Last Updated 11 Sep 2020

# Marriott Corporation: the Cost of Capital Critical Analysis

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1. How does Marriott use its estimate of its cost of capital? Does this make sense? Marriott has defined a clear financial strategy containing four elements. To determine the cost of capital, which also acted as hurdle rate for investment decision, cost of capital estimates were generated from each of the three business divisions; lodging, contract services and restaurants. Each division estimates its cost of capital based on: Debt Capacity Cost of Debt Cost of Equity

All of the above are calculated individually for each of the three divisions, and this is a critical aspect due to the varying cost of debt in particular for each division. Marriott then calculate company wide cost of capital using weighted average of the individual divisions cost of capital. This is a very clever approach, particularly as we see that for example the lodging unit, has a 74% debt percentage in the capital structure, and the fact that Marriott use long term cost of debt for lodging (which in this case is close to Government debt 110 bps margin) demonstrates the low risk investors perceive this side of the business to have

We believe this approach is sound due to the difference in the cost of capital between the divisions being a function of the risk associated with the investments considered so this approach incorporates the fact that risk between the divisions varies. Given this we believe the method chosen by Marriott is compliant with the “Marriott Financial Strategy” as the capital costing approach is due diligent and reflect the single entity risk (bottom-up) rather than an estimated top-down.

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We believe this approach enables Marriott to optimize the financial performance and in turn increase the shareholder value.

2. If Marriott used a single corporate hurdle rate for evaluating investment opportunities in each of its lines of business, what would happen to the company over time? Marriott's three divisions are very different in terms of business area, business risk and capital structure (debt capacity). The result is varying capital costs between the divisions. For instance Lodging has a significant lower cost of capital (WACC) than the Restaurant and even than the company as a whole.

Using a single company-wide hurdle rate would create an uneven process in assessing investment opportunities across the divisions. In practical terms the accept/reject decision would not reflect the inherent business risk of the division, which could lead to investments being accepted, while they should have been rejected. Given the WACC calculations in the following questions, we see there is a significant difference in the cost of capital between the different divisions varying from 8. 85% (Lodging) to 12. 11% (Restaurants)

Therefore, if we were to use one single corporate hurdle rate, we would assume in this instance that we would use the Marriott WACC of 10. 01%, then we may reject an investment in ‘Lodging’ which would yield a positive NPV and vice versa, we may accept an investment opportunities in ‘Restaurants’ which potentially would yield a negative NPV. Going back to the brief, we know that typically an increase in hurdle rate of 1% will decrease present value of project inflows by 1%. If we were to then use one hurdle rate (10. 1%) and take the lodging hurdle rate (8. 85%) this would be an increase in WACC of 13. 10% (lodging) and would therefore decrease PV of project inflows by the same 13. 10% - so the effect of using a single rate is compounded, firstly it impacts the decision, and the PV due to the discount impact. Over time a single hurdle rate (if consistently higher than the existing approach) would significantly hurt the performance of company as the approach could lead Marriott to reject (or accept) investment opportunities which should have been accepted (or rejected). This would destroy shareholder value.

3. What is Marriott’s Weighted Average Cost of Capital? What types of investments would you value using Marriott’s WACC? To calculate Marriott’s WACC, we need to assess three factors 1) Capital structure, 2) Cost of debt, 3) Cost of Equity. As the corporate tax rate is given we will not manually calculate it. If required we would have used the financial statement in appendix 1 to do so.

After having calculated the three factors mentioned above we employ the following formula to find WACC: WACC = (1-t)*rD*(D/V) + rE*(E/V) where Re = After tax cost of equity, Rd = pre tax cost of debt, E = market value of the firm's equity, D = market value of the firm's debt, V = E + D = firm value, E/V = percentage of financing that is equity, D/V = percentage of financing that is debt and t = corporate tax rate. 1) Capital Structure We find the capital structure in Table A on page 4 in the case. As the “debt percentage in capital” – D/V in the WACC formula - is given we find the equity percentage in capital (E/V) as: E/V= 1 – D/V.

