Market Cap vs Enterprise Value | Same or Different?

Market Cap vs Enterprise Value – Probing the value of a company plays a critical role in any sector of the finance industry. A key reason is that it helps the investors to not only make better investment decisions but provide them with a comprehensive view for acquisition assessments and budgeting purposes. Also, it enables the investors and analysts to forecast and predict the future earnings of a company.

Thus, it becomes even more important to use the right metrics that can be used to measure the value of a company, given the wide-spread financial metrics. However, the most frequently used parameters are Market Cap and Enterprise Value.

What is Market Cap?

Also known as market cap is the market value of a company’s stock. This financial metric assesses the value of a business based solely on the stock. Therefore, to find the market cap of a company one can multiply the number of shares outstanding by the current share price of the stock.

The market capitalization formula is as follows;

Market capitalization = shares outstanding x price per share


  1. Share outstanding = the total number of common stocks issued by a company excluding the preferred shares.
  2. Price per share = the current price of the stock in the individual listed market such as NYSE, NASDAQ, NSE, BSE, etc.

Market Cap Calculation

Please have a look at the below table for Market Capitalization calculations.


source: ycharts

Market Capitalization is Shares Outstanding (1) x Price (2) = Market Cap (3)

Apple has a total of 5.332 billion shares outstanding with each share trading at the current market price of $110.88 (Nov 9th closing). Consequently, its market capitalization is worth $591.25 billion (5.332*$110.88), based on the information given above.

The important thing to note here is that the market capitalization of a company keeps changing with the fluctuation in the share price. This means that the market cap of company increases and decreases with the rise and fall of the stock price.

Where to find Market Cap information?

Determining the value of a company the students or entry investors can find the detail information regarding the current share price of a company, shares outstanding, enterprise value etc on various websites such as Yahoo! Finance, Google Finance, Bloomberg and many others websites. One can search the company by filling the company’s name or ticker in the search engine to get the information.

You can also consider taking access to Ycharts for the same.

Price vs Market Capitalization

The investors should not be carried away with the price per share because it is one of the common misconceptions regarding a good indicator of the size of a company.

For instance, if a company ABC has 7.78 billion shares outstanding and the current market price of its stock is $80 per share, it will have a market capitalization of $622.4 billion. That is to say, the market cap of company ABC is higher by $29.7 billion as compared to Apple’s market cap of $592.7 billion.

Moreover, this larger market cap for ABC was despite its current share price being lower to that of Apple as stated above. Thus, a company with a higher share price does not necessarily mean that the company is worth more than the company with a lower stock price

Top 12 companies by Market Cap

Below is the list of top 12 companies by Market Capitalization. We note that Apple is on top with market capitalization of close to $590billion, where Google is second with a market cap of $539.7 billion.


source: ycharts

Market Capitalization and Investment rationale

The company with lower market cap, provide investors with greater growth opportunities in the future, while the company with the higher market cap are entitled to carry less risk regarding price volatility and carry a sustainable growth rate with a good return on investment. The chart below shows the market cap for the largest companies in the world.

Why Market Cap is important?

  1. It helps investors and analysts to examine the cost of buying the entire shares of a company in the case of a merger or acquisitions.
  2. This financial metric lend a hand determining factors in stock valuation.
  3. It represents the market view of a company’s stock value.
  4. Market cap enables investors to make a potential investment in a company based on the market cap size such as large-cap, medium-cap and small-cap.
  5. It facilitates investors identifying peers within the same sector or industry.  Also read comparable comps

Thus, it is evident from the above information and examples that market capitalization is the function of both the price per share and the shares outstanding. However, it completely ignores the debt portion of a company that plays an equally important role in the overall valuation of the company on the purchase by the new owners. As such, the latter part of this article will briefly highlight the Enterprise Value that provides a clear picture of the real value of a company. Let us have a look.

What is Enterprise Value?

Enterprise Value on the other side is a more comprehensive and an alternative approach to measuring a company’s total value. It takes into account various financial metrics such as market capitalization, debt, minority interest, preferred shares and total cash and cash equivalents to arrive at the total value of a company. Although the minority interest and preferred shares are most of the times kept on zero effectively, this may not be the case for some companies.

In simple words, enterprise value is a total price of buying a company as it calculates the accurate value of a company.

Formula to calculate EV would be;

Enterprise Value = market value of common stock or market cap + market value of preferred shares + total debt (including long and short-term debt) + minority interest – total cash and cash equivalents.

enterprise value


Enterprise Value = Market Capitalization + Debt  + Minority Shares + Preferred Stock – Total Cash and Cash Equivalents


source: ycharts

However, it is considered that a company with more cash and less total debt in its balance sheet will carry an enterprise value less than its market capitalization. In contrast, a company with small cash and more debt on the balance sheet will have enterprise value higher than its market capitalization.

