Rod (not his real name) owns a profitable healthcare services business. 虽然只有37岁, he has assembled an organization and methodology that no longer requires his active involvement in the business. He called me for advice after receiving an unsolicited call from a private equity group. 他解释说,“The lady who called me told me they were acquiring businesses like mine, and that their recent deals were in the range of 6 to 7 times EBITDA.罗德继续说道，But that confused me because a friend from school just sold his physical therapy business in Oklahoma City, 他告诉我他的收入是我的三倍. So how do I make sense of multiples, or is it just hocus pocus to confuse me?”
Rod is right, understanding business valuation techniques is confusing. In fact, I know many business intermediaries who don’t really know how it works. 我是这样向罗德解释的。”在现实中, there is only one metric that ever matters to a buyer, 它不是EBITDA的倍数, 收入之类的东西. The only metric that matters to a buyer is return on invested capital. Let me repeat, the only metric that matters to a buyer is return on invested capital.”
Yep, that’s right, multiples of something (EBITDA or revenue) do not matter in a business valuation. A multiple is only a shorthand expression of a more complicated formula, return on invested capital. 它是这样工作的, let’s say your business has EBITDA of $2 million and you hear that multiples in your industry are 6 to 7 times EBITDA. You’d assume your valuation is $12 to $14 million. 但事情是这样的, buyers don’t want you to know their target return on invested capital; if you know how a buyer actually evaluates a deal, you’ll quickly figure out that multiples often mask what the buyer will really pay.
Let’s go behind the curtain for a moment. Financial buyers raise capital from entities that want a return for the investment risk they are taking. 没有人会告诉你这些, but these investors generally need to see a 30% annual return on that investment. How this translates into what they’ll pay for Rod’s business is a function of the capital structure they put on the deal, meaning the amount that is debt and the amount that is equity (a.k.a., invested capital), and the growth rate of the company.
因为这一切会让人很困惑, and since the buyer doesn’t want the 卖方 to know how they really look at deals, 一切都被简化为倍数. The buyer assumes the less the 卖方 knows about how they think, the better the deal they can make. If the 卖方 is mesmerized by the hocus pocus of multiples, the buyer will win every time. But if the 卖方 knows the buyer’s targeted return on invested capital, 他们预期的债务/权益比率, and their projected growth rate for the business, 卖方可以计算, 以相当的精确度, 买家能为这笔生意支付多少钱. The end of hocus pocus would be good for 卖方s but not buyers. So don’t count on it happening anytime soon. The only way to protect yourself is to retain a capable intermediary who understands how valuations really work and has the intellectual heft to negotiate with the buyer.
JIM CUMBEE is President of 田纳西河谷集团, Inc. a retainer-based business brokerage and transition mediation firm 在富兰克林,TN. Cumbee is an attorney and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. 吉姆是这本书的作者 韦德体育app官网 Run, A Pro’s Guide to Selling a Business. http://www.amazon.com/Home-Pros-Guide-Selling-Business/dp/1599329239 . He has a wide range of corporate 和企业家ial experiences that make him one of the most sought-after business transition advisors in the state of Tennessee. 上述原则是正确的, 但是故事, names and fact patterns are changed to preserve the parties’ identities.