Estimating Walmart's Cost of Capital
In March 2019, two senior managers attending an executive education program had been assigned the task of applying their learnings from readings in order to estimate the costs of capital for Walmart Inc. (Walmart). They also needed to discuss why the cost of capital was such an important topic. The managers had with them background information, including a recent Walmart balance sheet and income statement; a U.S. Department of Treasury yield curve; Walmart's earnings, dividend, and stock price information; historical U.S. capital market returns; interest rates; and a detailed description of a long-term Walmart bond. Based on this information, the managers needed to estimate Walmart's cost of capital and be sure they understood why this mattered.