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A Look At The Intrinsic Value Of The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ:SSP)

Key Insights

  • The projected fair value for E.W. Scripps is US$6.94 based on 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity

  • Current share price of US$6.12 suggests E.W. Scripps is potentially trading close to its fair value

  • Our fair value estimate is 42% lower than E.W. Scripps' analyst price target of US$11.92

Does the October share price for The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ:SSP) reflect what it's really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock's intrinsic value by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.

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.

See our latest analysis for E.W. Scripps

The Model

We are going to use a two-stage DCF model, which, as the name states, takes into account two stages of growth. The first stage is generally a higher growth period which levels off heading towards the terminal value, captured in the second 'steady growth' period. To start off with, we need to estimate the next ten years of cash flows. 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) forecast

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

2032

2033

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$300.8m

US$131.4m

US$65.9m

US$43.3m

US$33.2m

US$28.0m

US$25.1m

US$23.4m

US$22.5m

US$22.0m

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x3

Analyst x1

Est @ -49.86%

Est @ -34.26%

Est @ -23.34%

Est @ -15.69%

Est @ -10.34%

Est @ -6.59%

Est @ -3.97%

Est @ -2.13%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 12%

US$268

US$104

US$46.7

US$27.4

US$18.7

US$14.1

US$11.2

US$9.4

US$8.0

US$7.0

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$515m

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 12%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2033 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$22m× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (12%– 2.2%) = US$225m

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$225m÷ ( 1 + 12%)10= US$72m

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 US$587m. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$6.1, the company appears about fair value at a 12% 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

Important Assumptions

The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 E.W. Scripps 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 12%, which is based on a levered beta of 2.000. 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.

SWOT Analysis for E.W. Scripps

Strength

  • No major strengths identified for SSP.

Weakness

  • Interest payments on debt are not well covered.

Opportunity

  • Forecast to reduce losses next year.

  • Has sufficient cash runway for more than 3 years based on current free cash flows.

  • Good value based on P/S ratio and estimated fair value.

Threat

  • Debt is not well covered by operating cash flow.

Next Steps:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. It's not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. Instead the best use for a DCF model is to test certain assumptions and theories to see if they would lead to the company being undervalued or overvalued. For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. For E.W. Scripps, we've compiled three essential factors you should look at:

  1. Risks: Take risks, for example - E.W. Scripps has 2 warning signs (and 1 which shouldn't be ignored) we think you should know about.

  2. Future Earnings: How does SSP'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.

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

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.

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