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Equivalence of the Different Discounted Cash Flow Valuation Methods

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Equivalence of the different discounted cash flow valuation methods.
Different alternatives for determining the discounted value of tax shields and their implications for the valuation∗
Pablo Fernández PricewaterhouseCoopers Professor of Corporate Finance IESE Business School, University of Navarra Camino del Cerro del Aguila 3. 28023 Madrid, Spain. E-mail:


This paper addresses the valuation of firms by cash flow discounting. The first part shows that the four most commonly used discounted cash flow valuation methods (free cash flow discounted at the WACC; cash flow for equityholders discounted at the required return on the equity flows; capital cash flow discounted at the WACC before taxes; and Adjusted Present Value) always give the same value. The disagreements in the various theories on the valuation of the firm arise from the calculation of the discounted value of tax shields (VTS). The paper shows and analyses 7 different theories on the calculation of the VTS: Modigliani and Miller (1963), Myers (1974), Miller (1977), Miles and Ezzell (1980), Harris and Pringle (1985), Ruback (1995), Damodaran (1994), and Practitioners method. The paper also shows the changes that take place in the valuation formulas when the debt's market value does not match its book value. JEL Classification: G12, G31, M21

October 16, 2008
(First version: July 2, 1999)

Another version of this paper may be found in chapters 17, 18, 19 and 21 of the author's book Valuation Methods and Shareholder Value Creation, 2002 Academic Press, San Diego, CA. Pablo Fernández. IESE Business School


This paper addresses the valuation of firms by cash flow discounting. The first part shows that the four most commonly used discounted cash flow valuation methods (free cash flow discounted at the WACC; cash flow for equityholders discounted at…...

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