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Are Investors Undervaluing ZipRecruiter, Inc. (NYSE:ZIP) By 50%?

Does the January share price for ZipRecruiter, Inc. (NYSE:ZIP) reflect what it's really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock's intrinsic value by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. This will be done using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

Check out our latest analysis for ZipRecruiter

The Method

We use what is known as a 2-stage model, which simply means we have two different periods of growth rates for the company's cash flows. Generally the first stage is higher growth, and the second stage is a lower growth phase. In the first stage we need to estimate the cash flows to the business over the next ten years. Where possible we use analyst estimates, but when these aren't available we extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the last estimate or reported value. We assume companies with shrinking free cash flow will slow their rate of shrinkage, and that companies with growing free cash flow will see their growth rate slow, over this period. We do this to reflect that growth tends to slow more in the early years than it does in later years.

A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

2032

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$195.0m

US$232.0m

US$259.2m

US$282.0m

US$301.1m

US$317.1m

US$330.8m

US$342.8m

US$353.5m

US$363.4m

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x1

Analyst x1

Est @ 11.73%

Est @ 8.81%

Est @ 6.76%

Est @ 5.32%

Est @ 4.32%

Est @ 3.62%

Est @ 3.13%

Est @ 2.78%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 9.1%

US$179

US$195

US$200

US$199

US$195

US$188

US$180

US$171

US$162

US$153

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$1.8b

After calculating the present value of future cash flows in the initial 10-year period, we need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all future cash flows beyond the first stage. The Gordon Growth formula is used to calculate Terminal Value at a future annual growth rate equal to the 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield of 2.0%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 9.1%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$363m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (9.1%– 2.0%) = US$5.2b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$5.2b÷ ( 1 + 9.1%)10= US$2.2b

The total value is the sum of cash flows for the next ten years plus the discounted terminal value, which results in the Total Equity Value, which in this case is US$4.0b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$18.4, the company appears quite undervalued at a 50% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.

dcf
dcf

Important Assumptions

Now the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate, and of course, the actual cash flows. You don't have to agree with these inputs, I recommend redoing the calculations yourself and playing with them. The DCF also does not consider the possible cyclicality of an industry, or a company's future capital requirements, so it does not give a full picture of a company's potential performance. Given that we are looking at ZipRecruiter as potential shareholders, the cost of equity is used as the discount rate, rather than the cost of capital (or weighted average cost of capital, WACC) which accounts for debt. In this calculation we've used 9.1%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.180. Beta is a measure of a stock's volatility, compared to the market as a whole. We get our beta from the industry average beta of globally comparable companies, with an imposed limit between 0.8 and 2.0, which is a reasonable range for a stable business.

SWOT Analysis for ZipRecruiter

Strength

  • Earnings growth over the past year exceeded the industry.

  • Debt is not viewed as a risk.

Weakness

  • No major weaknesses identified for ZIP.

Opportunity

  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow faster than the American market.

  • Trading below our estimate of fair value by more than 20%.

Threat

  • Annual revenue is forecast to grow slower than the American market.

Next Steps:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. Rather it should be seen as a guide to "what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/overvalued?" For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For ZipRecruiter, we've put together three further aspects you should further research:

  1. Financial Health: Does ZIP have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.

  2. Future Earnings: How does ZIP's growth rate compare to its peers and the wider market? Dig deeper into the analyst consensus number for the upcoming years by interacting with our free analyst growth expectation chart.

  3. Other High Quality Alternatives: Do you like a good all-rounder? Explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!

PS. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NYSE every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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