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Bono and U2 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 Bono and U2 case study


At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Bono and U2 case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Nancy F. Koehn, Katherine Miller, Rachel K. Wilcox. The Bono and U2 (referred as “U2 Bono's” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Business models, Communication, Innovation, International business, Leadership, Social enterprise, 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 Bono and U2 Case Study


This case traces the 30-year development of the rock band U2 and the development of its four members as artists, business leaders, and humanitarians (with particular attention paid to lead singer Bono's global humanitarian work). The case examines the beginnings of the band among four school friends and follows the development of the enterprise as a business and as a powerful social and cultural force in its own right. It also investigates the individual journeys of the band members during moments of great success and significant challenges. The case pays particular attention to the four men's evolving identities as musical artists and to the tradeoffs that have accompanied their fame and larger social commitments. The case takes up the evolution of the global music industry in the face of rapid technological and organizational change, examining how U2 and colleagues navigated such change, built a very powerful brand, and created a successful business model. The final part of the case traces lead singer Bono's involvement in political and humanitarian causes and the potential power of such a model as a framework for artistry, entrepreneurship, and effective leadership in the 21st century.


Case Authors : Nancy F. Koehn, Katherine Miller, Rachel K. Wilcox

Topic : Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Related Areas : Business models, Communication, Innovation, International business, Leadership, Social enterprise, Technology




Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Bono and U2 Case Study


Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10024038) -10024038 - -
Year 1 3458470 -6565568 3458470 0.9434 3262708
Year 2 3960610 -2604958 7419080 0.89 3524929
Year 3 3967837 1362879 11386917 0.8396 3331472
Year 4 3247653 4610532 14634570 0.7921 2572445
TOTAL 14634570 12691554


The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2667516

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

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 U2 Bono's 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. U2 Bono's 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 Bono and U2

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 Innovation & Entrepreneurship 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 U2 Bono's 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 U2 Bono's 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 (10024038) -10024038 - -
Year 1 3458470 -6565568 3458470 0.8696 3007365
Year 2 3960610 -2604958 7419080 0.7561 2994790
Year 3 3967837 1362879 11386917 0.6575 2608917
Year 4 3247653 4610532 14634570 0.5718 1856856
TOTAL 10467929


The Net NPV after 4 years is 443891

(10467929 - 10024038 )






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 (10024038) -10024038 - -
Year 1 3458470 -6565568 3458470 0.8333 2882058
Year 2 3960610 -2604958 7419080 0.6944 2750424
Year 3 3967837 1362879 11386917 0.5787 2296202
Year 4 3247653 4610532 14634570 0.4823 1566191
TOTAL 9494875


The Net NPV after 4 years is -529163

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9494875 - 10024038 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of U2 Bono's 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 U2 Bono's has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at U2 Bono's 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 U2 Bono's, then the stock price of the U2 Bono's 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 U2 Bono's 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

Nancy F. Koehn, Katherine Miller, Rachel K. Wilcox (2018), "Bono and U2 Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.