What is Book Value?
Book Value Formula
Book value = total assets - intangible assets - liabilities
Book value is calculated by taking a company's physical assets (including land, buildings, computers, etc.) and subtracting out intangible assets (such as patents) and liabilities -- including preferred stock, debt, and accounts payable. The value left after this calculation represents what the company is intrinsically worth.
Why Book Value Matters
Since book value represents the intrinsic net worth of a company, it is a helpful tool for investors wanting to determine if a company is underpriced or overpriced, which could indicate a potential time to buy or sell. For instance, value investors search for companies trading for prices at or below book value (indicating a price-to-book ratio of less than 1.0), which implies the shares are selling for less than the company's actual worth.
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