The Value of Nonoperating Assets

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Firms have a number of assets on their books that can be categorized as non-operating assets. The first and obvious one is cash and near-cash investments -investments in riskless or very low-risk investments that most companies with large cash balances make. The second is investments in equities and bonds of other firms, sometimes for investment reasons and sometimes for strategic ones. The third is holdings in other firms, private and public, which are categorized in a variety of ways by accountants. Finally, there are assets that firms own that do not generate cash flows but nevertheless could have value - for instance undeveloped land in New York or Tokyo.

Cash and Near Cash Investments

Investments in short-term government securities or commercial paper, which can be converted into cash quickly and with very low cost, are considered near-cash investments. In this section, we will consider how best to deal with these investments in valuation.

Operating Cash Requirements

If a firm needs cash for its operations - an operating cash balance - you should consider such cash part of working capital requirements rather than as a source of additional value. Any cash and near-cash investments that exceed the operating cash requirements can be then added on to the value of operating assets. How much cash does a firm need for its operations? The answer depends upon both the firm and the economy in which the firm operates. A small retail firm in an emerging market, where cash transactions are more common than credit card transactions, may require an operating cash balance that is substantial. In contrast, a manufacturing firm in a developed market may not need any operating cash. In fact, if the cash held by a firm is interest-bearing and the interest earned on the cash reflects a fair rate of return1, you would not consider that cash to be part of working capital. Instead, you would add it to the value of operating assets to value the firm.

Dealing with Non-operating Cash holdings

There are two ways in which we can deal with cash and marketable securities in valuation. One is to lump them in with the operating assets and value the firm (or equity) as a whole. The other is to value the operating assets and the cash and marketable securities separately.

Consolidated Valuation

Is it possible to consider cash as part of the total assets of the firm and to value it on a consolidated basis? The answer is yes and it is, in a sense, what we do when we forecast the total net income for a firm and estimate dividends and free cash flows to equity from those forecasts. The net income will then include income from investments in government securities, corporate bonds and equity investments2. While this approach has the advantage of simplicity and can be used when financial investments comprise a small

1 Note that if the cash is invested in riskless assets such as treasury bills, the riskless rate is a fair rate of return.

2 Thus, if cash represents 10% of the firm value, the unlevered beta used will be a weighted average of the beta of the operating assets and the beta of cash (which is zero).

percent of the total assets, it becomes much more difficult to use when financial investments represent a larger proportion of total assets for two reasons.

• The cost of equity or capital used to discount the cash flows has to be adjusted on an ongoing basis for the cash. In specific terms, you would need to use an unlevered beta that represents a weighted average of the unlevered beta for the operating assets of the firm and the unlevered beta for the cash and marketable securities. For instance, the unlevered beta for a steel company where cash represents 10% of the value would be a weighted average of the unlevered beta for steel companies and the beta of cash (which is usually zero). If the 10% were invested in riskier securities, you would need to adjust the beta accordingly. While this can be done if you use bottom-up betas, you can see that it would be much more difficult to do if you obtain a beta from a regression.3

• As the firm grows, the proportion of income that is derived from operating assets is likely to change. When this occurs, you have to adjust the inputs to the valuation model - cash flows, growth rates and discount rates - to maintain consistency.

What will happen if you do not make these adjustments? You will tend to misvalue the financial assets. To see why, assume that you were valuing the steel company described above, with 10% of its value coming from cash. This cash is invested in government securities and earns an appropriate rate - say 5%. If this income is added on to the other income of the firm and discounted back at a cost of equity appropriate for a steel company - say 11% - the value of the cash will be discounted. A billion dollars in cash will be valued at $800 million, for instance, because the discount rate used is incorrect.

Separate Valuation

It is safer to separate cash and marketable securities from operating assets and to value them individually. We do this almost always when we use the firm valuation approaches described in the last chapter. This is because we use operating income to estimate free cash flows to the firm and operating income generally does not include

3 The unlevered beta that you can back out of a regression beta reflects the average cash balance (as a percent of firm value) over the period of the regression. Thus, if a firm maintains this ratio at a constant level, you might be able to arrive at the correct unlevered beta.

income from financial assets. If, however, this is not the case and some of the investment income has found its way into the operating income, you would need to back it out before you did the valuation. Once you value the operating assets, you can add the value of the cash and marketable securities to it to arrive at firm value.

