650-730-9848 brian@sullivanco.net

Did you ever read a business valuation report where you knew the valuation was rigged to obtain a higher or lower value? Unfortunately, some valuation analysts manipulate the process in order to please their client and/or win at all costs. This can often happen in contentious divorce engagements.

Where to look: One place to look for evidence of rigging is in the discount rate, which has several inputs susceptible to manipulation. The size premium is one input that appears to be a good candidate for abuse. However, the size premium differs depending on the data breakdown you use and the historical time frame of the data, which can explain the difference. But where the discount rate can be manipulated the most is in the company-specific risk adjustment, which is based purely on the judgment of the expert. This is a prime area where opponents will try to detect valuation bias and try to discredit the analysis.