Valuation of Service Companies with Intangible Assets

The Case of the Deutsche Telekom

Master's Thesis, 2015

88 Pages, Grade: 65%


Table of Content


1 Introduction
1.1 Choice of subject

2 Literature Review
2.1 Discounted Cash Flow Valuation
2.2 Equity DCF Model: The Dividend Discount Model (DDM)
2.3 Relative Valuation
2.4 SensitivityAnalysis
2.5 IntangibleAssets
2.5.1 Intangible Assets in Valuation
2.6 Problem Discussion
2.7 Problem Formulation
2.8 Summary of Literature Review

3 Research Methodology
3.1 Research Objectives
3.1.1 Methods and Access Research Philosophy Research Approach Research Strategy Population and Sampling
3.2 Literature and Data Collection
3.2.1 Primary Literature
3.2.2 Secondary Literature
3.2.3 Primary and Secondary Data
3.2.4 Analysis of Results
3.3 Reliability and Validity
3.4 Limitations
3.5 Research Ethics
3.6 Summary ofTheoretical Methodology

4 The Telecommunication Industry
4.1 Overview
4.2 Key companies
4.3 Trends and Developments
4.4 Porter’s five forces
4.4.1 Threat of new entrants
4.4.2 Bargaining Power ofSuppliers
4.4.3 Bargaining Power of Buyers
4.4.4 Threat of substitutes
4.4.5 Competitive Rivalry within the Industry

5 Deutsche Telekom
5.1 Profile
5.1.1 Structure
5.1.2 Key Financial Data
5.1.3 Strategy
5.1.4 Forecast
5.1.5 IPO of 1996
5.2 Financial Ratio Analysis
5.2.1 Management Performance Margin Ratios Return on Investment Ratios Asset Utilisation Ratios
5.2.2 Financial Strength Long-Term Solvency Risk Ratios Short-Term Liquidity Risk Ratios
5.3 Summary of the Findings

6 Valuation
6.1 IntrinsicValuation
6.1.1 Model chosen
6.1.2 Input Factors
6.1.3 FCFF Calculation
6.1.4 Sensitivity Analysis
6.1.5 Dividend Discount Valuation
6.2 Relative Valuation

7 Conclusion


Appendix 1: Financial Ratio Analysis
Appendix 2: Cost of Equity calculation
Appendix 3: Average Maturity Calculation
Appendix 4: R&D Converter
Appendix 5: Valuation Output FCFF
Appendix 6: DDM Model Input
Appendix 7: DDM Model Output
Appendix 8: Relative Valuation


Figure 1: Market cap of DT, AT&T and Vodafone

Figure 2: Organisational Structure of DT

Figure 3: Key financial Data ofDT:

Figure 4: Strategy of DT

Figure 5: Gross Operating Margin. Source: own work

Figure 6: Net Operating Margin. Source: own work

Figure 7: Net Profit Margin. Source: own work

Figure 8: Return on Equity. Source: own work

Figure 9: Return on Capital Employed. Source: own work

Figure 10: Total Asset Turnover. Source: own work

Figure 11: Receivables Turnover. Source: own work

Figure 12: Debt to Equity. Source: own work

Figure 13: Dividend Cover. Source: own work

Figure 14: Current Ratio. Source: own work

Figure 15: Share Price Movement of DT

1 Introduction

The valuation of a company as a whole is associated with insecurities and difficulties because there are many factors that have to be considered. According to the theory the company valuation should consist of the following phases: business analysis, accounting and financial analysis, forecasting and the valuation itself (Soffer, 2003). The forecasting is the most insecure part because it is based on assumptions about the company’s future performance done by the evaluator. This insecurity can be reduced to a certain amount by accurately analysing the company and its environment which may affect the future performance (Damodaran, 2012a). Basically, there are four approaches towards valuation: Discounted cash flow, liquidation and accounting valuation, relative valuation and book value or sales (Damodaran, 2006). The cash flow valuation method discounts the future cash flows of an asset to the present value. This approach is also the most popular one in practice and most taught approach in universities and business schools (Keuleneer and Verhoog, 2003) and therefore gives confidence to use this technique in the research.

As the developed countries move from manufacturing to service based economies more and more companies gain value from intangible assets. This resulted in an increase of the share of intangible assets in relation to the balance sheet total significantly over the last decades (Damodaran, 2009). Intangible assets range from human capital to technological patents and are more difficult to value with a cash flow based valuation. Difficulties arise from miscategorising cash flows towards these assets between operating and capital expenditures. These firms are also more likely to use restricted stock and options to compensate employees. The accounting treatment ofthis can also affect earnings and cash flows and therefore as well a cash flow based valuation (Damodaran, 2009).