Can this be done with the FCFE valuation models described in Chapter 14? While net income includes income from financial assets, we can still separate cash and marketable securities from operating assets, if we wanted to. To do this, we would first back out the portion of the net income that represents the income from financial investments (interest on bonds, dividends on stock) and use this adjusted net income to estimate free cash flows to equity. These free cash flows to equity would be discounted back using a cost of equity that would be estimated using a beta that reflected only the operating assets. Once the equity in the operating assets has been valued, you could add the value of cash and marketable securities to it to estimate the total value of equity.

Illustration 16.1: Consolidated versus Separate Valuation

To examine the effects of a cash balance on firm value, consider a firm with investments of $1,200 million in non-cash operating assets and $200 million in cash. For simplicity, let us assume the following.

• The non-cash operating assets have a beta of 1.00 and are expected to earn $120 million in net income each year in perpetuity and there are no reinvestment needs.

• The cash is invested at the riskless rate, which we assume to be 4.5%.

• The market risk premium is assumed to be 5.5%

Under these conditions, we can value the equity, using both the consolidated and separate approaches.

Let us first consider the consolidated approach. Here, we will estimate a cost of equity for all of the assets (including cash) by computing a weighted average beta of the non-cash operating and cash assets.

(Beta

Non-cash assets, s)(Weight

Non-cash assets s)+(BetaCash assetsXW^ght

Cash assets.

Cash assets s)

(Beta

Non-cash assets, s)(Weight

Non-cash assets

Cost of Equity for the firm = 4.5% + 0.8571 (5.5%) = 9.21%

Expected Earnings for the firm

= Net Income from operating assets + Interest income from cash = (120 + 0.045 * 200)

= 129 million (which is also the FCFE since there are no reinvestment needs)

FCFE

Value of the equity =

Cost of equity 129

0.0921 = $1400 million

The equity is worth $1,400 million.

Now, let us try to value them separately, beginning with the non-cash investments.

= Riskless rate + Beta * Risk Premium

Cost of Equity for non-cash investments = 4.5% +1.00(5.5% )= 10%

Expected earnings from operating assets = $120 million (which is the FCFE from these assets)

= Expected Earnings

Value of non-cash assets =

Cost of Equity for non - cash assets 120

To this, we can add the value of the cash, which is $ 200 million, to get a value for the equity of $1,400 million.

To see the potential for problems with the consolidated approach, note that if you had discounted the total FCFE of $129 million at the cost of equity of 10% (which reflects only the operating assets) you would valued the firm at $1,290 million. The loss in value of $110 million can be traced to the mishandling of cash. Interest income from cash = 4.5% *200 = $ 9 million

If you discount the cash at 10%, you would value the cash at $90 million instead of the correct value of $200 million - hence the loss in value of $ 110 million.

Should you ever discount cash?

In the illustration above, cash was reduced in value for the wrong reason - a riskless cash flow was discounted at a discount rate that reflects risky investments. However, there two conditions under which you might legitimately apply a discount to a cash balance.

1. The cash held by a firm is invested at a rate that is lower than the market rate, given the riskiness of the investment

2. The management is not trusted with the large cash balance because of its past track record on investments.

1. Cash Invested at below-market Rates

The first and most obvious condition occurs when much or all the cash balance does not earn a market interest rate. If this is the case, holding too much cash will clearly reduce the firm's value. While most firms in the United States can invest in government bills and bonds with ease today, the options are much more limited for small businesses and for firms outside the United States. When this is the case, a large cash balance earning less than a fair return can destroy value over time.

Illustration 16.2: Cash Invested at below market rates

In Illustration 16.1, we assumed that cash was invested at the riskless rate. Assume, instead, that the firm was able to earn only 3% on its cash balance, while the riskless rate is 4.5%. The estimated value of the cash kept in the firm would then be

Estimated value of cash invested at 3% = (003)(200) = 133.33

0.045

The value of cash that is invested at a lower rate is $133.33 million. In this scenario, if the cash is returned to stockholders, it would yield them a surplus value of $66.67 million. In fact, liquidating any asset that has a return less than the required return would yield the same result, as long as the entire investment can be recovered on liquidation4.

2. Distrust of Management:

4 While this assumption is straight forward with cash, it is less so with real assets, where the liquidation value may reflect the poor earning power of the asset. Thus, the potential surplus from liquidation may not be as easily claimed.

