Valuation: From The Discounted Cash Flows (DCF) Approach To The Real Options Approach (ROA)

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Cecilia Maya Ochoa

Keywords

Real Options, Valuation, Discounted Cash Flows, Net Present Value, Capital Budgeting

Abstract

There exists an abysm between market prices and traditional valuation approaches such as Discounted Cash Flows (DCF), a fact that neither academics nor practitioners could continue ignoring. Recently, a complementary approach has taken a foothold into the valuation world. Building on the DCF approach yet going further in the sense of incorporating flexibility in management investment decisions, and taking advantage of the advances in option pricing theory, the real options approach (ROA) has become the alternative to capital budgeting and, lately, to corporate valuation. Empirical evidence shows that ROA explains actual prices better than DCF approaches and nowadays there is no question that from a theoretical point of view, ROA is a much more appealing concept than passive NPV. However, its acceptance by practitioners has been very slow due to the complexity of real options pricing.

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