Equity Value vs Enterprise Value

Enterprise Value vs Equity Value – This is one of the most common valuation topics that causes confusion in Equity Research and Investment Banking. In most basic terms, Equity Value is the value only to the shareholders, however, Enterprise value is the value of the firm that accrues to both the shareholders and the debt holders (combined). In this article, we try and demystify the key comparisons between Enterprise Value vs Equity Value.

Below are the topics covered in this article


What is Equity Value?

Equity Value is simply the Value of a firm’s equity i.e. the market Capitalization of the Firm. It can be calculated by multiplying the market value per share by the total number of shares outstanding.

For example, let’s assume Company A has the following characteristics:

Enterprise Value Vs Equity Value - Example 1



Based on the formula above, you can calculate Company A’s Equity value as follows:

$1,000,000 x 50 =  $50,000,000

However, in most cases this is not an accurate reflection of a company’s true value.

What is Enterprise Value?

Enterprise value considers much more than just the value of a company’s outstanding equity. It tells you how much a business is worth. Enterprise value is the theoretical price an acquirer might pay for another firm, and is useful in comparing firms with different capital structures since the value of a firm is unaffected by its choice of capital structure. To buy a company outright, an acquirer would have to assume the acquired company’s debt, though it would also receive all of the acquired company’s cash. Acquiring the debt increases the cost to buy the company, but acquiring the cash reduces the cost of acquiring the company.

  • Enterprise Value  =  Market value of operating assets
  • Equity Value       =  Market value of shareholders’ equity

Enterprise Value Vs Equity Value DiagramNet Debt – Net debt is equal to total debt less cash and cash equivalents.

  • When calculating total debt, be sure you include both the long-term debt and the current portion of long-term debt, or short-term debt. Any in-the-money (ITM) convertible debt is treated as if converted to equity and is not considered debt.
  • When calculating cash and equivalents, you should include such balance sheet items as Available for Sale Securities and Marketable Securities,
  • The market value of debt should be used in the calculation of enterprise value. However, in practice you can usually use the book value of the debt.

Let me explain it with an example. Consider the same company A and an another company B having the same market capitalization. We assume two scenarios, 1 and 2.

Calculate Enterprise Value for Scenario 1.

Enterprise Value Vs Equity Value - Example 2a




Enterprise Value for Company A is Market Capitalization ($50 million) + Debt ($20 million) – Cash and Short term investments ($0) = $70 million. EV for Company B is Market Capitalization ($50 million) + Debt ($0) – Cash and Short term investments ($0) = $50 million.

While both companies have the same market capitalization, the better buy is Company B, or the company with no debt.

Now, consider scenario 2

Enterprise Value Vs Equity Value - Example 2




Calculate Enterprise Value for Scenario 2. EV for Company A is Market Capitalization ($50 million) + Debt ($0) – Cash and Short term investments ($5 million) = $45 million. EV for Company B is Market Capitalization ($50 million) + Debt ($0) – Cash and Short term investments ($15 million) = $35 million.

While both companies have the same market capitalization and no debt, the better deal is Company B as you would assume $15 million in cash upon purchase of the company.

 Equity Value vs Enterprise Value


  • Equity Value
    • Express the value of shareholders’ claims on the assets and cash flows of the business
    • Reflects residual earnings after the payment to creditors, minority shareholders & other non-equity claimants
  • Enterprise Value (EV)
    • Cost of buying the right to the whole of an enterprise’s core cash flow
    • Includes all forms of capital – equity, debt, preferred stock, minority interest 
  • Advantages of Equity Value
    • More relevant to equity valuations
    • More reliable?
    • More familiar to investors
  • Advantages of Enterprise Value
    • Accounting policy differences can be minimized
    • Avoid influence of capital structure
    • Comprehensive
    • Enables to exclude non-core assets
    • Easier to apply to cash flow 

Equity Value vs Enterprise Value Multiples

What is Equity Value Multiple?