While making a large investment in low-risk or no-risk marketable securities by itself is value neutral, the burgeoning cash balance can tempt managers to accept large investments or make acquisitions even if these investments earn sub-standard returns. In some cases, these actions may be taken to prevent the firm from becoming a takeover target5. To the extent that stockholders anticipate such sub-standard investments, the current value of the firm may reflect the cash at a discounted level. The discount is likely to be largest at firms with few investment opportunities and poor management and there may be no discount at all in firms with significant investment opportunities and good management.

Illustration 16.3: Discount for Poor Investments in the Future

Return now to the firm described in Illustration 16.1, where the cash is invested at the riskless rate of 4.5%. Normally, we would expect this firm to trade at a total value of $1,400 million. Assume, however, that the managers of this firm have a history of poor acquisitions and that the presence of a large cash balance increases the probability from 0% to 30% that the management will try to acquire another firm. Further, assume that the market anticipates that they will overpay by $50 million on this acquisition. The cash will then be valued at $185 million. Estimated Discount on Cash Balance

= (DPr°babilityaCquisition J(EXpected(Overpayment)aCqmsition )

Value of Cash = Cash Balance - Estimated Discount = $ 200 million - $ 15 million

The two factors that determine this discount - the incremental likelihood of a poor investment and the expected net present value of the investment - are likely to be based upon investors' assessments of management quality.

Investments in Risky Securities

5 Firms with large cash balances are attractive targets, since the cash balance reduces the cost of making the acquisition.

So far in this chapter, we have looked at how much firms should hold in the form of cash and near-cash investments. In some cases, firms invest in risky securities, which can range from investment-grade bonds to high-yield bonds to publicly traded equity in other firms. In this section, we examine the motivation, consequences and accounting for such investments.

Reasons for holding risky securities

Why do firms invest in risky securities? Some firms do so for the allure of the higher returns they can expect to make investing in stocks and corporate bonds, relative to treasury bills. In recent years, there has also been a trend for firms to take equity positions in other firms to further their strategic interests. Still other firms take equity positions in firms they view as under valued by the market. And finally, investing in risky securities is part of doing business for banks, insurance companies and other financial service companies.

To make a higher return

Near-cash investments such as treasury bills and commercial paper are liquid and have little or no risk, but they also earn low returns. When firms have substantial amounts invested in marketable securities, they can expect to earn considerably higher returns by investing in riskier securities. For instance, investing in corporate bonds will yield a higher interest rate than investing in treasury bonds and the rate will increase with the riskiness of the investment. Investing in stocks will provide an even higher expected return, though not necessarily a higher actual return, than investing in corporate bonds. Figure 16.1 summarizes returns on risky investments - corporate bonds, high-yield bonds and equities - and compares them to the returns on near-cash investments between 1989-98.

Figure 16.1: Returns on Investments - 1990-2000

Treasury Bills Commercial Paper Treasury Bonds AAA Corporate BBB Corporate Bonds Stocks

Bonds

Investment Category

Source: Federal Reserve

However, while investing in riskier investments may earn a higher return for the firm, it does not make the firm more valuable. In fact, using the same reasoning that we used to analyze near-cash investments, we can conclude that investing in riskier investments and earning a fair market return (which would reward the risk) has to be value neutral.

To invest in under valued securities

A good investment is one that earns a return greater than its required return. That principle, developed in the context of investments in projects and assets, applies just as strongly to financial investments. A firm that invests in under valued stocks is accepting positive net present value investments, since the return it will make on these equity investments will exceed the cost of equity on these investments. Similarly, a firm that invests in under priced corporate bonds will also earn an excess return and a positive net present value.

How likely is it that firms will find under valued stocks and bonds to invest in? It depends upon how efficient markets are and how good the managers of the firm are at finding under valued securities. In unique cases, a firm may be more adept at finding good investments in financial markets than it is at competing in product markets. Consider the case of Berkshire Hathaway, a firm which has been a vehicle for Warren Buffet's investing acumen over the last few decades. At the end of the second quarter of 1999, Berkshire Hathaway had $69 billion invested in securities of other firms. Among its holdings were investments of $12.4 billion in Coca Cola, $6.6 billion in American Express and $3.9 billion in Gillette. While Berkshire Hathaway also has real business interests, including ownership of a well regarded insurance company (GEICO), investors in the firm get a significant portion of their value from the firm's passive equity investments.

