Corporate Finance 101: Equity Valuation
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Corporate Finance 101: Equity Valuation

A zoom-in, zoom-out, connect-the-dots take on Free cash flow models, Dividend discount models, and equity valuation
4.4 (13 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
565 students enrolled
Created by Loony Corn
Last updated 8/2016
Current price: $10 Original price: $50 Discount: 80% off
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  • 6 hours on-demand video
  • 43 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Understand company valuation, the role of cash flows, risk and return
  • Apply important types of models: Dividend-Discount models, Free Cash Flow Models and Relative-Value models
  • Calculate the cost of capital to a company
View Curriculum
  • This course assumes no prior knowledge of accounting or finance

A zoom-in, zoom-out, connect-the-dots tour of Equity valuation

Let's parse that

  • 'connect the dots': Equity valuation is conceptually complex - that's why plenty of folks mechanically follow the procedures, but don't understand the valuation they end up with. This course makes sure that won't happen to you.
  • 'zoom in': Getting the details is very important in equity valuation - a small change in an assumption, and the value output by your model changes dramatically. This course gets the details right where they are important.
  • 'zoom out': Details are important, but not always.  This course knows when to switch to the big picture.

What's Covered:

  • Equity Valuation Introduced: intrinsic value, price, valuation and market capitalisation.
  • Absolute Valuation Techniques focus on getting a point estimate of a company's intrinsic value. This is invariably done by discounting a series of cash flows projected into the future. 
  • Net Present Value and Discounting Cash Flows: NPV is a crucial concept in finance - and in life. Understand what the present value of an asset is, how it relates to the rate of return on the asset, and how risky cash flow streams are handled.
  • CAPM, Weighted Average Cost of Capital and Required Equity Return: These are key concepts required in valuing the risky stream of cash flows that represent a company's value.
  • Dividend Discount Models: A family of absolute value models that discount the dividends from a stock. Despite their seeming simplicity, there is some real wisdom embedded into these models. Understand them.
  • Free Cash Flow ValuationFCF valuation is a serious valuation tool. Understand how to use it right - and when not to use it.
  • FCFF and FCFE: The fine print on calculating Free Cash Flows to the Firm, and to Equity holders.

Using discussion forums

Please use the discussion forums on this course to engage with other students and to help each other out. Unfortunately, much as we would like to, it is not possible for us at Loonycorn to respond to individual questions from students:-(

We're super small and self-funded with only 2-3 people developing technical video content. Our mission is to make high-quality courses available at super low prices.

The only way to keep our prices this low is to *NOT offer additional technical support over email or in-person*. The truth is, direct support is hugely expensive and just does not scale.

We understand that this is not ideal and that a lot of students might benefit from this additional support. Hiring resources for additional support would make our offering much more expensive, thus defeating our original purpose.

It is a hard trade-off.

Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Who is the target audience?
  • Yep! Business majors and aspiring MBAs
  • Yep! Finance professionals who are rusty on equity valuation
  • Yep! CFA Candidates
  • Yep! Accountants looking to strengthen their applied corporate finance skills
  • Yep! Non-finance professionals, aspiring entrepreneurs looking to understand how companies are valued
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
50 Lectures
You, Us & This Course
1 Lecture 01:50

This is a zoom-in, zoom-out, connect-the-dots take on equity valuation, ideal for finance professionals, MBAs, and aspiring entrepreneurs with an eye on the money.

Preview 01:50
Price, Value and Valuation
4 Lectures 18:07

In finance, as in life, price and value are all too easy to mix up.

Intrinsic Value

Intrinsic value is intangible, so it can only be estimated (by models), not measured.

Valuation Models

For a publicly traded firm, market capitalisation is synonymous with valuation. The difference between value and valuation is what keeps the investing industry alive and awake, however.

Valuation and Market Cap

Going concern, liquidation, or sum-of-the-parts? Take your pick of valuation models.