The equity value multiples have both the numerator and the denominator as “Equity” measure. Some of the multiples of Equity value multiples are as per below.

Equity Value Multiple

Numerator – Equity Value is Price per share that shareholder’s are expected to pay for a single share of the company under consideration

Denominator – Operating parameters like EPS, CFS, BV etc equity measures. For example EPS – Earnings per share and it reflects the profit per share that accrues to the shareholders.

    • PE Multiple – This ‘headline’ ratio is in essence a payback calculation: it states how many years’ earnings it will take for the investor to recover the price paid for the shares. Other things being equal, when comparing the price of two stocks in the same sector the investor should prefer the one with the lowest PE.
    • PCF Multiple – It is a measure of the market’s expectations of a firm’s future financial health. This measure deals with cash flow, the effects of depreciation and other non-cash factors are removed.
    • P/BV Multiple – Useful measure where tangible assets are the source of value generation. Because of its close linkage to return on equity (price to book is PE multiplied by ROE), it is useful to view price to book value together with ROE
    • P/S Multiple – Price/sales can be useful when a company is loss making or its margins are uncharacteristically low (distressed firms)
    • PEG Multiple – A ratio used to determine stock’s value while taking into account earnings growth. The enterprise value multiples have both the numerator and the denominator as “Pre Debt” and “Pre-Equity” measure. Some of the multiples of Enterprise value multiples are as per below.
What is Enterprise Value or EV Multiples?

Enterprise Value Multiple

Numerator – Enterprise Value is primarily a pre-debt and pre-equity measure as EV reflects values both to the Debtors as well as Shareholders’.

Denominator – Operating parameters like Sales, EBITDA, EBIT, FCF, Capacity are pre-debt and pre-equity measures. For example EBITDA – Earnings “before” Interest tax depreciation and amortization; this implies that EBITDA is measure before the debtors and shareholders are paid off and likewise.

  • EV/EBITDA Multiple – Measure that indicates the value of the overall company, not just equity. EV / EBITDA, is a measure of the cost of a stock which is more frequently valid for comparisons across companies than the price to earnings ratio. Like the P/E ratio, the EV / EBITDA ratio is a measure of how expensive a stock is.
  • EV/Sales Multiple – EV/sales is a crude measure, but least susceptible to accounting differences. It is equivalent to its equity counterpart, price to sales, where company has no debt
  • EV/EBIT Multiple – EBIT is a better measure of ‘free’ (post-maintenance capital spending) cash flow than EBITDA and is more comparable where capital intensities differ.
  • EV/FCF Multiple – EV/FCF is preferable to EV/EBITDA for comparing companies within a sector. Comparing across sectors or markets where companies have widely varying degrees of capital intensity
  • EV/Capacity – Core EV/units of capacity (such as tonnes of cement capacity) or another revenue-generating unit (such as subscribers).


Enterprise Value vs Equity Value – Overvalued or Undervalued?

There are primarily two ways in which fair valuation of the company can be arrived at using Relative Valuation technique. They are Historical Multiple Method and Sector Multiple Method.

Historical Multiple Method

The common approach is to compare the current multiple to a historical multiple measured at a comparable point in the business cycle and macroeconomic environment.

 PE Graph







The interpretations are relatively simpler if we create the Price to Earnings Graph. As noted above, the Foodland Farsi current PE ~ 20x, however, the historical average PE was closer to 8.6x.

Currently, the market is commanding $20/EPS (defined as PE); however, in the past this stock was trading at $8.6/EPS. This implies that the stock is overvalued with PE = 20x, when compared with historical PE = 8.6x and we may recommend SELL position on this stock.

Sector Multiple Method

In this approach we compare current multiples to those of other companies, a sector or a market. Below is a hypothetical example to explain this methodology.

PE Sector Multiple







From the table above, the average PE multiple for IT sector is 20.7x. However, the company under consideration – Infosys is trading at 17.0x. This implies that Infosys is trading below the average sector multiple and a BUY signal is warranted.

