The Promise and Peril of Real Options
75 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2008
Date Written: July 2005
In recent years, practitioners and academics have made the argument that traditional discounted cash flow models do a poor job of capturing the value of the options embedded in many corporate actions. They have noted that these options need to be not only considered explicitly and valued, but also that the value of these options can be substantial. In fact, many investments and acquisitions that would not be justifiable otherwise will be value enhancing, if the options embedded in them are considered. In this paper, we examine the merits of this argument. While it is certainly true that there are options embedded in many actions, we consider the conditions that have to be met for these options to have value. We also develop a series of applied examples, where we attempt to value these options and consider the effect on investment, financing and valuation decisions.
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