October 2011
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Day October 31, 2011

Apple's Residual Enterprise Value is less than 7x Earnings

In his third “The Critical Path” podcast, Horace Dediu explained how Apple’s cash can be viewed as a strategic option, an opinion that resonated also with other analysts [1]. Cash is one of the most flexible resources as it can convert quickly into other resources such as brands, companies, technologies, people and even processes. More cash means more strategic flexibility. The large cash reserve Apple has accumulated provides high flexibility for future investments. These characteristics of cash already imply an intrinsic option value. But how big is this value?

Calculating Option Value

To help us determine, I will apply the Black-Scholes model.

Estimating Samsung's smartphone mix

Samsung no longer reports mobile phone shipments. The company’s phone market performance reporting is limited to the following:

Shipment : High-20%↑YoY (low-20%↑QoQ)

ASP : Slight increase QoQ

As the company did not report volumes or ASP last quarter either, the QoQ (Quarter on Quarter) growth estimates are almost useless. The only fragment that might be useful is the “High-20% YoY” given that they did publish units for Q3 2010: 71.4 million. This leaves the question of what “High-20%” means. Here are some ranges and what the result would be:

  • 92.1 million assuming 29% YoY growth
  • 91.4 million assuming 28%
  • 90.1 million assuming 27%