Using this we see Marriott is funded using 60% debt and 40% equity. We do realize the data in Table A is the target-leverage ratio, but we are comfortable using the target capital structure for this purpose instead of the current capital structure. 2) Cost of Debt The cost of debt is mathematically defined as Cost of Debt = (1-t) rD, where rD is the rate for pretax cost of debt and (1-t) represents the tax shield via the corporate tax rate. In the following rD is calculated, while the tax shield is not included until the final WACC calculation.

Marriott’s debt was divided into two different segments; floating rate and fixed rate. 40% of Marriott’s debt was floating rate where the interest rate payment changes with changes in the market interest rates, while 60% was fixed rate. The case gives a “debt rate premium above government”, but information about term structure or other features of the floating debt are limited. We believe the correct way to estimate the cost of debt is to estimate the cost per debt type/segment and then in a second step weigh the costs using the debt structure.

To do this we estimate that the floating debt rate is best estimated using the 1yr government rate in Table B – for the reason that we do not have any shorter term data or average, and this most closely would represent floating. While for the fixed debt portion we have selected the 10yr government rate. Again, this is due to a mix of long term and shorter term fixed debit. This is the best assumption we can take using the data provided. Given the above the cost of debt of Marriott is: [Average((1yr Gov. ate)*(Floating debt fraction) + (10yr Gov. rate)*(Fixed Debt Fraction)) + “Debt Rate Premium Above Government”] [Average((6. 90%)(40%) + (8. 72%)(60%)) +1. 30%] = 9. 29% 3) Cost of Equity Cost of Equity is found using the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) or rE = RF+ ? i(E[RM] - RF), Where rF is the risk free rate we estimated earlier, ? is the systematic risk or the overall risk factor and (E[RM] - RF) is the ‘price of risk’ or ‘market risk premium’ (MRP) investors expect over and above what the risk free securities yield.

To be consistent in selecting expected market return and the risk free rate, we have selected to use the same time period for both estimates. Using Exhibit 4 and 5 we find the appropriate data. We take the longest time period available as we believe this is the conservative method as outliers in the data is crowded out due to the law of large numbers, which increases the empirical probability of accuracy. Given this we have selected 1926-87 average returns of the long-term U. S government bond as the risk free rate (RF) thus RF is 4. 58%. (Exhibit 4).

The MRP is estimated using Exhibit 5, where we use the S excess return over the long term U. S government bond over the same time period as the risk premium (E[RM] - RF) = MRP = 7. 43%. S is chosen as the “market return” as the stock index represents a wide and diversified range of equity across different sectors and industries. Given this we believe it is fair to use the S excess return over the risk free rate as the market risk premium (MRP) To find the ? we need to adjust the equity ? given in Exhibit 3 as it reflects the current capital structure and not the target structure.

To re-calculate in order for the ? to reflect the Marriott target capital structure, we first calculate the unleveraged ? and then re-leverage it with the target capital structure. The unleveraged ? is calculated using: Unlevered ? = Equity ? / (1 + (1 – t) x (Debt/Equity)). As all data is given in Exhibit 3, we find unleveraged ? = 0. 7610. (See detailed calculations in excel sheet under tab “Exhibit 3”). To re-leverage the data we re-write the formula: Equity ? = Unlevered ? * (1 + (1 – Tc) x (Debt/Equity)) = 0. 7610 *(1+(1-34%)*(60%/(1-60%)) = 1. 514.

We now have all the data need to calculate the cost of equity: rE = RF + ? (E[RM] - RF ) 4. 58%+ 1. 514(7. 43) =15. 83%. Finally we find WACC by employing the formula: WACC = E/V ? rE + D/V ? rD ? (1 - t) 40%*15. 83% + 60% *(9. 29%(1-34%)) = 10. 01%. Please find all detailed calculations in the attracted excel sheet under tab “Table A”. We would value an investment of similar risk, which would offer us a return higher than the WACC of 10. 01%, as anything over and above this in terms of return would be adding value as the present value of the future cash flows in that case would be positive.

