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Telegraph Media Group: The Newspaper Is Dead, Long Live the... (A), Change, a Business and Leadership Imperative Net Present Value (NPV) / MBA Resources

Introduction to Net Present Value (NPV) - What is Net Present Value (NPV) ? How it impacts financial decisions regarding project management?

NPV solution for Telegraph Media Group: The Newspaper Is Dead, Long Live the... (A), Change, a Business and Leadership Imperative case study


At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Telegraph Media Group: The Newspaper Is Dead, Long Live the... (A), Change, a Business and Leadership Imperative case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Anirudh Dhebar. The Telegraph Media Group: The Newspaper Is Dead, Long Live the... (A), Change, a Business and Leadership Imperative (referred as “Telegraph Barclay” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Organizational Development. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Change management, Competition, Customers, Leadership, Technology.

The net present value (NPV) of an investment proposal is the present value of the proposal’s net cash flows less the proposal’s initial cash outflow. If a project’s NPV is greater than or equal to zero, the project should be accepted.

NPV = Present Value of Future Cash Flows LESS Project’s Initial Investment




Case Description of Telegraph Media Group: The Newspaper Is Dead, Long Live the... (A), Change, a Business and Leadership Imperative Case Study


The Barclay family, new owners (in July 2004) of the Telegraph Media Group in London, the United Kingdom, had acquired a great UK newspaper brand but an organization that has lost its customer focus and, by the time of the events described in the case series (2006-2008), an enterprise in an industry facing tectonic plate shifts because of digitization, the Internet, a 24x7 news and information cycle, the advent of citizen journalism, fundamentally changing reader and advertiser behavior and preferences, and a besieged centuries-old print-media business model. (All this without the additional pain of the 2008 global economic downturn and the consequent fall in advertising revenue.) While "change" was not new to the Telegraph Group (it has seen plenty since the Daily Telegraph was first published in 1855), the Barclay family and the Telegraph's new leadership and management team saw the business at a significant transition point with change an urgent imperative. The (A) case, the first of a five-part series, lays out the business and leadership case for change in the context of the Telegraph's 150-plus-year history.


Case Authors : Anirudh Dhebar

Topic : Organizational Development

Related Areas : Change management, Competition, Customers, Leadership, Technology




Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Telegraph Media Group: The Newspaper Is Dead, Long Live the... (A), Change, a Business and Leadership Imperative Case Study


Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10013930) -10013930 - -
Year 1 3472643 -6541287 3472643 0.9434 3276078
Year 2 3965473 -2575814 7438116 0.89 3529257
Year 3 3947852 1372038 11385968 0.8396 3314693
Year 4 3242299 4614337 14628267 0.7921 2568204
TOTAL 14628267 12688232


The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2674302

In isolation the NPV number doesn't mean much but put in right context then it is one of the best method to evaluate project returns. In this article we will cover -

Different methods of capital budgeting


What is NPV & Formula of NPV,
How it is calculated,
How to use NPV number for project evaluation, and
Scenario Planning given risks and management priorities.




Capital Budgeting Approaches

Methods of Capital Budgeting


There are four types of capital budgeting techniques that are widely used in the corporate world –

1. Net Present Value
2. Payback Period
3. Profitability Index
4. Internal Rate of Return

Apart from the Payback period method which is an additive method, rest of the methods are based on Discounted Cash Flow technique. Even though cash flow can be calculated based on the nature of the project, for the simplicity of the article we are assuming that all the expected cash flows are realized at the end of the year.

Discounted Cash Flow approaches provide a more objective basis for evaluating and selecting investment projects. They take into consideration both –

1. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Telegraph Barclay have higher preference for cash returns over 4-5 years rather than 10-15 years given the nature of the volatility in the industry.
2. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Telegraph Barclay shareholders have preference for diversified projects investment rather than prospective high income from a single capital intensive project.




Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of Telegraph Media Group: The Newspaper Is Dead, Long Live the... (A), Change, a Business and Leadership Imperative

NPV = Net Cash In Flowt1 / (1+r)t1 + Net Cash In Flowt2 / (1+r)t2 + … Net Cash In Flowtn / (1+r)tn
Less Net Cash Out Flowt0 / (1+r)t0

Where t = time period, in this case year 1, year 2 and so on.
r = discount rate or return that could be earned using other safe proposition such as fixed deposit or treasury bond rate. Net Cash In Flow – What the firm will get each year.
Net Cash Out Flow – What the firm needs to invest initially in the project.

Step 1 – Understand the nature of the project and calculate cash flow for each year.
Step 2 – Discount those cash flow based on the discount rate.
Step 3 – Add all the discounted cash flow.
Step 4 – Selection of the project

Why Organizational Development Managers need to know Financial Tools such as Net Present Value (NPV)?

In our daily workplace we often come across people and colleagues who are just focused on their core competency and targets they have to deliver. For example marketing managers at Telegraph Barclay often design programs whose objective is to drive brand awareness and customer reach. But how that 30 point increase in brand awareness or 10 point increase in customer touch points will result into shareholders’ value is not specified.

To overcome such scenarios managers at Telegraph Barclay needs to not only know the financial aspect of project management but also needs to have tools to integrate them into part of the project development and monitoring plan.

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 15%

After working through various assumptions we reached a conclusion that risk is far higher than 6%. In a reasonably stable industry with weak competition - 15% discount rate can be a good benchmark.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 15 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10013930) -10013930 - -
Year 1 3472643 -6541287 3472643 0.8696 3019690
Year 2 3965473 -2575814 7438116 0.7561 2998467
Year 3 3947852 1372038 11385968 0.6575 2595777
Year 4 3242299 4614337 14628267 0.5718 1853795
TOTAL 10467729


The Net NPV after 4 years is 453799

(10467729 - 10013930 )






Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 20%


If the risk component is high in the industry then we should go for a higher hurdle rate / discount rate of 20%.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 20 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10013930) -10013930 - -
Year 1 3472643 -6541287 3472643 0.8333 2893869
Year 2 3965473 -2575814 7438116 0.6944 2753801
Year 3 3947852 1372038 11385968 0.5787 2284637
Year 4 3242299 4614337 14628267 0.4823 1563609
TOTAL 9495915


The Net NPV after 4 years is -518015

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9495915 - 10013930 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Telegraph Barclay to discount cash flow at lower discount rates such as 15%.



Acceptance Criteria of a Project based on NPV

Simplest Approach – If the investment project of Telegraph Barclay has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Telegraph Barclay can ACCEPT the project, otherwise they can reject the project. This means that project will deliver higher returns over the period of time than any alternate investment strategy.

In theory if the required rate of return or discount rate is chosen correctly by finance managers at Telegraph Barclay, then the stock price of the Telegraph Barclay should change by same amount of the NPV. In real world we know that share price also reflects various other factors that can be related to both macro and micro environment.

In the same vein – accepting the project with zero NPV should result in stagnant share price. Finance managers use discount rates as a measure of risk components in the project execution process.

Sensitivity Analysis

Project selection is often a far more complex decision than just choosing it based on the NPV number. Finance managers at Telegraph Barclay should conduct a sensitivity analysis to better understand not only the inherent risk of the projects but also how those risks can be either factored in or mitigated during the project execution. Sensitivity analysis helps in –

Understanding of risks involved in the project.

What can impact the cash flow of the project.

What are the key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

What are the uncertainties surrounding the project Initial Cash Outlay (ICO’s). ICO’s often have several different components such as land, machinery, building, and other equipment.

What will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

Some of the assumptions while using the Discounted Cash Flow Methods –

Projects are assumed to be Mutually Exclusive – This is seldom the came in modern day giant organizations where projects are often inter-related and rejecting a project solely based on NPV can result in sunk cost from a related project.

Independent projects have independent cash flows – As explained in the marketing project – though the project may look independent but in reality it is not as the brand awareness project can be closely associated with the spending on sales promotions and product specific advertising.




References & Further Readings

Anirudh Dhebar (2018), "Telegraph Media Group: The Newspaper Is Dead, Long Live the... (A), Change, a Business and Leadership Imperative Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.