing comparable firms. managers of technology mutual funds. or too low. colleagues and clients. In fact. the lack of transparency regarding the underlying assumptions in relative valuations makes them particularly vulnerable to manipulation. These managers will be judged based upon how their funds do relative to other 4 technology funds. by definition. even if the entire sector is over valued. when it is under valuing these firms. Biases in Estimating Multiples: Example: P/E becomes meaningless when we have negative or zero EPS Time Variation in Multiples: Multiples change over time for the entire market and for individual sectors. pulling together a multiple and a group of comparable firms. o o o o o The ease with which a relative valuation can be put together. across all stocks. where the value used for a multiple often comes from what the market is paying for similar firms. to judge whether the asset is under or overvalued. we are challenging investors who have a problem with a relative valuation to take it up with the market. This is particularly important for those investors whose job it is to make judgments on relative value and who are themselves judged on a relative basis. in a market where all internet stocks see their prices bid up. In a sense. growth or cash flow potential are ignored. It can be argued that the brunt of the responsibility in a relative valuation is borne by financial markets. To do relative valuation. While there is scope for bias in any type of valuation. Discounted cash flow valuations. The pitfalls: The strengths of relative valuation are also its weaknesses. The fact that multiples reflect the market mood also implies that using relative valuation to estimate the value of an asset can result in values that are too high. This process of standardizing creates price spin a discounted cash flow valuation. compare the standardized value or multiple for the asset being analyzed to the standardized values for comparable asset. c. Thus. for instance. can also result in inconsistent estimates of value where key variables such as risk.

Figuring out how to control for these differences is a significant part of relative valuation. For this comparison to have any merit. o Distributional Characteristics: average . the multiple has to be defined uniformly across all of the firms in the group. o o Consistency: One of the key tests to run on a multiple is to examine whether the numerator and denominator are defined consistently. Define the multiple: In use. it is always useful to have a sense of what a high value. Uniformity: In relative valuation. o o Judging how comparable is the comparable firm. maximum and minimum values Analytical Tests: It is advisable to find out the fundamentals that determine at what multiple a firms should trade and to analyse how does changes in these fundamentals affect the multiple. Controlling for Differences across Firms o Subjective Adjustments . If you do not know what the cross sectional distribution of a multiple is.median. estimated by someone else. When comparing and using multiples. Analyze the multiple: It is critical that we understand the fundamentals that drive each multiple. a low value or a typical value for that multiple is in the market. differences will remain between the firm we are valuing and the comparable firms.The Four Steps to use the Multiples Let s have a closer look at the different steps involved in relative valuation. Apply the multiple: Defining the comparable universe and controlling for differences is far more difficult in practice than it is in theory Few test to tell you if you are using Relative Valuation correctly or not Definitional Tests: The first step when discussing a valuation based upon a multiple is to ensure that everyone in the discussion is using the same definition for that multiple. it is critical that we understand how the multiples have been estimated Describe the multiple: Too many people who use a multiple have no idea what its cross sectional distribution is. standard deviation. the multiple is computed for all of the firms in a group and then compared across these firms to make judgments on which firms are overpriced and which are under priced. the same multiple can be defined in different ways by different users. o o o Determinants Relationship Companion Variable Application Tests: no matter how carefully we choose comparable firms. Descriptional Tests: When using a multiple. and the nature of the relationship between the multiple and each variable. it is difficult to look at a number and pass judgment on whether it is too high or low.

Market price of the share b. What can be the different financial and operational areas that can be analyzed to judge the performance of a firm? How is Max Software performing? 2. Price-to Sales Ratio iii. Enterprise Value-to-Sales Ratio (Note: Enterprise Value= Mkt Value of Equity +Mkt Value of Long term Debt-Cash) 4.o Modified Multiples: Example: While comparing PE ratios across companies with very different growth rates we should divide the PE ratio by the expected growth rate in EPS to determine a growth-adjusted PE ratio or the PEG ratio Discussion questions for Max Software Services: Relative Valuation 1. Price-to-Book Value Ratio iv. 5. Calculate the following multiples for all the firms. Enterprise Value-to-EBIT ii. Price-to-Cash flow Ratio b. Enterprise Value-to-EBITDA iii. Market value of equity c. With the help of multiples estimate the relative value of Max Software Services in terms of a. Make a brief comparison of Max Software Services with the other firms given in the case. Value Multiples: i. Enterprise Value of the firm 6. Comment on advantages and disadvantages of the method Relative Valuation with respect to the case. What are their similarities and dissimilarities? 3. maximum and average value of each of the multiple. Earnings Multiples: i. Find out minimum. What do they imply and when to use them? a. . Price-to-Earnings Ratio ii.