Preview 09:09
NPV and Discounting Cash Flows
8 Lectures 41:33

Absolute valuation models focus on a point estimate of intrinsic value. They are invariably based on the concept of Net Present Value.

Absolute Valuation Models and NPV

The idea of Net Present Value (NPV) is one of the most fundamental in all of finance - and it all starts with compound interest.

Compound Interest and NPV

NPV and price are related: if NPV > price, the asset is undervalued, and should be bought ASAP! If NPV < price, the asset is overvalued - don't buy it.

NPV and Price

Calculate the NPV of a cash flow in the future. The cash flow is deterministic, btw.

A Simple NPV Example

Future Value of a Present Cash Flow

The higher the compounding frequency on the risk-free instrument, the higher the discount rate.

Semi-Annual Compounding

Taken to its limit, compounding could be continuous. This yields the highest possible discount factor, given a certain discount rate.

Continuous Compounding

Calculating the NPV of a stream of cash flows in the future is one of the most common use-cases in all of finance. Its used across bond math as well as corporate finance.

NPV of a Stream of Cash Flows
Valuing Uncertain Cash Flows
11 Lectures 01:16:15

Discounting risky cash flows presents a challenge: you can either increase the discount rate (by risk-adjusting it) or decrease the cash flow (replace it with its certainty equivalent). Almost everyone does the former. 

Preview 11:06

Assets with the same risk should offer the same return. This is the principle underlying risk-return models. We see a simple example of a risk-return model, calculating the cost of debt for a firm from its credit rating and the duration of the borrowing.

Preview 11:17

The CAPM is the most widely known and widely used risk-return model for equities. Understand how the CAPM works, what market beta is, and how the ERP can (or rather can not) be cleanly measured.

The Capital Asset Pricing Model

The overall cost of capital for a firm with both debt and equity is given by the wacc. This is a weighted average of the costs of debt and equity. The weights used in the average? The market prices of debt and equity respectively.

WACC: The Weighted Average Cost of Capital

Interest expenses are pre-tax, while dividend payments are not. So, from the point-of-view of a firm, we need to reduce the cost of debt using an adjustment for the tax shield.

Preview 06:43

Be careful to use the WACC for all cash flows related to a firm. This leads to a few strange situations (eg negative cash flows) but at least it is consistent and transparent.

WACC for consistency

Top-down betas are obtained from regression, but are very noisy (standard errors in regressions are quite large!) Instead, we should use bottoms-up betas, especially for conglomerates. Understand the intuition, as well as the outline of the procedure.

Beta: Top-down or bottoms-up?

If you are valuing a private company, the beta you really ought to use in your WACC calculation is not the market beta, its the total beta.

Market Beta or Total Beta?

The beta that we get via regression, or (on Yahoo FInance:-)) is a levered beta, which reflects the market co-movement of a company at its current level of leverage. There is a simple way to unlever and relever betas. 

Levering and Unlevering Betas

Debt is an important part of WACC. Don't forget to take operating leases as well.

Debt and Operating Leases

Don't forget leases, including operating leases!

Cost of Debt: Some additional factors
Dividend Discount Models
7 Lectures 51:47

Dividend Discount Models are a specific family of absolute value models that discount dividends. These can seem simplistic, but have a lot of simple wisdom embedded within.

Dividend Discount Models

DDM have a neat relationship between the price of a stock today, its price in the future, and the dividends in the period in between.

Present Value, Future Value and Capital Appreciation

Depending on the company's growth and stage in its life-cycle, different DDM profiles can be applied to model its growth.

Preview 06:25

A cash cow is a company with zero growth. Cash cows are not as uncommon as you might think - look no further than many state-owned resource firms.

Cash Cows: Constant Dividends and Growth Opportunities

Sustainable Growth Rate of Equity

The Gordon Growth Model works best for stable-growth, dividend paying companies.

