Reading: DCF for Startups: Exit Multiples

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If you pay more than the DCF value, your rate of return will be lower than the discount. For a bond, the discount rate would be equal to the interest rate on the security. If your implied values do not match your assumed values when you perform these checks, there is an error.

dcf exit multiple

In our view, this multiple has serious shortcomings due to the exclusion of depreciation and taxation. Effective tax rates and particularly capital intensity (the level of maintenance capital expenditure dcf exit multiple relative to other operating expenses) can vary considerably, even amongst companies in the same peer group. Taxation directly affects value because it is a cash outflow – either immediate or deferred.

Understanding the exit multiples method of valuation

Since the sale of a company is more likely to be seen than a company operating into infinity, practitioners often use this method as a sanity check on their numbers. Often, the median multiple across industry incumbents is used as a baseline for estimating value. You may use a value above or below the median if other analyses you’ve done suggests that the stock might be more or less valuable than its peers. This approach consists of trying to mathematically compute FCF from the final forecast year, until… infinity! As usual the Academics want to work with a concept that’s as confusing as infinite time! Professor Dunbar, I’m completely joking – everything you said about the Perpetuity approach does make sense from a theoretical perspective.

dcf exit multiple

But as mentioned earlier, the perpetuity growth method assumes that a company’s cash flows grow at a constant rate perpetually. Since the DCF values cash flow available to all providers of capital, EV multiples are generally used rather than equity value multiples. The exit multiple assumption is usually developed based on selected companies’ trading multiples.

Illustration of the DCF Formula

A business not being able to grow its cash flows at least at the rate of inflation means that it is losing money in real terms. The value is calculated by dividing the last cash flow by the discount rate minus the growth rate. The exit multiple used was 8.0x, which comes out to a growth rate of 2.3% – a reasonable constant growth rate that confirms that our terminal value assumptions pass the sanity check. In the subsequent step, we can now figure out the implied growth rate under the exit multiple approach.

  • To overcome this limitation, analysts assume that the cash flows grow at a specified constant rate.
  • Academics like the perpetuity growth method better because it is theoretically sound and has a stronger economic rationale.
  • In our view, this multiple has serious shortcomings due to the exclusion of depreciation and taxation.
  • If so you might have to look a little harder (or get more creative) in your comp set selection.
  • Depending on the circumstance, the terminal value can constitute approximately 75% of the value in a 5-year DCF and 50% of the value in a 10-year DCF.

Further, we assume a constant cost of capital (r) and growth rate for the cash flows (g), and we calculate the present value of these perpetual cash flows using the formula for perpetual growth. Regardless of the choice of approach, it is helpful to use a range of inputs for the discount rate, the growth rate, and exit multiples to have a range of valuation figures. Please note that this formula is the same as the formula for the perpetuity growth method.

What is an Exit Multiple?

A better approach would be to estimate an average FCF yield for the forward period (3 years in this case). Generally, the FCF yield approach should produce forward priced multiples that do not materially differ from those using an explicit cash flow forecast, especially if the forward look period is relatively short. With XNPV, it’s possible to discount cash flows that are received over irregular time periods. This is particularly useful in financial modeling when a company may be acquired partway through a year. This formula assumes that all cash flows received are spread over equal time periods, whether years, quarters, months, or otherwise. The discount rate has to correspond to the cash flow periods, so an annual discount rate of r% would apply to annual cash flows.

  • Although, it may not give a good estimate of a company’s terminal value as it does not account for inflation.
  • Many investors calculate valuation multiples based on adjusted (non-IFRS or non-GAAP) profit metrics.
  • An exit occurs when an owner or investor decides to end their involvement with a business, most often by selling their ownership stake to other investors.

This means selecting companies that have the same business activities and are in a similar stage of development, and that consequently should have similar future growth and return expectations. This article breaks down the discounted cash flow DCF formula into simple terms. We will take you through the calculation step by step so you can easily calculate it on your own. The DCF formula is required in financial modeling to determine the value of a business when building a DCF model in Excel. Another pro of using this method is that it’s usable for almost every company in any stage of its business life cycle regardless of the industry they operate in (as long as there are comparable competitors available).