Deutsche Telekom (DT) has a significant amount of intangible assets, as well as other telecommunication providers. Almost 40% of the total assets are intangible (Deutsche Telekom, 2015) and as pointed out in the previous paragraph, these assets can harbour risks in the case of a valuation. DT’s main competitors AT&T and Vodafone also have a great share in intangible assets in their balance sheets. Their balance sheet consists of46% (AT&T, 2015) and 48% (Vodafone, 2015) of intangible assets respectively. This has led to the following research question: How does the high amount of intangible assets in the telecommunication sector affect the firm’s value? The hypothesis is formed as followed: Telecom companies with a high ratio of intangible assets are more likely to be wrong valued by the market.

Firm valuation is considered to be partly art and partly science. The works of Abraham (2001), Koller etal. (2005) and Link and Boger (1999), with the title The Art and Science in Valuation are implicating the importance of valuation and the discussion about its scientific approach. Unlike relative valuation with multiples the intrinsic valuation is cash flow based and the foundation on which most other valuation approaches are built on (Damodaran, 2012a). Given this basis the models can be divided into two groups: the dividend discount model (DDM) and the discounted cash flow model (DCF) (Koller et al., 2005). Under these valuation types the value of the company is simply the net present value (PV) of future cash flows (Torrez et al., 2006). The DDM model is used for constantly dividend paying companies. The models can be used to value a whole company with all its assets. Therefore they are also suitable for companies with a high ratio of intangible assets. The work is built on the following research objectives:

1. To identify intangible assets and describe their role in service companies.
2. To link intangible assets to the methods of valuation with the help of accounting standards.
3. To analyse the company’s financial data and strategy with the main objective to set the right assumption for key figures in the valuation itself.
4. To conduct several DCF valuations with sensitivity analysis, both regarding the equity of the company (DDM valuation) and the enterprise as a whole to find a true and fair value for DT.
5. To compare the DCF results with a relative valuation.
6. Show the value gap and link it to the intangible assets.
7. Suggest fine tuning possibilities of DCF valuation models to increase their accuracy when valuing telecom companies.

1.1 Choice ofsubject

The choice to write about valuation methods with the focus on intangible assets was based on a founded interest during the studies of Financial Decision Making in the last term of the academic year of the MSc studies in Financial Management. Company valuation is a current matter with a high demand in the world of finance. Mergers and acquisitions require the knowledge of financial valuation. Due to low base interest rates investors are pushed towards more risky assets such as stocks and therefore also have the need for company valuation.

2 Literature Review

2.1 Discounted Cash FlowValuation

To obtain the value of the company with the DCF model all future cash flows of the firm have to be identified, estimated and discounted to their present value (Penman, 2009). Cash flows are generated by the company’s assets. In a perfect world these variables should produce identical results. However results will vary because different variables suggest different estimates of expected future cash flows which then result in different market value.

In practice there are four different variants of DCF models in use. The first approach discounts expected cash flows of an asset or business with a risk-adjusted discount rate to receive the present value. In the second approach the cash flows are getting adjusted by risk to arrive at certainty equivalent cash flows which then being discounted at a risk-free rate to obtain the present value of a risky asset. In the third approach the business gets valued first without the effects of debt. After the first valuation the positive and negative effects of borrowing money will be taking into the calculation. This is called the adjusted present value approach. The last approach values a company as a function of excess returns which are expected to be generated on its investments (Damodaran, 2006). The first approach is the most used one in practice and therefore will be used in the dissertation.

This approach can be conducted in two different ways. The first is to value the firm as a whole with all its assets, which is called firm or enterprise valuation. The free cash flow to firm (FCFF) is calculated before debt payments and after the reinvestment needs. The discount rate for these cash flows reflect the cost of raising both debt and equity financing in proportion to their ratio in the particular case, the so called weighted average cost of capital (WACC). The WACC includes the assumption that the cost of capital compromises the tax benefits of borrowing and the expected bankruptcy costs. The cash flow at the end of the calculation are the cash flows to the firm, calculated as if the firm wouldn’t had any liabilities and no tax benefits from interest expenses (Damodaran, 2006). Miller and Modigliani (1958) laid the ground work for this valuation with their most cited paper in finance in which they wrote that the value of a firm can be expressed as the present value of its after-tax operating cash flows:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Xt is are the operating earnings after taxes and It are the investments the company did into their assets in year t, the so called reinvestment rate (Damodaran, 2006). The most used definition of the after tax operating cash flow is the FCFF which is: Free cash flow to firm = After-tax operating income - (Capital expenditures - depreciation) - change in non-cash working capital