Notwithstanding Berkshire Hathaway's success, most firms in the United States steer away from looking for bargains among financial investments. Part of the reason for this is their realization that it is difficult to find under valued securities in financial markets. Part of the reluctance on the part of firms to make investments can be traced to a recognition that investors in firms like Proctor and Gamble and Coca Cola invest in them because of these firms' competitive advantages in product markets (brand name, marketing skills, etc.) and not for their perceived skill at picking stocks.

Strategic Investments

During the 1990s, Microsoft accumulated a huge cash balance in excess of $20 billion. It used this cash to make a series of investments in the equity of software, entertainment and internet related firms. It did so for several reasons6. First, it gave Microsoft a say in the products and services these firms were developing and pre-empted competitors from forming partnerships with the firms. Second, it allowed Microsoft to work on joint products with these firms. In 1998 alone, Microsoft announced investments in 14 firms including ShareWave, General Magic, RoadRunner and Qwest Communications. In an earlier investment in 1995, Microsoft invested in NBC to create the MSNBC network to give it a foothold in the television and entertainment business.

6 One of Microsoft's oddest investments was in one of its primary competitors, Apple Computer, early in 1998. The investment may have been intended to fight the anti-trust suit brought against Microsoft by the Justice Department.

Can strategic investments be value enhancing? As with all investments, it depends upon how much is invested and what the firm receives as benefits in return. If the side-benefits and synergies that are touted in these investments exist, investing in the equity of other firms can earn much higher returns than the hurdle rate and create value. It is clearly a much cheaper option than acquiring the entire equity of the firm.

Business Investments

Some firms hold marketable securities not as discretionary investments, but because of the nature of their business. For instance, insurance companies and banks often invest in marketable securities in the course of their business, the former to cover expected liabilities on insurance claims and the latter in the course of trading. While these financial service firms have financial assets of substantial value on their balance sheets, these holdings are not comparable to those of the firms described so far. In fact, they are more akin to the raw material used by manufacturing firms than to discretionary financial investments.

Dealing with marketable securities in valuation

Marketable securities can include corporate bonds, with default risk embedded in them, and traded equities, which have even more risk associated with them. As the marketable securities held by a firm become more risky, the choices on how to deal with them become more complex. You have three ways of accounting for marketable securities.

1. The simplest and most direct approach is to estimate the current market value of these marketable securities and add the value on to the value of operating assets. For firms valued on a going-concern basis, with a large number of holdings of marketable securities, this may be the only practical option.

2. The second approach is to estimate the current market value of the marketable securities and net out the effect of capital gains taxes that may be due if those securities were sold today. [NOTE: I removed this sentence because the structure is very confusing and I think everyone knows what is capital gain tax.] This is the best way of estimating value when valuing a firm on a liquidation basis.

3. The third and most difficult way of incorporating the value of marketable securities into firm value is to value the firms that issued these securities and estimate the value of these securities. This approach tends to work best for firms that have relatively few, but large, holdings in other publicly traded firms.

Illustration 16.4: Microsoft's cash and marketable securities

Over the last decade, Microsoft has accumulated a huge cash balance, largely as a consequence of holding back on free cash flows to equity that could have been paid to stockholders. In June 2000, for instance, the firm reported the following holdings of near-cash investments:

Table 16.1: Cash and Near-cash Investments: Microsoft

1999

2000

Cash and equivalents:

Cash

$635

$849

Commercial paper

$3,805

$1,986

Certificates of deposit

$522

$1,017

U.S. government and agency securities

$0

$729

Corporate notes and bonds

$0

$265

Money market preferreds

$13

$0

Cash and equivalents

$4,975

$4,846

Short-term investments:

Commercial paper

$1,026

$612

U.S. government and agency securities

$3,592

$7,104

Corporate notes and bonds

$6,996

$9,473

Municipal securities

$247

$1,113

Certificates of deposit

$400

$650

Short-term investments

$12,261

$18,952

Cash and short-term investments

$17,236

$23,798

When valuing Microsoft, we should clearly consider this $24 billion investment as part of the firm's value. The interesting question is whether there should be a discount, reflecting investor's fears about poor investments in the future. Over its life, Microsoft has not been punished for holding on to cash, largely as a consequence of its impeccable track record in both delivering ever-increasing profits on the one hand and high stock returns on the other. The last two years have not been good ones for the firm, but investors will probably give the firm the benefit of the doubt at least for the near future. We would add the cash balance at face value to the value of Microsoft's operating assets.

