Valuation Methods Three Main Approaches to Value a Business

The Book Value Approach to Business Valuation

The price-to-book (P/B) ratio evaluates a firm’s market value relative to its book value. Book value gets its names from accounting lingo where the balance sheet is known as a company’s “books.” In fact, accounting was once called bookkeeping. When compared to the company’s market value, book value can indicate whether a stock is under- or overpriced. Book value per share and the price-to-book The Book Value Approach to Business Valuation (P/B) ratio are utilized in fundamental analysis. Gordon Scott has been an active investor and technical analyst of securities, futures, forex, and penny stocks for 20+ years. He is a member of the Investopedia Financial Review Board and the co-author of Investing to Win. Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader.

Book value is considered important in terms of valuation because it represents a fair and accurate picture of a company’s worth. The figure is determined using historical company data and isn’t typically a subjective figure. It means that investors and market analysts get a reasonable idea of the company’s worth. Investment bankers will often put together a football field chart to summarize the range of values for a business based on the different valuation methods used. Below is an example of a football field graph, which is typically included in an investment banking pitch book. Market cap is simple, but it’s typically only applicable to publicly-traded companies because privately held companies don’t have shares traded in the open market. Despite this, it is still important to know what market cap is because part of the valuation process might involve comparing your privately held company to the market cap of publicly traded companies.


This method simply refers to the value of a company if all of its assets were liquidated and its liabilities paid outright. Each of these situations will apply to different businesses at different points in their life cycles.

This process includes all of the assets and liabilities that are already recorded on the entity’s balance sheet and not recorded on the entity’s balance sheet. Similar to the capitalization of earnings valuation method, the multiple of earnings valuation method also determines a business’s value by its potential to earn in the future.

Business Valuation Approaches

In this circumstance, the valuator may adjust the balance sheet to alter the value of certain assets or liabilities to their fair market value. In doing so, the book value of equity changes in accordance with the adjusted assets and liabilities. As shown in the diagram above, when valuing a business or asset, there are three different methods or approaches one can use. The Cost Approach looks at what it costs to rebuild or replace an asset. The cost approach method is useful in valuing real estate, such as commercial property, new construction, or special use properties.

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There is no “right” approach for all circumstances, which raises a relevant point on valuation. While we have introduced you to the three most common valuation approaches, these are only techniques. It is just as important to understand the business and industry as it is to understand the valuation techniques. The underlying theory to the Cost Approach is that – despite its historical bias and limitations – it can be more suitable for certain businesses versus the Income Approach or Market Approach.

Understanding Book Value

All entity assets and liability accounts are subject to revaluation to the valuation assignment standard of value. To prepare a revalued balance sheet, the analyst identifies and capitalizes all of the entity’s assets and liabilities.

Shareholder equity by the number of common stock shares that are outstanding. We will describe the methods used in the Market and DCF approaches below. The next thing that the analyst needs to do after finding a list of relevant companies is to gather their financial information. For public companies you can look at the Bloomberg Terminal or use Capital IQ. Using either of these platforms, you can easily import the financial information of the companies to an Excel sheet. It serves as the total value of the company’s assets that shareholders would theoretically receive if a company was liquidated. Ryan Eichler holds a B.S.B.A with a concentration in Finance from Boston University. He has held positions in, and has deep experience with, expense auditing, personal finance, real estate, as well as fact checking & editing.

More Valuation Methods (Video)

Although the approaches may seem simple enough on the surface, as we saw with the DCF example above, there are extensive and complex calculations involved in determining the value of a business. The Adjusted Net Asset Method, at liquidation value, generally establishes a “floor-value” for setting total value of the business. This “floor value” is used by business valuation experts to judge the reasonableness of the values indicated by the income and market valuation approaches discussed below. Guideline Public Company Method – This valuation method uses financial data from publicly traded companies. These valuations are based on the actual price investors have paid for minority interests in companies in the same or similar line of business as the company being valued.

The Book Value Approach to Business Valuation

The majority of private small businesses are sold as asset sales, whereas the majority of middle-market transactions involve the sale of equity—each of these sales would require a different business valuation method. The asset-based approach is defined as a general way of determining the value of a business based on the value of its assets net of liabilities.

Small business valuation methods

The book value of the properties is adjusted to the appraised fair market value. Book value is a company’s equity value as reported in its financial statements.

  • While each approach should be considered, the approach ultimately relied upon will depend on the unique facts and circumstances of each situation.
  • Book value per share is calculated by taking shareholders’ equity and dividing it by the number of shares outstanding, providing book value on a per-share basis.
  • Under the multiple of revenue method, a stream of revenues generated over a certain period of time is applied to a multiplier, which varies with the industry and economic environment.
  • Investment Advisory services are provided by First Republic Investment Management, Inc.
  • Use the simple cash in, cash out system to finish bookkeeping in a few simple steps.

Balance SheetA balance sheet is one of the financial statements of a company that presents the shareholders’ equity, liabilities, and assets of the company at a specific point in time. It is based on the accounting equation that states that the sum of the total liabilities and the owner’s capital equals the total assets of the company. Next, the capitalization of earnings valuation method calculates a business’s future profitability based on its cash flow, annual ROI, and expected value. With all of this in mind, let’s explore some of the most common business valuation methods.

More about Company valuation

Business owners can gain great negotiating power by maximizing the value of their business long before taking it to the market. While there is no “one-sized fit all” solution to choosing which method to use, valuators often use their experience and specific guidelines to limit which method to use. Free Financial Modeling Guide A Complete Guide to Financial Modeling This resource is designed to be the best free guide to financial modeling!

What is book value method of valuation?

The book value method is a technique for recording the conversion of a bond into stock. In essence, the book value at which the bonds were recorded on the books of the issuer is shifted to the applicable equity account. This shift moves the bond liability into the equity part of the balance sheet.

This is important to keep in mind as you work with a valuation expert and think about your business. Oftentimes one of the three will be more familiar given your particular industry or set of investors. Still, all of them should at least be considered, even if more weight is ascribed to a specific approach at the end of the process. Diving into each of these will paint a picture of how a valuation is crafted by a professional.

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