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Strabo Glossary: Terminal Value

Terminal Value


In finance and business valuation, the "terminal value" (TV) refers to the estimated value of an investment or a business at the end of a specific time period, often representing a significant portion of its overall value. It is also known as the "residual value" or the "continuing value."

The concept of terminal value is commonly used in various financial models, such as discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis, to estimate the total value of an investment or a business beyond the projection period. In DCF analysis, cash flows are projected into the future, and since it is impractical to forecast cash flows indefinitely, a terminal value is calculated to capture the value of the investment or business beyond the projection period.

Methods of Calculation

There are different methods to calculate terminal value, with the two most widely used approaches being the perpetuity growth method and the exit multiple method:

  1. Perpetuity Growth Method: This method assumes that the cash flows generated by the investment or business will grow at a constant rate indefinitely into the future. The terminal value is calculated as follows:

    Terminal Value = Final Year Cash Flow * (1 + Growth Rate) / (Discount Rate - Growth Rate)

    Here, the growth rate is the expected long-term growth rate of the cash flows, and the discount rate is the required rate of return or the discount rate used in the DCF analysis.

  1. Exit Multiple Method: In this method, a multiple (such as earnings multiple or EBITDA multiple) is applied to a financial metric, such as earnings or cash flow, at the end of the projection period. The terminal value is calculated as:

    Terminal Value = Final Year Financial Metric * Exit Multiple

    The exit multiple is typically based on comparable companies' valuation metrics or industry standards.

In Summary

Terminal value can significantly impact the overall valuation of an investment or business in a DCF analysis. It represents the value of the investment or business beyond the forecast period and is an essential consideration for investors and analysts when evaluating long-term investments or valuing a company. However, it is crucial to exercise caution when using terminal value calculations and ensure that the assumptions made are reasonable and based on sound analysis.

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