Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman : The Bermuda Triangle of Valuation & the big picture

Published on Sep 9, 2015
Today’s class started with a test on whether you can detect the direction bias will take, based on who or why a valuation is done. The solutions are posted online. We then moved on to talk about the three basic approaches to valuation: discounted cash flow valuation, where you estimate the intrinsic value of an asset, relative valuation, where you value an asset based on the pricing of similar assets and option pricing valuation, where you apply option pricing to value businesses. With each approach, we talked about the types of assets that are best priced with that approach and what you need to bring as an analyst/investor to the table. For instance, in our discussion of DCF valuation and how to make it work for you, I suggested that there were two requirements: a long time horizon and the capacity to act as the catalyst for market correction. Since I mentioned Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman as hostile acquirers (catalysts), you may want to look at Herbalife, the company that Ackman has targeted as being over valued and Icahn did for being under valued. See if you can get a list going of how he is trying to be the catalyst for the correction… and think about the dark side of this process. We then started our discussion of intrinsic valuation, with a simple experiment on valuation, which led to three propositions about valuation. In the course of that discussion, I mentioned the weapons of mass distraction that people throw at us, as work through the numbers.

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Start of the class test: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/pd...
Slides for the class: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/po...
Post class test: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/pd...
Post class test solution: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/pd...

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Please note that I do not read comments posted here, nor respond to messages here. I don't have the time. If you want my attention, you must seek it directly at my blog. Aswath Damodaran is the Kerschner Family Chair Professor of Finance at the Stern School of Business at New York University. He teaches the corporate finance and equity valuation courses in the MBA program. He received his MBA and Ph.D from the University of California at Los Angeles. His research interests lie in valuation, portfolio management and applied corporate finance. He has written three books on equity valuation (Damodaran on Valuation, Investment Valuation, The Dark Side of Valuation) and two on corporate finance (Corporate Finance: Theory and Practice, Applied Corporate Finance: A User’s Manual). He has co-edited a book on investment management with Peter Bernstein (Investment Management) and has a book on investment philosophies (Investment Philosophies). His newest book on portfolio management is titled Investment Fables and was released in 2004. His latest book is on the relationship between risk and value, and takes a big picture view of how businesses should deal with risk, and was published in 2007. He was a visiting lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1984 to 1986, where he received the Earl Cheit Outstanding Teaching Award in 1985. He has been at NYU since 1986, received the Stern School of Business Excellence in Teaching Award (awarded by the graduating class) in 1988, 1991, 1992, 1999, 2001, 2007, 2008 and 2009, and was the youngest winner of the University-wide Distinguished Teaching Award (in 1990). He was profiled in Business Week as one of the top twelve business school professors in the United States in 1994.