This cash flow doesn’t include any debt payments, in contrast to the free cash flow to equity which his after interest payments and debt cash flows (Damodaran, 2006). The advantage in that case is that changes in the financing mix can easily built into the valuation through the discount rate rather than through changing and recalculating the cash flows which would be more difficult and would also bear higher chances of human error.

The DCF model calculations will include a high growth rate of the companies and a period of steady growth resulting in the terminal value of the company. This 2-stage model allows the valuation to be more accurate in terms of real company growth rates.

The second is to value only the equity stake within the company, which is called equity valuation (Damodaran, 2006). The discount rate reflects only the cost of financing the company’s equity. The cash flows after debt payments and reinvestments are the free cash flow to equity (FCFE). This approach will be introduced in the next chapter.

Crucial input factors of the model are the time horizon for the cash flows, the calculation of cash flows for the future and current period, a growth rate for the cash flows and a discount rate to calculate the PV of the cash flows (Luerman, 1997; Nunnally, 2006, Ribal et al., 2010). An element of the discount rate is the cost of equity (Damodaran, 2012a) which is calculated with the capital asset pricing model (CAPM). The CAPM is calculated with the formula:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Good and current research for equity risk premiums is available and will be used for the CAPM (Damodaran, 2015a). This approach is suitable for large and publicly traded company since it requires the beta as an input factor (Sim et al., 2010). The beta is calculated according to this formula:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

The full DCF model valuation with all compulsory side calculation, like the CAPM mentioned above, will be constructed to fit to the case study of DT, AT&T and Vodafone with Microsoft Excel.

2.2 Equity DCF Model: The Dividend Discount Model (DDM)

The DDM model is similar to the DCF (FCFF) model whereas it determines the company value as the PV of expected future dividend payments (Brealey et al., 2009) because they are considered to be cash flows to equity (Damodaran, 2006). According to Michaud et al. (1982) the DDM is a model to improve the process of stock valuation. It is also the oldest form of discounted cash flow valuation (Damodaran, 2006).

The basis of this model is that the value of a stock is the present value of dividends through infinity:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

E(DPSt) are the expected dividends per share in period t and ke is the cost equity. Assumptions have to be made to obtain the expected dividends per share. The cost of equity is gained in connection with the market beta in the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) (Damodaran, 2006).

DT is known as a company with consistent dividend payments over the last years. Due to these facts this model is suitable to concur an additional view and a second company value. This way the author creates a range of possible values for the company. As well as the DCF calculation, this model will also be conducted in Microsoft Excel.

2.3 Relative Valuation

Benninga et al. (1997) advise to use more than one valuation method when estimating the firm value. In relative valuation, “the value of an asset is compared to the values assessed by the market for similar or comparable assets” (Damodaran, 2015b). This is the reason why the relative valuation method has been taken into account additionally to the fundamental DCF and DDM valuation. Some steps have to be done prior to conducting a relative valuation. Comparable assets (firms) have to be identified. In this case the comparable firms to DT are AT&T and Vodafone. Then these market values have to be converted into standardised values because absolute prices cannot be compared (Damodaran, 2015b). This process creates price multiples. By comparing the standardised values and controlling for any differences between the companies it is possible to judge if the firm is under or over valued by the market.

In this type of valuation multiples will be used to compare DT, AT&T and Vodafone to each other and the industry average as well. This way of valuation is more simple and easier to implement than fundamental valuation (Nissim, 2011) but therefore the result isn’t as conclusive as and more biased than the result from the DCF and DDM valuation (Damodaran, 2012a). However, looking in the practice shows that relative valuation using multiples is very popular on Wall Street. “Almost 85 % of equity research reports are based upon a multiple and comparable” (Damodaran, 2015b). In the large industry of M&A more than 50 % of all acquisitions valuations are based upon multiples (Damodaran, 2015b). This wide spread use of this form of valuation justifies the use of this valuation technique in the dissertation. The additional view on value will be beneficial in terms oftangibility of the valuation results.

