Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Expedia Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.
Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company's value, and a DCF is just one method. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.
We use what is known as a 2-stage model, which simply means we have two different periods of growth rates for the company's cash flows. Generally the first stage is higher growth, and the second stage is a lower growth phase. To begin with, we have to get estimates of 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, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$1.10b||US$1.54b||US$2.19b||US$1.71b||US$1.88b||US$1.93b||US$1.98b||US$2.03b||US$2.07b||US$2.12b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x9||Analyst x6||Analyst x3||Analyst x2||Analyst x1||Est @ 2.69%||Est @ 2.5%||Est @ 2.36%||Est @ 2.26%||Est @ 2.2%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 9.3%||US$1.0k||US$1.3k||US$1.7k||US$1.2k||US$1.2k||US$1.1k||US$1.1k||US$995||US$931||US$870|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$11b
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 9.3%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$2.1b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (9.3%– 2.0%) = US$30b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$30b÷ ( 1 + 9.3%)10= US$12b
The total value is the sum of cash flows for the next ten years plus the discounted terminal value, which results in the Total Equity Value, which in this case is US$24b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$144, the company appears about fair value at a 14% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Valuations are imprecise instruments though, rather like a telescope - move a few degrees and end up in a different galaxy. Do keep this in mind.
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 Expedia Group 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 9.3%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.387. 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.
Although the valuation of a company is important, it shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. Instead the best use for a DCF model is to test certain assumptions and theories to see if they would lead to the company being undervalued or overvalued. For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. For Expedia Group, there are three essential elements you should further research:
- Risks: For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Expedia Group (1 is a bit unpleasant) you should be aware of.
- Future Earnings: How does EXPE'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. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every American stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.
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