# Valuation of an enterprise as an option

Real Options in Business Valuation Monday, November 14, Business valuation is a complex area that underpins a critical part of modern finance.

For the exercisable and vested options, the total for average exercise price is the weighted average. To apply the fully diluted approach to estimate the per share value, we first estimated the total value of equity for Commerce One using a discounted cash flow model. At the end ofCommerce One had

Equity markets, venture capital markets, and debt markets all rely on accurate valuation metrics to help with efficient allocation of capital. Effective valuation tools are also important in business disputes, where lawyers help firms to sort out complex issues related to everything from merger deals to antitrust cases.

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- The WACC method determines the subject company's actual cost of capital by calculating the weighted average of the company's cost of debt and cost of equity.
- Furthermore, valuation of natural resources companies also pose similar challenges.
- Susan Ward Updated March 14, A business valuation is a way to determine the economic value of a company, which could be useful in several situations.
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Unfortunately, most valuation firms tend to use the simplest and most limited set of tools for valuation — the income approach, sales approach, and replacement cost approach — when valuing a firm.

These three methods are effective in simple cases or where firms have stable and predictable profit levels.

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Yet businesses with stable and predictable profit levels are often the least likely firms to be involved in legal proceedings. Instead, the firms that face legal issues and need to be valued are often those that are the most unorthodox. In these circumstances, the traditional three methods of business appraisers are the least effective. Instead, attorneys and business owners dealing with these situations need to value the company in question based upon real options techniques.

These valuation methods are significantly different, but more accurate and effective than traditional methods.

### Business valuation

Establishing these real options-based valuations requires determining what methods are most appropriate in a given set of circumstances. Larger and better established firms rely on valuations that focus on their current cash flows extrapolated into the future at some rate financial independence by the age of 30 growth.

These cash flows form the basis for what investors will pay for a stock for instance.

On the other hand, smaller firms and faster growing firms need to be valued differently. Firms that fit this mold often have negligible cash flows upfront compared to the cash flows that they will generate in the future — if all goes according to plan with the firm.

That latter complication — the significant risks associated with projected future cash flows create both opportunities and uncertainties in the future. That necessitates alternative valuation metrics. The crux of modern asset valuation is based on a concept called the time value of money.

Essentially the idea is that because money received in the valuation of an enterprise as an option is worth less than money received today, we can value assets or a business based on their associated cash flows and an appropriate discount rate. This approach forms the basis of everything from stock valuation on Wall Street to proper methods for computing interest rates in bankruptcy. This facet of valuation is well understood.

But what about the future opportunities or chances of cash flows that are uncertain? The concept of embedded options might seem abstract or even too nebulous for many judges to buy into in a court case, but the reality is that real options have significant value and are often a subject of serious financial negotiations.

Particularly for small firms, real options are often important and serve as the basis for various types of convertible debt and warrant grants.

Essentially, real options increase in value in situations where there is greater uncertainty, and when interest rates in the broader economy rise.

These volatile situations are often the very situations that lead to court cases for attorneys — a business deal that went wrong leads to a bankruptcy but could have led to a hugely successful company, a merger agreement could result in substantial cost savings for both firms or substantial value destruction for investors and is being challenged by shareholders, a wrongful death case for an individual in the prime of their lives leaves so many possible futures unexplored.

Thanks to new statistical techniques and greater computing power, these situations and others can be effectively modeled through computer simulations and valued by economists in ways that would have been unimaginable a decade ago.

In this article, we will explore three different methods for valuing firms and assets based on real options.

### Real Options in Business Valuation

These methods are extremely important when considering the valuation of start-up firms, fast growing companies, firms that are currently losing money, and firms that have large amounts of potentially valuable intangible property like patents. The formula, developed by three economists — Fischer Black, Myron Scholes and Robert Merton — is perhaps the world's most well-known options pricing model.

Black passed away two years before Scholes and Merton were awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for their work in finding a new method to determine the value of derivatives. The Black-Scholes model is used to calculate the theoretical price of European put and call options, ignoring any dividends paid during the option's lifetime.

The model is used chiefly with publicly traded options, but as will be seen later, the concept can be extended to use in private company situations including those involving start-ups and patents.

Updated Mar 9, Enterprise Value vs. Both may be used in the valuation or sale of a business, but each offers a slightly different view. While enterprise value gives an accurate calculation of the overall current value of a business, similar to a balance sheet, equity value offers a snapshot of both current and potential future value.

While the original Black-Scholes model did not take into consideration the effects of dividends paid during the life of the option, the model can be adapted to account for dividends by determining the ex-dividend date value of the underlying stock.

The model makes certain assumptions, including: The options are European and can only be exercised at expiration No dividends are paid out during the life of the option Efficient markets i.

The formula, shown in Figure 4, takes the following variables into consideration: Current underlying price Time until expiration, expressed as a percent of a year Implied volatility Risk-free interest rates Figure 4: The Black-Scholes pricing formula for call options The model is essentially divided into two parts: the first part, SN d1multiplies valuation of an enterprise as an option price by the change in the call premium in relation to a change in the underlying price.

This part of the formula shows the expected benefit of purchasing the underlying outright. The value of the option is calculated by taking the difference between the two parts, as shown in the equation above.

The Black-Scholes method is most often appropriate for business valuation when businesses: Are growing sales very rapidly Are in a market or industry where the distribution of firm profits is likely to be normally distributed i.

### Enterprise Value vs. Equity Value: What's the Difference?

The model is popular because it considers the underlying instrument over a period of time, instead of just at one point in time, by using a lattice based model. A lattice model takes into account expected changes in various parameters over an option's life, thereby producing a more accurate estimate of option prices than created by models that valuation of an enterprise as an option only one point in time.

Because of this, the Cox-Ross-Rubenstein model is especially useful for analyzing American style options, which can be exercised at any time up to expiration European style options can only be exercised upon expiration.

The Cox-Ross-Rubenstein model uses a risk-neutral valuation method. Its underlying principal purports that when determining option prices, it can be assumed that the world is risk neutral and that all individuals and investors are indifferent to risk.