We provide insights into the inputs and valuation models used by valuation specialists. We survey 172 valuation specialists and conduct several follow-up interviews covering various topics, including the valuation inputs, models, and industry information that they use, as well as how they estimate long-term growth and the cost of capital. We find that valuation specialists rely on their professional judgment to select a valuation model but prefer the discounted cash flow (DCF) model. They primarily rely on the firm's historical performance when forecasting the financial statements, but communication with management is particularly relevant for forecasting future earnings or cash flows. When estimating the cost of capital, they most commonly use the risk-free rate with subjective adjustments. The results of our study provide insights on the information use of valuation specialists that are relevant to other valuation specialists, managers, academic researchers, and regulators.
JEL classification: M41; G12; G17; G32.