Checklist for Valuing an Internet Company
Anna Tarasidou[object Object] image

Anna Tarasidou

6 min read
Checklist for Valuing an Internet Company image

Business valuation emerges as a primary concern in the sphere of internet business transactions. It remains one of the most commonly asked inquiries among owners and potential buyers on Quarify.

The determination of a precise valuation proves elusive since there isn’t a singular correct price. Ultimately, market dynamics shape the value of an asset. However, several factors influence the price, including growth rate, profitability, and the ease of transitioning ownership from the current owner to the buyer.

For owners, conducting a business valuation before commencing negotiations provides a foundational understanding of the expected value. Knowing the minimum acceptable value is crucial before initiating the acquisition process.

Negotiating a price is not merely about terms but also a deeply personal and emotional process, particularly for owners who have nurtured the business from its inception.

Hence, we recommend consulting multiple sources before settling on a price and certainly before finalizing any agreement. Engaging with peers who have experience in buying or selling businesses offers invaluable insight into valuation, due diligence, and negotiation.

The initial step in approximating a business's price involves selecting a valuation method. While some methods are more prevalent, it’s essential to consider various approaches. These methodologies can also be combined for a comprehensive assessment.

The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) method involves projecting the target company's free cash flows and discounting them using a predetermined rate. This method is suitable for more established businesses with predictable cash flows and stable revenue streams.

Another approach is Benchmarking, which assesses the business's value by comparing it to similar metrics in other acquisitions, such as earnings or revenue multiples.

The Earnings Multiple approach, possibly the most widely used, entails multiplying a business metric like EBIT by an appropriate number, considering factors like growth potential, industry standards, and key performance indicators.

For internet businesses, metrics such as Monthly Unique Visitors, Customer Conversion Rate, Average Revenue Per User, and Customer Acquisition Costs significantly impact valuation.

Once the valuation methods are chosen, applying them to the company helps in setting a price range rather than a fixed number, serving as a starting point for negotiations. Remember, the asking price is typically a starting point for negotiation.

Ultimately, a business's value is determined by the market equilibrium between what a buyer is willing to pay and what an owner is willing to accept. Valuation methods act as guides to approach a fair deal.

For owners listing their business, it's advisable to state 'Open to offers' unless a minimum asking price is set. Time plays a crucial role in the selling process; utilizing the lower end of the valuation range can attract more offers and initiate negotiations with multiple buyers.

For buyers assessing a business's price, using available models with information from listings can be challenging due to data limitations compared to the owner's insights. However, comparing similar businesses within the sector and estimating a ballpark figure aids in setting a price range.

Though acquiring examples might be challenging, benchmarking remains a common practice for estimating prices. Setting a price range based on maximum willingness to pay and the best-case scenario precedes making a conditional offer or seeking due diligence.

In negotiations, seriousness and an open mind pave the way for closing a deal.

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