2.4 Sensitivity Analysis

According to Brealey et al. (2007) and Koller et al. (2005) it is essential to perform a sensitivity analysis in order to estimate the model’s robustness to changes of input factors under different assumptions. The sensitivity analysis tries to ascertain the impact of change in outcome for the change in inputs. It will give a view of the effects of various inputs to the final valuation result and also a view on the impact which each input factor has. This will be done by generating optimistic and pessimistic scenarios for the cost of capital and the company’s growth rate. Considering the German situation of very low interest rates (Bloomberg, 2015a) and therefore a low calculated cost of debt gives potential to change assumptions in the WACC model. The WACC is the key driver of the DCF valuation model and can change the results significantly. Therefore it will be of special observation during the research and the sensitivity analysis.

2.5 Intangible Assets

Intangible assets can be defined as “non-physical assets that allow an enterprise to earn profits above the profits the enterprise would have earned with only its physical assets. Intangible assets help the enterprise to prevail and succeed in a competitive environment” (Boos, 2003). Many publicly traded firms derive a great part of their value from intangible assets. A study performed by Handelsblatt (KPMG, 2009) in 2008 examined 127 German companies which participate in the capital market highlights the importance of intangible assets. For 26.8 % of the companies analysed, the value of the goodwill accounted for more than 50 % of the company’s equity. A study from Nakamura (1999) from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia provided three different kinds of measurement of the significance of intangible assets in the economy. First, an accounting estimate for the value of the investments in research and development (R&D), brand development, software and other intangible assets. Second, the salaries paid to the technicians, researchers and other creative employees who create the intangible assets. Third, the improvements to intangible factors. With all this three approaches he estimated the investments done in intangible assets to excess $ 1 trillion in 2000 and that the capitalised value of these intangible assets will excess $ 6 trillion in the same year (Damodaran, 2009).

Intangible assets are a key driver in shareholder value in the case of IPO’s of companies who don’t have history in earnings. Intangible assets also play a major role in the case of mergers and acquisitions. Accounting standards have changed significantly for companies reporting under the US GAAP and IFRS frameworks.

SFAS 141 in 2001 and IFRS 3 in conjunction with IAS 38 in 2004 require a buyer to account for all purchased assets and contingent and assumed liabilities on a fair value basis. The assets are valued on the date of acquisition (KPMG, 2009). In consequence, the buyer must disclose not only assets which have been already recognised on the target’s balance sheet but also previously unrecognised intangible assets like product and company brands and research and development projects which have to be fair valued for the first time. The accounting standards of intangible assets are in general a topic of discussion. Since the last decades there has been a discussion about accounting and reporting intangible assets and often techniques have been criticised (Uzma, 2012).

Firms with intangible assets are on the one hand diverse, but share some characteristics which they have in common on the other hand. These common aspects are for example visible in the accounting treatment of intangible assets. There is an accounting inconsistency in separating capital expenses from capital expenses. Accounting principles would suggest that any expenses which generate benefits only in the current year are operating expenses whereas expenses which generate benefits over many years are considered capital expenses (Damodaran, 2009). This rule is easy to apply in manufacturing companies when investments in plant, equipment and buildings are capital expenses and investments in raw material and labour are operating expenses. However, when it comes to service firms with a high ratio of intangible assets this rule is more difficult to implement in practice and more miscategorising in accounting occurs. The most important capital expenditures invested by technology and pharmaceutical companies are in R&D, by consulting companies in training and recruiting personnel and by consumer product firms in brand name and advertisement. Accountants used the argument that the benefits of these investments are too uncertain therefore they were treated as operating expenses. Consequently, firms with intangible assets in their balance sheet report small capital expenditures in relation their growth potential and size (Damodaran, 2009). Firms with intangible assets tend to be much heavier users of options and equity compensation towards their employees. On the one hand it is in general and on the one hand can be attributed towards the fact where these companies stand in their life cycle. Another explanation for this kind of employee compensation is the degree of which these companies are dependent on retaining human capital within the firm (Damodaran, 2009).

2.5.1 Intangible Assets in Valuation

The mal-categorisation of capital- and operating expenses and equity based compensation create problems when valuing these companies.

The flawed accounting treatment of intangible assets changes current earnings and current book values. Both are input factors for the DCF models of valuation. The reported earnings oftechnology companies represent the earnings after reinvestment in R&D and not the true operating earnings. Additionally the book value of the assets and equity will be understated because the largest assets for these companies are off the book. The accounting treatment of investments in intangible assets affects the growth rate and therefore the valuation itself. The reinvestment is often combined within the operating expenses rather than reported separately as capital expenditures. Additionally, intangible assets bear greater risks than tangible assets in cases of a loss in reputation or general trouble of the company. Intangible assets like human capital can dissipate overnight and diminish the value of the company rapidly (Damodaran, 2009).