The more interesting component is the $17.7 billion in 2000 that Microsoft shows as investments in riskier securities. Microsoft reports the following information about these investments.

Table 16:2: Investments in Risky Securities and Investments

Unrealized

Cost Basis

Gains

Losses

Recorded Basis

Debt securities recorded at market:

Within one year

$498

$27

$0

$525

Between 2 and 10 years

$388

$11

-$3

$396

Between 10 and 15 years

$774

$14

-$93

$695

Beyond 15 years

$4,745

-$933

$3,812

Debt securities recorded at market

$6,406

$52

-$1,029

$5,429

Equities

Common stock and warrants

$5,815

$5,655

-$1,697

$9,773

Preferred stock

$2,319

$2,319

Other investments

$205

$205

Equity and other investments

$14,745

$5,707

-$2,726

$17,726

Microsoft has generated a paper profit of almost $3 billion on its original cost of $14.745 billion and reports a current value of $17.726 billion. Most of these investments are traded in the market and are recorded at market value. The easiest way to deal with these investments is to add the market value on to the value of the operating assets of the firm to arrive at firm value. The most volatile item is the investment in common stock of other firms. The value of these holdings has almost doubled, as reflected in the recorded basis of $9,773 million. Should we reflect this at current market value when we value Microsoft? The answer is generally yes. However, if these investments are overvalued, we risk building in this overvaluation into the valuation. The alternative is to value each of the equities that the firm has invested in, using a discounted cash flow model, but this will become increasingly cumbersome as the number of equity holdings increases.

In summary, then, you would add the values of both the near-cash investments of $23.798 billion and the equity investments of $17,726 billion to the value of the operating assets of Microsoft.

Premiums or Discounts on Marketable Securities?

As a general rule, you should not attach a premium or discount for marketable securities. Thus, you would add the entire value of $17,726 million to the value of Microsoft. There is an exception to this rule, though, and it relates to firms that make it their business to buy and sell financial These are the closed-end mutual funds, of which there are several hundred listed on the US stock exchanges, and investment companies, such as Fidelity and T. Rowe Price. Closed-end mutual funds sell shares to investors and use the funds to invest in financial assets. The number of shares in a closed-end fund remains fixed and the share price changes. Since the investments of a closed-end fund are in publicly traded securities, this sometimes creates a phenomenon where the market value of the shares in a closed-end fund is greater than or less than the market value of the securities owned by the fund. For these firms, it is appropriate to attach a discount or premium to the marketable securities to reflect their capacity to generate excess returns on these investments.

A closed-end mutual fund that consistently finds undervalued assets and delivers much higher returns than expected (given the risk) should be valued at a premium on the value of their marketable securities. The amount of the premium will depend upon how large the excess return is and how long you would expect the firm to continue to make these excess returns. Conversely, a closed-end fund that delivers returns that are much lower than expected should trade at a discount on the value of the marketable securities. The stockholders in this fund would clearly be better off if it were liquidated, but that may not be a viable option.

Illustration 16.5: Valuing a closed-end fund

The Pierce Regan Asia fund is a closed-end fund with investments in traded Asian stocks, valued at $4 billion at today's market prices. The fund has earned a return of 13% over the last 10 years, but based upon the riskiness of its investments and the performance of the Asian market over the period, it should have earned 15%. Looking forward, your expected return for the Asian market for the future is 12%, but you expect the Pierce Regan fund to continue to under perform the market by 2%.

To estimate the discount from its net assets you would expect to see on the fund, let us begin by assuming that the fund will continue in perpetuity and earning 2% less than the return on the market index also in perpetuity.

_ (Excess Return)(Fund Value) Expected return on the market

0.12

On a percent basis, the discount represents 16.67% of the market value of the investments. [NOTE: There is a short cut: % discount = —0-12 _ -16.67% ]

0.12

If you assume that the fund will either be liquidated or begin earning the expected return at a point in the future - say 10 years from now - the expected discount will become smaller.

Holdings in Other Firms

In this category, you consider a broader category of non-operating assets, where you look at holdings in other companies, public as well as private. You begin by looking at the differences in accounting treatment of different holdings and how this treatment can affect the way they are reported in financial statements.