Enterprise Value and Equity Value – Comparable Company Analysis

Below is a typical relative valuation table that an analyst is expected to produce as a part of research. The comparison table contains the sector companies and their respective operating and valuation parameters. In most cases, the parameters contained in the table are as per below

  1. Company Name
  2. Latest Price
  3. Market Capitalization
  4. Enterprise Value
  6. Net Income
  7. Valuation Methodologies like PE, EV/EBTIDA, P/CF etc;
  8. Trailing & Forward Multiples are Calculated (2-3 years of multiples)
  • Mean & Median Multiple values

Valuation Comp Table


The procedure to calculate a multiple can be simply summarized as below

Calculating Valuation Multiple

Though the above example is simple, however, for applying the same in real life scenario, one need to establish the value and the value driver and make several adjustments to it. 

In my next valuation series, I have discussed the nuts and bolts of Comparable Company Analysis and Sum of Parts valuation.

Conclusion – Enterprise value vs Equity Value

As we note from the above article that both tools are important from the point of view of Valuations. Equity Value is the value only to the shareholders, however, Enterprise value is the value of the firm that accrues to both the shareholders and the debt holders (combined).

In each company/sector, however, you there are 3-5 multiples (Enterprise value or Equity value or both) can be applied. It is more important for you to know the usage and application of each multiple.


  1. By Jon on

    Thanks for the article.

    When deriving Equity Value from Enterprise Value, should the book value or target value of debt be used?


        • By Dheeraj Vaidya on

          this is because we are trying to value the company “today”. If you are trying to find the target price of the stock in say 1 year from today, then target value of debt (after 1 year, your estimate) can be used.



  2. By kanika on

    I was once asked in the interview ” Why don’t we deduct fixed assets and current assets while calculating EV as we deduct cash balance”. What is the correct answer according to you?


    • By Dheeraj Vaidya on

      Hi Kanika,

      EV = Equity + Debt – Cash. The total enterprise value is the value of the total firm (found by FCFF – DCF). In our projections of FCFF we take changes in Fixed Assets and changes in WC (except cash). FCFF doesn’t take care of Cash in the Balance Sheet. Hence, Cash is reduced, while Fixed Assets and other current assets are not deducted.



    • By Dheeraj on

      Hi Soumen,

      EV = Equity + Debt – Cash. Negative EV can come when either Equity value is low due to lower trading prices, no presence of Debt or low debt and High Cash in the Balance Sheet. Generally, negative EV is not a problem as this situation can come due to very high Cash in the balance sheet. EV is used largely for finding potential M&A as there can be some companies whose shares may got a beating and may be trading at low EV.



    • By Dheeraj on

      You are right Andrew. Relative Valuations, Market approach valuations or Company comparables – all mean one and the same!


      • By Andrew on

        Thanks for that info.
        With regards to your Box IPO and Alibaba IPO model you have used quarterly income statements. Why have you used these together with the year end income statements? If I want to value a company already listed surely I can just use its year-end financials ?


        • By Dheeraj on

          Hi Andrew, yes you can just use the year end financials. in the Box IPO and Alibaba IPO model, i also had quarterly income statements as one approach could be to forecast the income statements on a quarterly basis. Forecasting on a quarterly basis is a robust approach to modeling, however, it takes lot of time. One limitation of quarterly forecast could be that all the financial statements data (Is, BS, CFs) and other revenue drivers may not be available.


    • By Wall Street Mojo on

      Hi Sonal, Mean provides us with the average multiple. Now take an exaggerated case where there are outlier companies who PE are very high (250x) of say very low (PE of 1-2x). If we take these into consideration, these outliers will skew the global average of the overall industry and should be best avoided (as they are not typical of the sector). Median just provides the exact middle point of the PE and help us avoid the problem of such outliers.


      • By sonal on

        Great! So we can say median gives better picture & more reliable to take decisions for analysts and others. On other hand mean gets effected by extremes.


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