Asset based approach

From CEOpedia | Management online
Asset based approach
See also

The asset-based approach is also commonly known as the cost approach or the replacement cost approach. In this approach, each part of the business is valued separately. This also includes liabilities. The asset values are summed up, and the total of the liabilities is subtracted to derive the value of the company. The valuation analyst estimates value by adjusting the asset values of the individual assets and liabilities of the company to fair market value. Some valuation analysts will use this method for tangible assets only and consider it to be complete. This approach, like the market and income approaches, is intended to value the whole company. This means that the tangible assets, as well as the intangible assets, are to be valued and the liabilities subtracted. When using only this approach to value a company, it is not difficult to overstate the value of the business as a going concern because if there are insufficient earnings to support the asset base value under this approach will be higher than the other approaches[1].

Of the three approaches to valuation, the asset-based approach is considered to be the weakest from a conceptual standpoint for valuing an ongoing business. The asset-based approach is used infrequently for the valuation of going concerns, reasons include the limited market data available to directly value intangible assets, difficulties in valuing certain tangible assets (such as special-use equipment), and the more readily available information to value operating companies as an integrated whole rather than on an asset-by-asset basis. An operating company with nominal profits relative to the values of assets used and without prospects for improvement in the future might best be valued using an asset-based approach assuming the winding up of operations. In this particular case, its value as a going concern might be less than its value in liquidation because the assets might be redeployed by buyers to higher-valued uses. Resource and financial businesses might also be valued based on an asset-based approach. Banks and finance companies largely consist of loan and securities portfolios that can be priced based on market variables. In such cases, a total of individual asset value estimates may give a lower-bound-type estimate of the overall value of the company[2].

Common applications for the asset-based approach

The asset-based approach is most commonly used in the following types of business valuations[3]:

  • Not-for-profit organisations
  • Holding companies
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Asset intensive companies
  • Controlling interests that can liquidate assets

Advantages of asset-based approach

The most important advantages of asset-based approach are [4]:

  • Net tangible assets can be valued more genuine under this approach than under the other two
  • This approach creates a better reflection of the economic balance sheet of the subject company
  • Net tangible assets can generally be seen and felt, giving the user of the appraisal a "warmer" feeling about the value

Disadvantages of asset-based approach

On the other hand, there are also some downsides to using this method [5]:

  • This approach is most readily applicable only to tangible assets
  • The asset-based approach provides the valuation analyst with the cost of duplicating the business being appraised
  • This approach is frequently more time consuming, and sometimes costly to apply than the other approaches


  1. Trugman G., 2012 p.387-388
  2. Pinto J., Henry E. 2010 p.385
  3. Trugman G., 2012 p.387-388
  4. Trugman G., 2012 p.388-389
  5. Trugman G., 2012 p.388-389


Author: Jakub Irauth