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The Valuation of Cash Flow Forecasts: An Empirical Analysis


  • Steven N. Kaplan
  • Richard S. Ruback


This paper compares the market value of highly leveraged transactions (HLTs) to the discounted value of their corresponding cash flow forecasts. These forecasts are provided by management to investors and shareholders in 51 HLTs completed between 1983 and 1989. Our estimates of discounted cash flows are within 10%, on average, of the market values of the completed transactions. Our estimates perform at least as well as valuation methods using comparable companies and transactions. We also invert our analysis and estimate the risk premium implied by transaction values and forecast cash flows, and the relation of the implied risk premium to firm-level betas, industry-level betas, firm size, and firm book-to-market ratios.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven N. Kaplan & Richard S. Ruback, 1994. "The Valuation of Cash Flow Forecasts: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4724
    Note: CF

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1992. " The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 427-465, June.
    2. Steven N. Kaplan & Jeremy C. Stein, 1991. "The Evolution of Buyout Pricing and Financial Structure," NBER Working Papers 3695, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1993. "Movements in the Equity Premium," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 75-138.
    4. Blume, Marshall E, 1975. "Betas and Their Regression Tendencies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 30(3), pages 785-795, June.
    5. Klemkosky, Robert C & Martin, John D, 1975. "The Adjustment of Beta Forecasts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 30(4), pages 1123-1128, September.
    6. Cornell, Bradford & Green, Kevin, 1991. " The Investment Performance of Low-Grade Bond Funds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 29-48, March.
    7. Dimson, Elroy, 1979. "Risk measurement when shares are subject to infrequent trading," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 197-226, June.
    8. Steven N. Kaplan & Jeremy C. Stein, 1993. "The Evolution of Buyout Pricing and Financial Structure in the 1980s," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 313-357.
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