Dun & Bradstreet Corp (NYSE: DNB) shares currently trade at 3.2x its trailing revenue which is higher than the Industrials sector median of 1.4x. While this makes DNB look like a stock to avoid or sell if you own it, equity investors might change their mind after taking a closer look at the assumptions behind the EV / Sales ratio. In this article, I define how to calculate a Sales Multiple and what to keep an eye out for when applying it in a comparable companies analysis.
Dun & Bradstreet Comparable Companies Analysis
A comparable companies analysis, also known as a multiples valuation, determines the value of a subject company by benchmarking its financial performance against similar public companies or peers. We can conclude if a company looks undervalued or overvalued relative to its peers by comparing metrics like growth, profit margin, and valuation ratios.
Enterprise Value-to-Revenue Multiple, also known as the EV / Sales ratio or a Sales Multiple, measures the dollars in Enterprise Value for each dollar of revenue. To determine if a company is expensive, it’s far more useful to compare EV / Sales multiples than the absolute stock price. The general formula behind an Sales Multiples valuation model is the following:
Enterprise Value = Revenue x Selected Multiple
The EV / Sales ratio by itself is not very helpful at all. It is only useful when comparing it to other companies that are considered similar to the subject company. The basic idea is that companies with similar characteristics should trade at similar multiples, all other things being equal. Therefore, we can come to a conclusion about the stock if the ratios are different. In the chart below, I compare Dun & Bradstreet’s EV / Sales ratio to its peer group that includes TransUnion (NYSE: TRU), Equifax, Inc. (NYSE: EFX), MSCI Inc (NYSE: MSCI) and Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO).
Since Dun & Bradstreet’s sales multiple of 3.2x is lower than the median of its peers (7.4x), it means that investors are paying less than they should for each dollar of DNB’s revenue. As such, our analysis shows that DNB represents an undervalued stock. In fact, finbox.io’s Sales Multiples Model calculates a fair value of $154.68 per share which implies 34.4% upside.
I selected a fair multiple of 4.0x in my analysis by averaging Dun & Bradstreet’s current EV / Sales ratio with its peer group and sector.
Are Comps Really Comparable?
Before concluding that Dun & Bradstreet should be added to your portfolio, it is important to understand that our conclusion rests on two important assumptions.
(1) the selected peer group actually contains companies that truly are similar to Dun & Bradstreet, and
(2) the selected peer group stocks are being fairly valued by the market.
If the first assumption is not accurate, the difference in sales multiples could be due to a variety of factors. For example, if you accidentally compare Dun & Bradstreet with higher growth companies, then its sales multiple would naturally be lower than its peers since investors reward high growth stocks with a higher price. It’s also important to note that EV / Sales ratios are highly correlated with profit margins so differences in EBITDA margin often explain differences in valuation.
source: sales multiples model
Now if the second assumption does not hold true, Dun & Bradstreet’s lower multiple may be because firms in our peer group are being overvalued by the market.
How This Impacts Shareholders
As a shareholder, you may have already conducted fundamental analysis on the stock so its current undervaluation could signal a potential buying opportunity to increase your position in DNB. However, keep in mind the limitations of an sales multiples valuation when making an investment decision. There are a variety of other fundamental factors that I have not taken into consideration in this article. If you have not done so already, I highly recommend that you complete your research on Dun & Bradstreet by taking a look at the following:
Valuation Metrics: what is Dun & Bradstreet’s price to book ratio and how does it compare to its peers? Analyze Price / Book here.
Risk Metrics: what is Dun & Bradstreet’s CapEx coverage? This is the amount a company outlays for capital assets for each dollar it generates from those investments. View the company’s CapEx coverage here.
Efficiency Metrics: inventory turnover is a ratio that measures the number of times a company’s inventory is sold and replaced over the year. View Dun & Bradstreet’s inventory turnover here.
Author: Andy Pai
Expertise: financial modeling, mergers & acquisitions
Andy is also a founder at finbox.io, where he’s focused on building tools that make it faster and easier for investors to do investment research. Andy’s background is in investment banking where he led the analysis on over 50 board advisory engagements involving mergers and acquisitions, fairness opinions and solvency opinions. Some of his board advisory highlights:
- Sears Holdings Corp.’s $620 mm spin-off via rights offering of Sears Outlet, Hometown Stores and Sears Hardware Stores.
- Cerberus Capital Management’s $3.3 bn acquisition of SUPERVALU Inc.’s New Albertsons, Inc. assets.
Andy can be reached at email@example.com.
As of this writing, I did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities and this is not a buy or sell recommendation on any security mentioned.