2.6 Problem Discussion

The asset composition of publicly traded companies has significantly changed since the 1980’s. The book value has decreased while the amount of intangible assets has increased in relation to the market value. It is a well-known and accepted fact that intangible assets go beyond the market value of tangible assets (Lev and Daum, 2004). However, enterprise valuation uses only financial data given by the company’s annual reports and general information provided by financial information service providers. Both types of valuation, the DCF model and the relative valuation are based upon the fact that value is an increasing function of future pay-offs (Liu et al., 2002). It is likely that the valuation itself would become more accurate by using additional variables which are connected to intangible assets and their future earnings. For this, a connection has to be created between the outcomes of the different types of valuation and the amount and type of intangible assets in the company’s balance sheet.

Pérez-Rodriguez et al. (2012) and Pauwels et al. (2004) conducted studies on this fields in the pharmaceutical and the automobile industry. Companies in the pharmaceutical industry were examined and how the approval of new drugs, pre- and clinical trial results, recalls and withdrawals affected the daily stock price over 18 years of evaluation period. It was significantly that only a small amount of new drug introductions resulted in abnormal price change of the stock (Pérez-Rodriguez et al., 2012). The findings in the automobile industry were similar. New product introductions had a very small impact on the short term value of the stock. However, there was a connection 8 times stronger between new product introductions and firm value after 6 months from production start. A reason behind this could be that new production introductions were already priced in the stock and expected whereas the consumer reaction information expands over time and affects the stock price at a later point in time (Pauweles et al., 2004).

This shows the measurement problem of intangible assets. Their effect on the stock price and the value of the company are difficult to estimate and can lead to large gaps between calculated value and actual market value of the stock. History has shown that the intercepted values of these companies have repeatedly been mistaken (Sullivan, 2000).

2.7 Problem Formulation

The aim ofthe research is to get a better understanding of intangible assets and their role in enterprise valuation of companies within the telecommunication sector. This industry has been chosen due to several reasons. The major reason is that companies, especially the three companies of this research, have a high amount of intangibles in their balance sheets. The industry itself is shaped by a fast moving innovation turnover and more important, mergers and acquisitions. Every M&A requires a company valuation to estimate a price for the company with all its assets, liabilities and equity. Reasons for a valuation gap between the market value and the perceived value of a valuation of some kind have to be argued for. This will be the angle of this research: Finding a connection between intangible assets and enterprise valuation within the telecommunication service providing industry. Further information and details on how and why the research will be conducted can be found in the methodology part of the dissertation.

2.8 Summary of Literature Review

The valuation of a company may have different purposes. Mergers and acquisitions, IPOs and share pricing for investment decisions are the major reasons for enterprise valuation. In a period of a shift from manufacturing to service companies intangible assets gain a more important role in the economy. The value driven from these intangibles affects the market perception of the company which holds these assets in their balance sheet. But how these assets should be valued and treated is unclear. The literature review has shown that valuing intangible assets can be difficult due to the fact that this special case of assets bears risks which are not totally clear and visible in the first instance of valuation. The research’s goal is to identify the connection between the ratio and the types of intangible assets in the balance sheets to their repercussions on enterprise valuation. Given this connection it is desired to conclude the research with suggestions for fine tuning the DCF valuation methods to give more accurate results in the case of valuing telecommunication service providing companies.

3 Research Methodology

The literature review has revealed a research gap in the case of valuing telecommunication service providing companies because of the high ratio of intangible assets in their balance sheets and their treatment within the DCF model valuation. Regarding the literature review the research will answer the following question: How does the high amount of intangible assets in the telecommunication sector affect the firm’s value? After reviewing the literature the hypothesis is developed as followed: Telecom companies with a high ratio of intangible assets are more likely to be wrong valued by the market.

This difference in values should be discovered by finding a gap between the actual share price and the share price calculated with the given DCF models and relative valuations of the three telecommunication companies.