Gordon Growth Model

Micro Econ 101 dictates that firms experience a period of extra-ordinary growth early in their lives, before perfect competition sets in. At that point, growth subsides. We explore a few Dividend Discount Models that allow us to model this.

The h-Model
Free Cash Flow Models
1 Lecture 13:59

Free Cash Flow valuation is conceptually similar to Dividend Discount Valuation, but the FCF method can be used for a far wider range of firms, and in a far wider range of situations. This is the real deal in equity valuation.

Introducing FCF Valuation
FCFF and FCFE Details
7 Lectures 54:27

FCFF is free cash flow available to all providers of capital to the firm (both debt and equity). FCFE is the free cash flow available only to equity holders.

Introducing FCFF and FCFE

The easiest way to calculate FCFF is from the Cash Flow Statement. FCFF is basically Cash Flow from Operations (CFO), minus Investments in Fixed Assets, plus tax-adjusted interest expense.

Preview 10:17

FCFE is simply FCFF minus payments from the equity holders to the debt holders, plus payments from debt holders to equity holders:-)


FCFF and FCFE each have their strengths and weaknesses. We also discuss an alternative discounting method of valuation, called the Adjusted Present Value (APV) method, which discounts FCFF using the cost of equity. This allows valuation with having to calculate the WACC, but it is tricky for another reason: determining the costs of financial distress.

FCFF or FCFE? Also, the APV Method

There are 2 reasons why Net Income can't be used: for one, it does not take into account investments that are required to maintain the operations of the firm in the future, and for another, it includes various non-cash items, notably depreciation. EBITDA has both of these flaws, and in addition, it also has a third: it is a pre-tax measure. And of course taxes have to be deducted from any measure of cash flows to the capital providers of a firm (the government is not, usually, a capital provider!)

Why not Net Income or EBITDA?

FCFF from Net Income or EBITDA

We discuss non-cash charges, preferred stock (include in FCFF, remove from FCFE), non-operating assets, and forecasting FCFF and FCFE

Tying Up Loose Ends
Relative Valuation
5 Lectures 31:43
Introducing Relative Valuation Models

Mechanics of calculating the P/E ratio

Market P/E and Macro-economics

Other Valuation Ratios: P/B and EV/EBITDA
Capital Structure and the M-M Propositions
6 Lectures 01:15:45

The proportion of debt and equity that a firm chooses is known as its capital structure. We also look at 3 important decisions that firms have to make: the investment decision, the financing decision, and the dividend decision.

Capital Structure Introduced

The second of the famous Modigliani-Miller propositions is easier to arrive at intuitively than the first, so let's start there - we see how leverage makes good times better, and bad times worse. 

Leverage, and the second M-M proposition

We now circle back to the first, and more famous, Modigliani-Miller proposition:  leverage, by itself can not change the value of a company.

No Free Borrowed Lunch: The First M-M Proposition

Behind the Numbers: The Intuition Behind M-M

The M-M propositions, as we studied them so far, made some important assumptions about the world a firm operated in - the most important and unrealistic of these was the absence of taxes. Let's now factor in the effect of taxes.

The Inevitability of Taxes

Wrapping up MM in a world with taxes
About the Instructor
Loony Corn
4.3 Average rating
4,205 Reviews
31,255 Students
75 Courses
An ex-Google, Stanford and Flipkart team

Loonycorn is us, Janani Ravi and Vitthal Srinivasan. Between us, we have studied at Stanford, been admitted to IIM Ahmedabad and have spent years  working in tech, in the Bay Area, New York, Singapore and Bangalore.

Janani: 7 years at Google (New York, Singapore); Studied at Stanford; also worked at Flipkart and Microsoft

Vitthal: Also Google (Singapore) and studied at Stanford; Flipkart, Credit Suisse and INSEAD too

We think we might have hit upon a neat way of teaching complicated tech courses in a funny, practical, engaging way, which is why we are so excited to be here on Udemy!

We hope you will try our offerings, and think you'll like them :-)