The major difference between a case analysis and problems we do in class is that compared to the latter that often has “standard” answers, the former generally does not. As such it requires you to make choices on which parameters to choose as the input for your analysis, and can have multiple answers. This is natural because in realities we often face choices. The key to write a good case report is to utilize what you learned in this course to justify your choices. So your grade in the case report will not necessarily depend on whether your answer matches the “correct” one, but more on whether your analysis reflects the thinking and skills that this course is trying to deliver.
In this case, you will use the CAPM model and comparable firms to estimate the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) for a whole company and for each of its divisions. As a starting point.
Your report should clearly show the hurdle rates (another name for WACC, also called required rate of return) that you would recommend for Marriott as a whole, and for each of its three divisions.
You should clearly state your choice of parameters (there are quite a few) in the course of analysis and provide brief justifications. Aside from explaining the underlying reasons for your answer to the questions below (mostly estimation issues), your write-up should also contain a brief discussion about the role that “hurdle rate” plays in Marriott’s financial strategy. In particular, discuss the danger of directly applying the hurdle rate of the firm as a whole to its divisions.
I do not expect you to produce a full business report for this case analysis. Instead, the exercise is meant to capture, through a practical example, some fundamental points that this course tries to deliver. As such, you should limit yourself to produce reports of two to five pages of text. You can include as many exhibits as you need in an appendix (as long as they are referred to in the text).
This page limit will be strictly enforced to be fair to everybody. I am aware of the usual font and margin tricks that one can play! To eliminate those, let us agree on margins of one inch and a ten to twelve point font for the text. Your exhibits can use any margins/fonts you like.
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