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ARXIS - Litigation Consulting
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July 2024

Recent Case:

Reviewing and Critiquing a Valuation Report

Type of Matter:

A business valuation was prepared immediately before a complex stock transaction was finalized. That valuation report was later scrutinized in response to a claim that it was improper and erroneous.


A complex stock-for-stock transaction was contemplated between owners of a closely-held business involving over 20 subsidiaries. In contemplation of that transaction, the company retained a valuation expert to place a value on a portion of the business. The transaction was consummated at the value determined by that expert. Subsequently, the valuation conclusion was challenged and Arxis was retained to evaluate the report.

Arxis Work:

A copy of the complete report and all documentation that was originally supplied to the valuation expert was provided to Arxis. With that information we attempted to replicate the calculations, assumptions, and conclusions presented in the report. As a result, numerous substantial errors were identified. It was a collection of some of the most common valuation errors wrapped up in one report:

  • An invested capital risk rate (WACC) was used to value a cash flow to equity benefit stream. This, by definition, results in an incorrect conclusion.
  • The expert properly concluded that public companies were inappropriate to use as guideline companies. However, throughout the rest of the report public companies were used to project cash flow, capital expenditure levels, and working capital.
  • Public company data was used to determine the WACC rate for the subject company. This was inappropriate given the conclusion that public companies were not comparable to the subject company.
  • The expert did not consider, or adjust for, non-operating assets and non-operating income and expenses.
  • The sale of similar privately held companies (Market Approach) was not considered. This was problematic since there were hundreds of transactions in the same SIC code as the subject company available.
  • Prior transactions (several) of company stock were not considered.


The report was so flawed that all parties agreed it had to be set aside and a new valuation performed. A substantial amount of money had been spent on a valuation that was flawed on every level.

Service Profile:

Forensic Accounting Services for Insurance Fraud


Since insurance fraud investigations are initiated due to suspicions about a certain type of fraud or a suspected individual, it is helpful to engage the expertise of a trained fraud examination specialist. Arxis Financial employs trained professionals who specialize in the detection and prevention of fraud.

In insurance fraud matters, attorneys engage Arxis Financial to analyze, explain and present financially complex issues, typically relating to on-the-job injury and property-casualty fraud, as well as other insurance fraud schemes. The specialists in Arxis Financial's "Forensic Accounting" practice apply detailed investigation and analysis that is necessary to uncover essential facts and provide meaningful insights. Our fraud investigators assist in determining whether fraud occurred, and if so, to estimate the extent of monetary loss or damages and to determine who committed the fraud.

Arxis Financial utilizes various investigative and analytical procedures to support criminal or civil actions. Our services include analysis of personal and business transactions, document review and tracing, and expert witness testimony. Expert analysis and conclusions are presented in depositions and trial at local, state and federal court levels as well as mediation and arbitration. We assist attorneys in interpreting the data, and help counsel to understand and analyze events or issues. This level of support can be a key asset in determining a legal strategy as well as reaching a reasonable and efficient conclusion.

The Forensic Accounting practice is headed by partner Chris L. Hamilton, CPA, CFE, CVA. Mr. Hamilton is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and Certified Valuation Analyst. He is a licensed life and disability insurance agent and a General Securities Representative. Mr. Hamilton has published articles in several publications, and has made presentations at national conferences, training institutes and seminars on topics including forensic accounting, fraud and business appraisal.

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Chris Hamilton, CPA, CFE, CVA
Chris Hamilton, CPA, CFE, CVA
(805) 342-0749
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