Distressed Businesses


The standard cost of equity capital models (e.g., the capital asset pricing model [CAPM]) and standard application of a discounted cash flow (DCF) method assume that the business continues as a going concern. However, a company may be distressed. What is distress? While there is no universal definition, one paper defines an industry as distressed if the median sales growth of pure play firms in an industry is negative and the median stock return is −30%.1

Valuations of distressed companies differ from other valuations.2

First, distress risk indicators are not released at scheduled times (unlike financial statements). There are no universally accepted indicators of distress, and distress risk must be estimated from a variety of sources, including market and accounting data; relevant information likely is changing, sometimes rapidly. Monitoring the changing conditions can be a challenging task.

Second, standard ...

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