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Are Investors Undervaluing Manchester United plc (NYSE:MANU) By 22%?

Simply Wall St
·6 mins read

In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of Manchester United plc (NYSE:MANU) by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. This will be done using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.

View our latest analysis for Manchester United

Is Manchester United fairly valued?

We use what is known as a 2-stage model, which simply means we have two different periods of growth rates for the company's cash flows. Generally the first stage is higher growth, and the second stage is a lower growth phase. In the first stage we need to estimate the cash flows to the business over the next ten years. Where possible we use analyst estimates, but when these aren't available we extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the last estimate or reported value. We assume companies with shrinking free cash flow will slow their rate of shrinkage, and that companies with growing free cash flow will see their growth rate slow, over this period. We do this to reflect that growth tends to slow more in the early years than it does in later years.

A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, so we discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

Levered FCF (£, Millions)

-UK£22.5m

UK£50.3m

UK£82.2m

UK£119.2m

UK£157.5m

UK£194.0m

UK£226.8m

UK£255.2m

UK£279.2m

UK£299.5m

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x1

Analyst x1

Est @ 63.37%

Est @ 45.02%

Est @ 32.18%

Est @ 23.19%

Est @ 16.9%

Est @ 12.5%

Est @ 9.41%

Est @ 7.26%

Present Value (£, Millions) Discounted @ 9.9%

-UK£20.5

UK£41.6

UK£61.9

UK£81.6

UK£98.1

UK£110

UK£117

UK£120

UK£119

UK£116

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = UK£844m

The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after the first stage. The Gordon Growth formula is used to calculate Terminal Value at a future annual growth rate equal to the 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield of 2.2%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 9.9%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = UK£299m× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (9.9%– 2.2%) = UK£4.0b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= UK£4.0b÷ ( 1 + 9.9%)10= UK£1.5b

The total value is the sum of cash flows for the next ten years plus the discounted terminal value, which results in the Total Equity Value, which in this case is UK£2.4b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$14.9, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 22% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.

dcf
dcf

The assumptions

Now the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate, and of course, the actual cash flows. Part of investing is coming up with your own evaluation of a company's future performance, so try the calculation yourself and check your own assumptions. The DCF also does not consider the possible cyclicality of an industry, or a company's future capital requirements, so it does not give a full picture of a company's potential performance. Given that we are looking at Manchester United as potential shareholders, the cost of equity is used as the discount rate, rather than the cost of capital (or weighted average cost of capital, WACC) which accounts for debt. In this calculation we've used 9.9%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.114. Beta is a measure of a stock's volatility, compared to the market as a whole. We get our beta from the industry average beta of globally comparable companies, with an imposed limit between 0.8 and 2.0, which is a reasonable range for a stable business.

Looking Ahead:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For Manchester United, we've put together three relevant items you should explore:

  1. Risks: As an example, we've found 1 warning sign for Manchester United that you need to consider before investing here.

  2. Future Earnings: How does MANU's growth rate compare to its peers and the wider market? Dig deeper into the analyst consensus number for the upcoming years by interacting with our free analyst growth expectation chart.

  3. Other High Quality Alternatives: Do you like a good all-rounder? Explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!

PS. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every American stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.