Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) as an investment opportunity by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.
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 want to learn more about discounted cash flow, the rationale behind this calculation can be read in detail in the Simply Wall St analysis model.
Step by step through the calculation
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 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 discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$2.54b||US$7.30b||US$9.78b||US$11.4b||US$12.6b||US$13.6b||US$14.5b||US$15.2b||US$15.9b||US$16.4b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x9||Analyst x8||Analyst x3||Analyst x3||Est @ 10.53%||Est @ 8.04%||Est @ 6.29%||Est @ 5.07%||Est @ 4.22%||Est @ 3.62%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 8.9%||US$2.3k||US$6.2k||US$7.6k||US$8.1k||US$8.2k||US$8.2k||US$8.0k||US$7.7k||US$7.4k||US$7.0k|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$71b
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 (2.2%) 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 8.9%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$16b× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (8.9%– 2.2%) = US$251b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$251b÷ ( 1 + 8.9%)10= US$107b
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$177b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$129, the company appears reasonably expensive at the time of writing. 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 Walt Disney 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 8.9%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.113. 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.
Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and 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. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. 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. What is the reason for the share price exceeding the intrinsic value? For Walt Disney, we've put together three important factors you should assess:
- Risks: For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Walt Disney that you should be aware of before investing here.
- Future Earnings: How does DIS'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 Solid Businesses: Low debt, high returns on equity and good past performance are fundamental to a strong business. Why not explore our interactive list of stocks with solid business fundamentals to see if there are other companies you may not have considered!
PS. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NYSE every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.
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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