For example, have a look at JPMorgan Chase. Its cash and cash equivalent is very high. This results in its enterprise value to be less than the market capitalization.


source: ycharts

Top 12 Enterprise Value Companies 

Below is the list of companies with top enterprise values.


source: ycharts

Why Enterprise Value is Important?

  1. A company with less or no debt remains an attractive buy option for investors due to the lower risk attached to it.
  2. A company with a high debt and less cash carries a higher risk because the debt raises the costs and therefore it remains less attractive to investors.

For example, two companies with the same market capitalization can fundamentally provide different enterprise value due to a high level of debt and low cash balances for one and low debt and high cash for the other. This is given in the table below.

Market Capitalization Debt Cash Enterprise Value
Company A $10  billion $5.0 Billion $1.0 billion $14.0 billion
Company B $10  billion $2.0 billion $3.0 Billion $9.0 billion

From the above example, it is clear that the Company A remains riskier as compared to the Company B that due to higher debt, despite their market capitalization being identical. Therefore, the buyer will be more likely to acquire the Company B that has no debt.

Why Enterprise Value provides an accurate value for a company?

Digging further into enterprise value unveils that it computes the value of the assets that allow the company to produce its product and service. Hence one can say that it encompasses the economic value of a firm due to the fact that it takes into consideration the equity capital and debt obligation of an enterprise. A key aspect that it includes the total debt and total equity is because these metrics enable the company to calculate EV ratios.

EV Ratios

: EV ratios help investors to provide key insights and comparisons between two companies that have large differences in capital structure and thereby make sound investment decisions.

There are quite a number of EV ratios. They include;

  1. EV/EBIT (Earnings before interest and tax)
  2. EV/EBITDA (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization)
  3. EV/CFO (Cash from operation)
  4. EV/FCF (Free Cash Flow)
  5. EV/Sales or Revenue
  6. EV/ Assets

For the purpose of this discussion, we will discuss EV/EBIT Ratio.


EV/ EBIT ratio assist the investors to find out the enterprise multiple that remains a critical function in the purchase decision. Usually, the lower enterprise multiple is considered a better value of a firm in comparing the two different companies held for acquisitions.

In fact, the investors can get the earnings yield upon turning the ratio around that allow the investors to get to know the earnings yield for a company. More often than not a higher earning yield indicates a better value for a firm.

Let us compare two companies for better understanding this ratio and its implication on the decision- making process. For instance, company ABC has an enterprise value of 5 billion and its earnings before interest and tax is $500 million, while company XYZ has an enterprise value of $5 billion and its earnings before interest and tax is $650 million.

Company ABC:

EV/ EBIT = $5.0 billion / $500 million = 10 multiple (5000/500)

EBIT/ EV = $500 million / $5.0 billion = 10% yield (500/5000)

Company XYZ:

EV/EBIT = $5.0 billion/ $650 million = 7.7 multiple

EBIT/EV = $650 million/ 5.0 billion = 13% yield

Investment rationale for EV/EBIT

The thumb rule says that lower enterprise multiple and higher earnings yields reflect better value for your money. Thus, in this case if the investors will be willing to put their money into the company XYZ as it has lower enterprise multiple and higher earnings yield.

Likewise, the value investors can calculate the other ratio. The thumb rule applies to all the EV ratios despite being large differences in the other financial metrics such as EBITDA, cash flow from operations, free cash flow, sales and revenue, and assets, while keeping the capital structure on neutral.

Thus, once the investors or value investors can find out the enterprise value, he or she can be in a better position to make his or her decision to go for acquisition or not. As such, EV can be considered a critical financial metrics, calculating the enterprise value.

Market Capitalization vs Enterprise Value

Market Cap Vs Enterprise Value
Area of Comparison Market Capitalization Enterprise Value
Meaning Refers to market value of the shares outstanding Refers to the costs of acquisition, including the amount payable towards debt and Equity
Formula Number of shares outstanding (x) the current share price Market Cap + Debt + Minority Interest + Preferred shares – total cash & cash equivalents
Preference Less preferred due to its usages in theoretical calculation rather than practical to determine the value of a company More preferred because it takes into consideration a number of factors to calculate the true value of a company


Thus it is clear from the above examples that both the financial metrics have different approaches to identify the market value of the given company. Market capitalization in one side helps the investors to find information regarding company’s size, value, and growth, the enterprise value enables investors to measure the overall market value of a company at the other. However, the enterprise value is preferred more than the market capitalization metric due to the fact that it accurately determines the value of the company and helps the analysts to forecasts the company’s growth in the future by using the EV ratios as stated in this article.

Source: Dheeraj Vaidya


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