Comparable Companies Analysis
Comparable companies analysis (“comparable companies” or “trading comps”) is one of the primary methodologies used for valuing a given focus company, division, business, or collection of assets (“target”). It provides a market benchmark against which a banker can establish valuation for a private company or analyze the value of a public company at a given point in time. Comparable companies has a broad range of applications, most notably for various mergers & acquisitions (M&A) situations, initial public offerings (IPOs), restructurings, and investment decisions.
The foundation for trading comps is built upon the premise that similar companies provide a highly relevant reference point for valuing a given target due to the fact that they share key business and financial characteristics, performance drivers, and risks. Therefore, the banker can establish valuation parameters for the target by determining its relative positioning among peer companies. The core of this analysis involves selecting a universe of comparable companies for the target (“comparables universe”). These peer companies are benchmarked against one another and the target based on various financial statistics and ratios. Trading multiples are then calculated for the universe, which serve as the basis for extrapolating a valuation range for the target. This valuation range is calculated by applying the selected multiples to the target’s relevant financial statistics.