Definition of Enterprise value Stock terms & definitions

Enterprise value is a measure of a company's total market value. It is calculated as market capitalization with debt, minority interest, and preferred shares minus total cash and cash equivalents.

It is a sum of claims by all claimants including creditors (secured and unsecured) and shareholders (preferred and common). Enterprise value is one of the fundamental metrics used in business valuation, financial modeling, accounting, portfolio analysis, and risk analysis. Enterprise value is more comprehensive than market capitalization, which only reflects common equity and is considered more representative of a company’s value. Enterprise value reflects the opportunistic nature of business and may change substantially over time because of both external and internal conditions.

Enterprise value can be negative if the company holds abnormally high amounts of cash that is not reflected in the market value of the stock and total capitalization. Cash is subtracted in the calculation because it reduces the net cost to a potential purchaser. The effect applies whether the cash is used to issue dividends or to pay down debt. Value of minority interest is added because it reflects the claim on assets consolidated into the firm in question. Value of associate companies is subtracted because it reflects the claim on assets consolidated into other firms. EV should also include such special components as unfunded pension liabilities, employee stock options, environmental provisions, abandonment provisions, and so on, since they also reflect claims on the company.