Accounting Treatment

The way in which these assets are valued depends upon the way the investment is categorized and the motive behind the investment. In general, an investment in the securities of another firm can be categorized as a minority, passive investment; a minority, active investment; or a majority, active investment, and the accounting rules vary depending upon the categorization. Minority, Passive Investments

If the securities or assets owned in another firm represent less than 20% of the overall ownership of that firm, an investment is treated as a minority, passive investment. These investments have an acquisition value, which represents what the firm originally paid for the securities, and often a market value. Accounting principles require that these assets be sub-categorized into one of three groups - investments that will be held to maturity, investments that are available for sale and trading investments. The valuation principles vary for each.

• For investments that will be held to maturity, the valuation is at historical cost or book value and interest or dividends from this investment are shown in the income statement.

• For investments that are available for sale, the valuation is at market value, but the unrealized gains or losses are shown as part of the equity in the balance sheet and not in the income statement. Thus, unrealized losses reduce the book value of the equity in the firm and unrealized gains increase the book value of equity.

• For trading investments, the valuation is at market value and the unrealized gains and losses are shown in the income statement.

Firms are allowed an element of discretion in the way they classify investments and, subsequently, in the way they value these assets. This classification ensures that firms such as investment banks, whose assets are primarily securities held in other firms for purposes of trading, revalue the bulk of these assets at market levels each period. This is called marking-to-market and provides one of the few instances in which market value trumps book value in accounting statements. Minority, Active Investments

If the securities or assets owned in another firm represent between 20% and 50% of the overall ownership of that firm, an investment is treated as a minority, active investment. While these investments have an initial acquisition value, a proportional share (based upon ownership proportion) of the net income and losses made by the firm in which the investment was made is used to adjust the acquisition cost. In addition, the dividends received from the investment reduce the acquisition cost. This approach to valuing investments is called the equity approach.

The market value of these investments is not considered until the investment is liquidated, at which point the gain or loss from the sale, relative to the adjusted acquisition cost is shown as part of the earnings in that period.

Majority, Active Investments

If the securities or assets owned in another firm represent more than 50% of the overall ownership of that firm, an investment is treated as a majority active investment7. In this case, the investment is no longer shown as a financial investment but is instead replaced by the assets and liabilities of the firm in which the investment was made. This approach leads to a consolidation of the balance sheets of the two firms, where the assets and liabilities of the two firms are merged and presented as one balance sheet. The share of the firm that is owned by other investors is shown as a minority interest on the liability side of the balance sheet. A similar consolidation occurs in the other financial statements of the firm as well, with the statement of cash flows reflecting the cumulated cash inflows and outflows of the combined firm. This is in contrast to the equity approach, used for minority active investments, in which only the dividends received on the investment are shown as a cash inflow in the cash flow statement.

Here again, the market value of this investment is not considered until the ownership stake is liquidated. At that point, the difference between the market price and the net value of the equity stake in the firm is treated as a gain or loss for the period.

Valuing Cross Holdings in other Firms

Given that the holdings in other firms can accounted for in three different ways, how do you deal with each type of holding in valuation? The best way to deal with each of them is exactly the same. You would value the equity in each holding separately and estimate the value of the proportional holding. This would then be added on to the value of the equity of the parent company. Thus, to value a firm with minority holdings in three other firms, you would value the equity in each of these firms, take the percent share of the equity in each and add it to the value of equity in the parent company.

When income statements are consolidated, you would first need to strip the income, assets and debt of the subsidiary from the parent company's financials before you do any of the above. If you do not do so, you will double count the value of the subsidiary.

Why, you might ask, do we not value the consolidated firm? You could, and in some cases because of the absence of information, you might have to. The reason we would suggest separate valuations is that the parent and the subsidiaries may have very different characteristics - costs of capital, growth rates and reinvestment rates. Valuing the combined firm under these circumstances may yield misleading results. There is another reason. Once you have valued the consolidated firm, you will have to subtract out the portion of the equity in the subsidiary that the parent company does not own. If you have not valued the subsidiary separately, it is not clear how you would do this. Note that the conventional practice of netting out the minority interest does not accomplish this, because minority interest reflects book rather than market value.

As a firm's holdings become more numerous, estimating the values of the holdings will become more onerous. If the holdings are publicly traded, substituting in the market values of the holdings for estimated value is an alternative worth exploring. While you risk building into your valuation any mistakes the market might be making in valuing these holdings, this approach is more time efficient.

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