In otherwords, we could use WACC as our discount rate and hurdle rate to calculate NPV of potential investment projects of physical asset, where it is expected the financing will be similar to the financing of the company conducting the investment.

4. What is the cost of capital for the lodging and restaurant divisions? The WACC calculation methodology is the same for the divisions as the calculations under question 3. However the inputs are changed to mirror the attributes and characteristics of the divisions.

Please also see excel spreadsheet included within this submission for breakdown of the calculations. Lodging: Cost of debt: For the calculations of the fixed rate debt, we are using the 30 year government bond rate instead of the 10 year. This is a reflection of the comments in the case about the longer durability of the asset and longer financing. For the floating leg of the debt, we continue to use the 1 year government bond rate. rD = Average((1year US (Table B)*Fraction of Floating Debt + 30 Year US*Fraction of Fixed Debt) + 1. 10% rD = Average((6. 90%*50% + 8. 5%*50%) + 1. 10% = 9. 03% Cost of equity: To be consistent we opt for the long-term securities and long-dated data just as we did when calculation the cost of equity in question 3. As for the ? we use the peer group as presented in Exhibit 3. Hence to find the unleveraged beta, we take the average of the equity ? s of the peer group the average debt/equity ratio. After having calculated the unleveraged ? , we re-leverage using the target capital structure of the lodging division. We realize the limitations of using comparable companies to estimate the ? nd understand the criticality of defining the right peer group of comparable companies. We could most likely have increased the accuracy of our calculations by being more due diligent in the selection to find companies that were a closer match to the Lodging (and restaurant) division. However, for the purpose of the calculations in this case, we use the peer group defined in the exhibit. Restaurants: Cost of debt: For the calculations of the fixed rate debt the 10 year government bond is used. rD = Average((1year US (Table B)*Fraction of Floating Debt + 10 Year US*Fraction of Fixed Debt) + 1. 10% D = Average((6. 90%*25% + 8. 72%*75%) + 1. 10% = 10. 07% Cost of equity: To reflect the shorter nature of the assets in the restaurant business division, we use short-term securities to estimate the risk free rate and the risk premium. We use the same method for estimating ? as we did for the Lodging calculations. Using the data described above, we find WACCLodging to be 8. 85% and WACCRestaurants to be 12. 11%. These findings support the notion that incorporating debt will lower the cost of capital due to the tax shield. Lodging has a debt/equity ratio of 74/26 against the 42/58 in the restaurant division. See detailed calculations in the attached excel sheet) We would also like to point out that of the restaurants given in the brief, many of these would in essence not necessarily be our peer group per se and we would be more selective over the restaurants we would selected to more closely mirror Marriott’s restaurants. With our aim to ensure we have the closest peer group possible for comparison.

5. What is the cost of capital for Marriott’s contract services division? How can you estimate its equity cost without publicly traded comparable companies?

We use the same framework as for the WACC calculations under Q3 and Q4. However, as we do not have a defined ? for the Contract Service division or an adequate peer group, we will estimate the ? using the existing data for Marriott and the two divisions. We know from the literature that a (holding) company’s ? is the weighted ? ’s of the individual business divisions. We use the revenue as the catalyst for the weighing of the ?. For the purpose of the calculations we use the unleveraged ? ’s. Mathematical this can be expressed as: ?(Marriott) = Revenue Weight (Lodging)* ? Lodging) + Revenue Weight (Contract Division)* ? (Contract Division) + Revenue Weight (Restaurants)*? (Restaurants). To find the ? (Contract Division) we re-write the formula to: ?(Contract Division) = [? (Marriott) – Revenue Weight (Lodging)* ? (Lodging) – Revenue Weight (Restaurants)*? (Restaurants)]/ Revenue Weight (Contract Division) ?(Contract Division) = [0. 7610 – 40. 99%*0. 5841 – 13. 49%*1. 0014]/45. 52% = 0. 8490

Adjusting for the target capital structure we find ? (Contract Division) equals 1. 223 Using this data, we find WACC for the Contract Service division to be 10. 82%.

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