Corporate Finance Course: Firm vs Project Cost of Capital in Capital Budgeting

In this video, I examine the factors that drive the decision to use a firm-level cost of capital against  project-specific cost of capital. The Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) is briefly introduced here before I spend a lot more time on this concept in later videos.

Key Points covered:

  • Firm vs Project Cost of Capital
  • Weighted Average Cost of Capital
  • ArcelorMittal example of calculating the WACC

Corporate Finance Course: The Determinants of Beta

It has been a busy time for me over the last few weeks as I have been finishing the revisions for the 3rd Edition of Corporate Finance.  They’re nearly finished and I’ll be putting updates on the website over time before the book is published. So, apologies for the delay in videos and hopefully I’ll be able to  up the release rate again.

In this video, I discuss the three main determinants of the systematic risk of a company’s equity: Cyclicality, Operating Leverage and Financial Leverage.  These are the three main determinants but, as in all things business, there are many more.

For example, think of a company’s board of directors and their personalities.  It can be easy to come to a conclusion that behavioural issues at the senior level could affect beta.

Key points in the video:

  1. Overview of determinants
  2. Cyclicality
  3. Operating Leverage
  4. Financial Leverage

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Corporate Finance Course: How to Estimate Beta (Systematic Risk) Using Real Data

To estimate the beta of an equity using real data can be fraught with many problems.  The most common approach is to use ordinary least squares regression analysis to find the slope coefficient for the market index.  However, one must choose:

  1. How much data you need;
  2. How long your time period should be in the estimation;
  3. The differentiating interval (i.e., daily, weekly, monthly or annual).

This choice should be based on a variety of factors relating to the company itself, its industry and the macroeconomic environment.  Even then, it may be better to use an industry beta rather than a company beta if your data quality is not particularly good.

In this video, I discuss the issues you face in calculating beta and take you through an example using real data for Unicredit SpA to estimate beta.

Key points in video:

  • The Beta formula
  • Issues and solutions in estimating beta using real data
  • The Regression line and problems with noisy data
  • How to calculate beta using Unicredit SpA as an example
  • Time Variability in Beta and using Rolling betas

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Corporate Finance Course: An Introduction to the Cost of Equity Capital for Project Evaluation

I start off this series of videos on the cost of capital by concentrating on firms that have no debt in their capital structure.  This means that the cost of equity capital is equal to the firm’s overall cost of capital, which makes it easy to calculate.

It’s funny how things change over time.  When I wrote the second edition of Corporate Finance, Kazakhmys was listed on the London Stock Exchange.  Since that time, it delisted from the exchange and became private.  I also updated the example for Societe Generale to reflect new market data.

The video is a nice introduction to estimating the cost of capital and should act as a foundation for the later material that includes debt.

Key Points in Video:

  • The Cost of Capital in an all-equity firm
  • Real case example of how to calculate the cost of capital using Society Generale
  • Using the cost of capital to decide on mutually exclusive investments

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New Video Series on Cost of Capital

My next video series on Corporate Finance will discuss Cost of Capital. In the past videos, we’ve discussed cost of capital and spent time on working out expected returns for equity investors via CAPM, APT or other factor models.

Now, I’ll bring all of this together and show you how a company would estimate its own cost of capital in practice.  My approach will be very applied and focus on real data.  This can cause problems because in practice, the information we expect will be available is usually not!  However, I believe using real data is the best way to illustrate this topic for your own use.

As with all my videos, each one relates to a specific section of my textbook Corporate Finance 2e: European Edition and you should use the book as a companion to the videos if you want more detail and depth.

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Corporate Finance Course: CAPM v APT and How to Estimate a Factor APT Model

This video completes my coverage of factor models and the Arbitrage Pricing Theory.  I decided to deviate from the book a bit by illustrating using Apple inc, how to empirically estimate a 4-Factor and 1-Factor APT model.

It’s important to remember that the reason we are estimating an APT model is for its contribution in estimating the cost of capital of a company.

Key points in the video:

  • Comparison of CAPM and APT
  • A worked hypothetical example of using APT
  • A demonstration of how to estimate a Four-Factor APT model in practice

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Corporate Finance Course: Factor Models: Betas, Expected Returns and an Introduction to the Arbitrage Pricing Theory

Finally, I get round to introducing the Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT).  My approach is intuitive because I don’t want to get hung up in the mathematics in the corporate finance course, although I may do something at some point in the future with more theoretical rigour.

Key points in the video:

  • Underpricing and Overpricing
  • Arbitrage
  • Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT)
  • APT Market Model


Why Do Firms Go Dark and What Happens to Minority Shareholders?

Public to private transactions occur when a publicly listed firm is purposely delisted by a controlling owner.  This is also known as ‘going dark’ and usually happens when the company has been bought over by a private equity fund.

Why do companies go dark?

There are many reasons why a public to private transaction makes sense for a controlling shareholder.  Companies list on a stock exchange to raise new financing and aid expansion, but public listing can also bring some difficult challenges.

Share price volatility, undervaluation, greater transparency, stronger reporting requirements and the scrutiny of a regulator all come with a public listing. If there are no ongoing discernible benefits from being on a stock exchange, it can make sense to delist and run the company away from the constant glare of analysts and investors.

Are Public to Private Transactions Common and Important?

A research paper by Preqin shows that public to private transactions only make up a very small percentage of private equity buyouts and that their frequency has varied over time.


However, if you look at public to private transactions from the perspective of their value, they are significantly more important. According to Preqin, they made up 49 per cent of the value of all private equity buyouts in the peak year of 2007, with value fluctuating up and down since then.


What Happens to Minority Shareholders when Firms go Dark?

A major concern of public to private transactions is that minority shareholders lose most of their rights when their firm is no longer listed.  It is much more difficult to sell shares or to get information on the company’s finances or performance when there is no necessity for transparent reporting.

Along with my co-authors, Emanuele Bajo, Massimo Barbi, and Marco Bigelli, I examined the role of financial institutions in protecting minority shareholders in Italian firms when the controlling owner wants to take a firm private.

We found that institutional investors play a central role in the bid process and can protect minority shareholders from being frozen out in the bid. Specifically, tender offers in a public to private transaction are less likely to succeed when a firm has institutional investors in its ownership structure.

Furthermore, when public to private offers are accepted, bid premiums are significantly greater if a financial institution (particularly when it is foreign, independent or activist) has a stake in the firm.

Finally, threats to merge the target if the bid fails and external validation of the offer price have no impact on either the likelihood of delisting or the premium paid by the bidder.

If you are interested in reading more about public to private transactions and how institutions protect minority shareholders, the published paper can be found here:

Bajo, E., Barbi, M., Bigelli, M., & Hillier, D. (2013). The role of institutional investors in public-to-private transactions. Journal of Banking & Finance37(11), 4327-4336.

Corporate Finance Course: Factor Models and Portfolios

This video uses factor models to show the impact of diversification on portfolio risk.  I also show how portfolio returns can be decomposed into their respective components.  It’s not a long video but it is quite important in showing the power of diversification from a different angle.

Key Points in the Video:

  • Portfolio theory using factor models
  • Systematic and unsystematic risk

Corporate Finance Course: Introduction to Factor Models – Systematic Risk and Betas

I continue with my journey into Asset Pricing with a gentle introduction to Factor Models and some common extensions of these, including the Market Model and Carhart Four Factor Model.  It’s fairly intuitive stuff as I want to get the concepts across rather than spend time on the mathematics.

Key Points in the Video:

  • Factor Models
  • Factor Model Example
  • The Market Model
  • The Carhart Model
  • Criticisms of Factor Models

Simplifying Business