Exit Strategies Insights

Industry insights, knowledge base and announcements for business owners and professional advisors

Business Valuation Insights

Valuing a Business in the Time of COVID-19

Business owners and investors alike are asking themselves the same questions in the current COVID-19 environment.  Are there opportunities in downturns? If so, when do you know when buy and sell? What are my illiquid assets worth? A former boss and one of the best bond traders I’ve ever met frequently used a popular trader’s phrase that predicting when a market will bottom and turn is “like trying to catch a falling knife.” A recent article revisited …

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Valuing a Business in Bankruptcy

According to data collected by the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, business bankruptcies declined from 60,750 (or 4% of total filings) in 2009, just after the 2008 financial meltdown to approximately 22,750 in 2019 (or approximately 3%).[1]  With overwhelming challenges ahead as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the question is not if these filings will go up over the next 12 months but by how much. Before I dig into valuing a business in bankruptcy, let’s …

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Company Size Matters in Business Valuation

According to well-known business valuation authority Dr. Shannon Pratt in his book The Market Approach to Valuing Businesses, “smaller companies in most industries tend to sell at lower multiples of most financial variables than larger companies in the same industry. This conclusion, reached from analysis of market data, is consistent with income approach (cost of capital) research, which shows that smaller companies have higher costs of capital (higher discount rates) than larger companies. Higher discount …

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Secrets to Business Valuation – a Lesson from Curly

Remember that scene from the 1991 movie City Slickers where Curly (Jack Palance) shares the secret to life with Mitch (Billy Crystal) shortly before he dies? Curly holds up his index finger and says to Mitch that the secret to life is to figure out his one thing and then stay with it. Channeling Curly today, I will share with you the three things that determine the value of any operating company, with rare exception. …

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How Discounts for Lack of Control are Determined

I recently penned a summary on valuation discounts for lack of marketability. As a follow-up, this post is about the other common valuation discount, the discount for lack of control (DLOC), which is often used when valuing minority interests in operating businesses. In the business valuation context, control refers to the ability to manage or control a business. A controlling shareholder enjoys many benefits that are not enjoyed by minority interest holders. Minority interests are …

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Business Interruption 101

If you are reading this blog post from the Left Coast today, you know all too well the front page pictures and stories on the wildfires affecting Northern and Southern California in the past few weeks. The devastation is unimaginable. As I write this, the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County (just north of our Petaluma office) is 60% contained and 76,825 acres have burned. In local terms, that is about the size of San Francisco …

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California’s AB5 Law May Impact Small Business Values

Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), signed into law last month by governor Gavin Newsom, will impact the valuation of many small businesses in California that have grown to depend on independent contractors.  For impacted owners intending to sell in the near term, this new law may require a change of plan. The new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2020, creates an explicit three-part test for whether a worker can be classified as an independent …

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Ten Factors that Affect the Cost of a Business Valuation

In the world of pricing, there are simple models (e.g. cost plus a profit markup) and complex models (e.g. dynamic pricing based on real time supply and demand algorithms ). If you have ever purchased an airline ticket online, you’ve seen how a complex model makes prices impossible to decipher. Fortunately, we can offer greater transparency and consistency on business valuation pricing! Like most professional service pricing models, business valuation pricing is largely a function …

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Understanding the Value of Intangible Assets

As a follow-up to our recent post on profiting from intangible assets in a business sale, this post introduces intangible asset valuation. As our last post outlined, “intangible assets are identifiable, non-physical in nature. They are something you can describe, document … and, most importantly, transfer.” Once identified, there are several ways to value intangible assets. I’ll discuss a common approach called the “with and without” method, using a simple and recognizable case study. Let’s …

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How a Discount for Lack of Marketability (DLOM) is Determined

In a prior chapter of my professional career, I focused on equity security valuations for tax and financial reporting purposes. I led a team of valuation experts who determined the strike price of options granted to employees of up and coming technology companies on their way to IPO. For most, that strike price represents the basis (or cost) of an employee’s future wealth (and tax bill). In simple terms, the valuation of these shares in …

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