What Is Terminal Value (TV)?

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Editorial Team

Updated on March 05, 2023

Terminal Value Definition

Terminal value, or TV for short, is the expected value of a business or project beyond the forecast period--usually five years.

Since forecasting gets hazy as the time horizon increases, forecasting a company's cash flow or the value of a project becomes more difficult.

Instead of attempting to wade into the unknown, analysts use financial models like Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) along with some baseline assumptions to ascertain Terminal Value.

How to Calculate Terminal Value

Two of the most commonly used methods to calculate a terminal value are the Perpetual Growth Model (Gordon Growth Model), which assumes a business or project will last into perpetuity, and the "Exit Approach," which assumes an end date to said business or project.

The TV of a business or asset includes the value of all future cash flows, even those not part of the projection period, in an attempt to capture values that are typically difficult to predict in regular financial models.

TV takes into account all possible changes in value expected to occur before the maturity date, such as interest rates, and it assumes a steady growth rate.

However, due to the Time Value of Money, the TV must be translated into the present value in order to mean anything.

The formula for Terminal Value is as follows:

Terminal Value Example

For example, John is a financial analyst and is asked to determine the TV of a project expected to grow perpetually by 2% annually.

John estimates that the FCF (Free Cash Flow) in year six will be $22 million and calculates a discount rate of 12%.

Using the information provided and the formula above, the equation for John would be as follows:

$22 x ( 1 + 0.02 ) / ( 0.12 - 0.02 ) = $22 x 1.02 / 0.1 = $224.4 million.

So, John calculates that the TV of the project is worth $224.4M today.

Terminal Value (TV) FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.

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