In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of The Trade Desk, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTD) by estimating the company's future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!
Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.
We're using the 2-stage growth model, which simply means we take in account two stages of company's growth. In the initial period the company may have a higher growth rate and the second stage is usually assumed to have a stable growth rate. To start off with, we need to estimate the next ten years of cash flows. Where possible we use analyst estimates, but when these aren't available we extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the last estimate or reported value. We assume companies with shrinking free cash flow will slow their rate of shrinkage, and that companies with growing free cash flow will see their growth rate slow, over this period. We do this to reflect that growth tends to slow more in the early years than it does in later years.
Generally we assume that a dollar today is more valuable than a dollar in the future, so we need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$535.4m||US$720.8m||US$942.0m||US$1.11b||US$1.25b||US$1.38b||US$1.48b||US$1.56b||US$1.63b||US$1.70b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x5||Analyst x4||Analyst x3||Est @ 17.74%||Est @ 13.01%||Est @ 9.7%||Est @ 7.39%||Est @ 5.76%||Est @ 4.63%||Est @ 3.83%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 6.2%||US$504||US$640||US$787||US$873||US$930||US$961||US$972||US$968||US$954||US$933|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$8.5b
The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after the first stage. For a number of reasons a very conservative growth rate is used that cannot exceed that of a country's GDP growth. In this case we have used the 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield (2.0%) to estimate future growth. In the same way as with the 10-year 'growth' period, we discount future cash flows to today's value, using a cost of equity of 6.2%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$1.7b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (6.2%– 2.0%) = US$41b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$41b÷ ( 1 + 6.2%)10= US$23b
The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is US$31b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$50.8, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 20% discount to where the stock price trades currently. The assumptions in any calculation have a big impact on the valuation, so it is better to view this as a rough estimate, not precise down to the last cent.
Now the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate, and of course, the actual cash flows. If you don't agree with these result, have a go at the calculation yourself and play with the assumptions. The DCF also does not consider the possible cyclicality of an industry, or a company's future capital requirements, so it does not give a full picture of a company's potential performance. Given that we are looking at Trade Desk as potential shareholders, the cost of equity is used as the discount rate, rather than the cost of capital (or weighted average cost of capital, WACC) which accounts for debt. In this calculation we've used 6.2%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.815. Beta is a measure of a stock's volatility, compared to the market as a whole. We get our beta from the industry average beta of globally comparable companies, with an imposed limit between 0.8 and 2.0, which is a reasonable range for a stable business.
Whilst important, the DCF calculation is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. It's not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. Rather it should be seen as a guide to "what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/overvalued?" If a company grows at a different rate, or if its cost of equity or risk free rate changes sharply, the output can look very different. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Trade Desk, we've compiled three essential elements you should look at:
- Financial Health: Does TTD have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
- Future Earnings: How does TTD's growth rate compare to its peers and the wider market? Dig deeper into the analyst consensus number for the upcoming years by interacting with our free analyst growth expectation chart.
- Other High Quality Alternatives: Do you like a good all-rounder? Explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!
PS. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NASDAQGM every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.
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Find out whether Trade Desk is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.View the Free Analysis
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.