EBITDA Defined

When selling a business it important to understand a few terms that are used in the Business broker, Merger & Acquisitions process.  One of the most important is EBITDA.  Since this is not a term that you might hear day to day in the operations of your business we want to make it clear what the term means.

EBITDA stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. It is a financial metric that provides a snapshot of a company’s operating performance by excluding certain non-operating expenses. EBITDA is calculated by adding back interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization to a company’s net income.


The components of EBITDA are as follows:


  1. Earnings:This represents a company’s net income or profit after deducting all operating expenses from its revenue.


  1. Interest: EBITDA adds back interest expenses to provide a clearer picture of the company’s operational performance without the impact of its financing structure.


  1. Taxes: By excluding taxes, EBITDA focuses on the operational profitability of a business without considering the effects of different tax rates or jurisdictions.


  1. Depreciation: EBITDA adds back depreciation, which is a non-cash expense representing the gradual decrease in the value of tangible assets over time.


  1. Amortization: Similar to depreciation, amortization is a non-cash expense, but it applies to intangible assets like patents, trademarks, or goodwill. EBITDA adds back amortization to reflect operational performance without the impact of these non-cash charges.


EBITDA is often used as a measure of a company’s ability to generate operating income and cash flow from its core business operations. It is commonly employed in financial analysis, especially in industries where capital expenditures, depreciation, and amortization play a significant role.


While EBITDA provides insights into a company’s operating performance, it is essential to note that it does not account for changes in working capital, capital expenditures, or other non-operating items. Therefore, it should be used in conjunction with other financial metrics for a comprehensive evaluation of a company’s financial health.


Adjusted EBITDA

The term “Adjusted EBITDA” is very comon in Business brokerage and Mergers and Acquisitions.  The reason is with smaller companies it is common to have “addbacks” or personal benefits that the business owners earn from the business.  When selling a business it important to capture any expense that is on the P&L/Tax Return that would “go away” once the current ownership exits the business.

“Adjusted EBITDA”, or Adjusted Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization, is a financial metric that reflects a company’s operational performance by excluding certain non-operating or non-recurring expenses. This adjustment is made to provide a clearer picture of the company’s underlying profitability and cash flow generation.

Adjusted EBITDA typically starts with the basic EBITDA calculation (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) and then adjusts for specific items that are considered non-operational, extraordinary, or one-time in nature. The adjustments may include expenses or gains that are not representative of the company’s ongoing business operations.

Common adjustments made to EBITDA to derive Adjusted EBITDA might include:

1. Non-recurring expenses: Costs that are not expected to be regular, such as restructuring charges, legal settlements, or expenses related to significant events like mergers and acquisitions.

2. Owners w2: It is common for owners to earn a W2 salary.  We need to add back owners compensation to EBITDA.

3. Health Insurance – Any insurance that is to the benifets of the owner should be added back to EBITDA.

The formula for Adjusted EBITDA can be represented as:

Adjusted EBITDA=EBITDA+Adjustments

Adjusted EBITDA is often used in financial analysis, especially for companies in industries with high capital expenditures, significant depreciation and amortization, or those undergoing substantial changes. It allows investors and analysts to evaluate a company’s core operating performance while excluding extraordinary or non-recurring items that might distort the overall financial picture.

It’s essential to note that while Adjusted EBITDA provides a more refined view of operational performance, it should be used cautiously and in conjunction with other financial metrics to gain a comprehensive understanding of a company’s financial health.

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usiness Broker in Dallas Texas.  We represent business for sale in 38 states.

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Scot Cockroft Business Broker
Hi, I’m Scot Cockroft.

When I founded Sigma Mergers and Acquisitions back in 2003, I had sold my business the year prior.

Now, that can sound good, but let me tell you, back in 2003, it was not easy to sell a business. Not that I’m saying in modern day times it’s easy to sell a business, but back then I interviewed broker after broker after broker, and no one was interested in actually seeing the value that my business brought to the table.


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Sigma is a the leading business broker in with Corporate offices in Dallas/Fort Worth with roots from 1984. Over 600 businesses sold in Dallas, Fort Worth, Texas, Oklahoma and across the South. Sigma provides full business brokerage services with NO upfront fees. We provide Market approach business valuations for business sales. Sigma is passionate about helping business owners achieve their goal of financial security. Contact us today for a free no obligation business valuation. We are here to help you achieve your goals.

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