Telecommunication service providers have been chosen for several reasons. First, it is an industry with a high use of intangible assets. Second, the industry itself is at a crossroad. A case study in the module Business Strategy has shown that telecom providers have to change their business model in order to be able to be competitive in the future (DT case study, 2015). This particular case study was about the strategy of Deutsche Telekom. The industry itself is shaped by dropping margins and mergers and acquisitions. The case of DT was exciting and showed how fast moving the industry is and what advantages and disadvantages this bears in itself. The comparing companies have been chosen according to their role in the industry. All three have a major market share and are the key driver within the industry. Finding differentiations between the companies will be very worthy for the research.

The following chapters describe how the research was conducted and what types of limitations occurred in the course of the dissertation.

3.1 Research Objectives

The specific objectives underpinning this research are the following:

8. To identify intangible assets and describe their role in service companies.
9. To link intangible assets to the methods of valuation with the help of accounting standards.
10. To analyse the company’s financial data and strategy with the main objective to set the right assumption for key figures in the valuation itself.
11. To conduct several DCF valuations with sensitivity analysis, both regarding the equity of the company (DDM valuation) and the enterprise as a whole to find a true and fair value for DT.
12. To compare the DCF results with a relative valuation.
13. Show the value gap and link it to the intangible assets.
14. Suggest fine tuning possibilities of DCF valuation models to increase their accuracy when valuing telecom companies.

3.1.1 Methods and Access Research Philosophy

The research philosophy builds the frame around the whole dissertation and the research process. It “is an over-arching term relating to the development of knowledge and the nature of that knowledge” (Saunders et al., 2009). For this research the positivism research philosophy has been used. A controlled and structural approach, in this case a deductive analytical approach, is used in that philosophy to identify a clear research topic, constructing an appropriate hypothesis and adopting a suitable research methodology (Churchill, 1996; Carson et al., 2001). The concept of firm valuation already implies the use of a positivism research philosophy because statistical and mathematical techniques are a key part of that philosophy. It adheres to a specifically structured research technique to uncover single and objective reality (Carson et al., 2001). Research Approach

The researcher has chosen a deductive analytical approach for the dissertation rather than an inductive approach (Saunders et al., 2007). The inductive approach has no clear defined hypothesis and only a vague definition of the problem. The deductive method involves judging the tenability of a hypothesis through testing on it. The deductive approach has been chosen because it is suitable for enterprise valuations with a special focus. The general theory on valuation will be analysed and tested throughout the work, in regard to the research objectives and then allows a specific level of focus on the telecommunication industry. The research question is set in a way that it will be examined throughout the work. The hypothesis will be analysed with DCF valuation models and relative valuation using multiples. At the end of the research, the testing in the form of the case study will give an answer to the research question and will be brought up in a conclusion and suggestions. Research Strategy

The valuations of DT, AT&T and Vodafone will be designed as multiple embedded case studies. A case study is defined as an investigation of a contemporary phenomenon in depth and within its real life context (Yin, 2009). This type of case study has been chosen due to the fact that each company is an embedded unit of the analysis whereas each one of the used types of valuation can be described as an individual case (Robson, 2002). Any type of company valuation can be considered as a case study. It allows a deeper understanding of a particular event (Yin, 2009), in this case the techniques of valuation, by gathering detailed information (Hussey et al., 1997) about the company, its fundamentally backed up value and the construction of a valuation model itself. Population and Sampling

The whole population would be any company which has a significant amount of intangible assets. Usually tech and service companies have a higher level of intangible assets than companies which derive their value through manufacturing. To get a detailed understanding on how to value intangible assets and a company in general it is necessary to reduce the sample size. In this case the author reduced the sample size to three companies of the telecommunication sector. DT, AT&T and Vodafone have been chosen in this case. All three companies are listed in the most important indices of their respective country. DT is listed in the German DAX, AT&T in the American S&P 500 and Vodafone in the British FTSE 100.

The advantage of this sample size is that on the one hand by analysing a manageable amount of companies the research stays within the required borders and doesn’t lose its focus. On the other hand these companies can be considered to be representative for the industry and therefore filling the research gap.

In contradiction to that it can be argued that the sample size is too low and therefore a disadvantage for the research.

However, the sample size seems in line with the scope of the research and seems realistic to conduct within the given time and within the given requirements regarding the length of the thesis.


Excerpt out of 88 pages


Valuation of Service Companies with Intangible Assets
The Case of the Deutsche Telekom
International Business School Budapest
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ISBN (Book)
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Valuation, Investment, Finance, Financial Analysis, Discounted Cash Flow, DCF, DDM, Relative Valuation
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Henning Fischer (Author), 2015, Valuation of Service Companies with Intangible Assets, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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