Valuation using multiples

Valuation using multiples

Valuation using multiples is a method for determining the current value of a company by examining and comparing the financial ratios of relevant peer groups, also often described as comparable company analysis (or comps). The most widely used multiple is the price-earnings ratio (P/E ratio or PER) of stocks in a similar industry. Using the average of multiple PERs improves reliability but it can still be necessary to correct the PER for current market conditions.

P/E multiples are popular in part due to their wide availability. The value of a business should, however, be reflected in multiples based on enterprise value (EV/EBITDA, EV/EBIT, EV/NOPAT) of a company. These multiples reveal the rating of a business independently of its capital structure, and are the most commonly used in transactions on private companies.




Condition: Peer company is profitable.

Rf = discount rate during the last forecast year tf = last year of the forecast period. C = correction factor P = current stock Price NPP = net profit peer company S = number of shares NPO = net profit of target company after forecast period

Process Data Diagram

The following diagram shows an overview of the process of company valuation using multiples. All activities in this model are explained in more detail in section 3: Using the Multiples method.


Using the Multiples Method

Determine Forecast Period

Determine the year after which the company value is to be known.


‘VirusControl’ is an ICT startup that has just finished their business plan. Their goal is to provide professionals with software for simulating virus outbreaks. Their only investor is required to wait for 5 years before making an exit. Therefore VirusControl is using a forecast period of 5 years.

Identifying peer companies

Search the (stock)market for companies most comparable to the target company. From the investor perspective, a peer universe can also contain companies that are not only direct product competitors but are subject to similar cycles, suppliers and other external factors (e.g. a door and a window manufacturer may be considered peers as well).

Important characteristics include: operating margin, company size, products, customer segmentation, growth rate, cash flow, number of employees, etc.


VirusControl has identified 4 other companies similar to itself.

  • Medical Sim
  • Global Plan
  • Virus Solutions
  • PM Software

Determining correct Price Earning Ratio (P/E)

The price earnings ratio (P/E) of each identified peer company can be calculated as long as they are profitable. The P/E is calculated as:

P/E = Current Stock Price / (Net Profit / Number of shares)

Particular attention is paid to companies with P/E ratios substantially higher or lower than the peer group. A P/E far below the average can mean (among other reasons) that the true value of a company has not been identified by the market, that the business model is flawed, or that the most recent profits include, for example, substantial one-off items. Companies with P/E ratios substantially different from the peers (the outliers) can be removed or other corrective measures used to avoid this problem.


P/E ratio of companies similar to VirusControl:


Current Stock Price

Net profit

Number of Shares


Medical Sim





Global Plan





Virus Solutions





PM Software





One company, PM Software, has substantially lower P/E ratio than the others. Further market research shows that PM Software has recently acquired a government contract to supply the military with simulating software for the next three years. Therefore VirusControl decides to discard this PER and only use the values of 17.95, 21.7 and 20.8.

Determining future company value

The value of the target company after the forecast period can be calculated by:

Average corrected PER * net profit at the end of the forecast period.


VirusControl is expecting a net profit at the end of the fifth year of about € 2.2 million. They use the following calculation to determine their future value:

((17.95 + 21.7 + 20.8) / 3) * 2.200.000 = € 44.3 million

Determining discount rate / factor

Determine the appropriate discount rate and factor for the last year of the forecast period based on the risk level associated with the target company


VirusControl has chosen their discount rate very high as their company is potentially very profitable but also very risky. They calculate their discount factor based on five years.

Risk Rate


Discount Rate


Discount Factor


Determining current company value

Calculate the current value of the future company value by multiplying the future business value with the discount factor. This is known as the time value of money.


VirusControl multiplies their future company value with the discount factor:

44,300,000 * 0.1316 = 5,829,880 The company or equity value of VirusControl : € 5.83 million

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