Discount for Lack of Control or DLOC

A discount for lack of control is a decrease in the value of a firm’s stock as a result of a shareholder’s inability to exercise control over the company.

Control premiums may be relevant in determining the worth of a private company’s total equity if publicly traded firms are used as the foundation for pricing multiples. Control premiums have also been used to estimate discounts due to a lack of control. In most circumstances, a non-control stake is worth less per share than a controlling interest. The amount reduced from the pro-rata portion of 100% of an equity interest in a business to reflect the absence of some or all of the powers of control is known as a discount for lack of control (DLOC). It’s used to convert the value of a controlling interest into the value of a non-controlling equity stake.

Discount for lack of control

A discount for lack of control is a decrease in the value of a firm’s stock as a result of a shareholder’s inability to exercise control over the company. Because corporate choices like establishing remuneration, defining policies, deciding to sell or liquidate, and declaring dividends are all out of the shareholders’ hands, this is nearly always deemed to be worth less than a controlling interest in a company. As a result, a discount for lack of control is frequently imposed when non-controlling or non-voting shares are valued for a private corporation.

What is discount for lack of control (DLOC)?

DLOC is a private equity valuation concept that stands for “discount for lack of control”. It’s used to convert the value of controlling stock to non-controlling stock. DLOCC employs a strategy that prioritizes control positions. When gathering enough data to evaluate private equity, this is done to account for concerns about control and marketability.

Why do private companies need DLOC?

When compared to a publicly traded corporation, an investment in privately owned securities is less liquid and has a lower degree of marketability. A sensible investor will demand a price discount for lack of liquidity and will pay a premium for more liquidity. To arrive at the final value, we use a variety of valuation methods; however, the nature of the ownership interest must be considered before the ultimate value can be determined. Many elements, such as control and marketability, influence the value of a private firm’s ownership interest.

How do total business valuation and lack of control valuation differ?

The total business valuation depicts the overall valuation of the entire company assets, shares, monetary value, and position in the market whereas “Control” refers to whether or not a closely held company’s ownership interest has significant control over the subject company’s conduct. Because the controlling shareholder has control over the firm’s actions, a buyer who wants to buy a controlling position in a subject company may have to pay a premium due to supply and demand economics.

A non-controlling ownership interest, on the other hand, normally lacks the above-mentioned benefits, making a non-controlling ownership stake in the subject company usually worthless on a per-share basis. The degree to which the controlling shareholder or shareholders act against the interests of the non-controlling shareholders is one of the conditions unique to the firm. Empirical investigations may be more appropriate if no such conditions exist that could sway value to a significant degree.

Advantages of DLOC

A discount for lack of control considers the advantages of control that minority shareholders do not have, which may include, but are not limited to:

  • The ability to nominate or modify management.
  • Possessing authority over the board of directors.
  • Controlling management compensation is a powerful tool.
  • The company’s ability to be sold, recapitalized or liquidated.
  • The ability to pay dividends to shareholders.
  • The ability to lease, sell, or purchase business assets.
  • The ability to negotiate mergers and acquisitions.
  • The ability to direct the direction of the company’s operations.
  • Contract-awarding authority.
  • The ability to buy and sell Treasury securities.
  • The capacity to sell the stock to the general public.
  • The ability to modify the articles of incorporation and bylaws.
  • Creating company policy and affecting business operations
  • Appointing management and setting salary and benefits for management
  • The ability to buy and sell corporate assets
  • The ability to choose merchants and suppliers
  • Treasury shares can be purchased or sold.
  • The ability to impose dividend policies and payments
  • Possession of the authority to alter company organization documents
  • Ability to create or edit purchase/sale documents
  • Any of the above can be blocked if you have the power to do so.

Limitations of DLOC

The discount offered will vary from 5% to 40% depending on the type of business. When all other aspects in the purchase of a new firm are taken into account, a non-controlling ownership position is deemed less attractive, and this is reflected in the sale price. An appraiser can impose a discount for lack of control to minority interests to account for this disadvantage. Lack of control can be shown by the following factors:

  • Appoint management and elect directors
  • To decide the remuneration and benefits for management
  • Influence the path of business and determine policy
  • Asset acquisition or asset liquidation
  • Choose who you want to conduct business with and award contracts to
  • Acquire new assets
  • Liquidate, dissolve, sell, or re-capitalize the business
  • Treasury shares can be purchased or sold.
  • Register the stock of the corporation for a public offering
  • Dividends should be declared and paid to
  • Modify the rules and articles of incorporation

How to calculate discount for lack of control (DLOC)?

DLOC is a private equity valuation concept. It’s utilized to change the value of controlling equity to non-controlling equity. DLOC works in a method that assumes control position first. This is done to account for concerns with control and marketability when getting sufficient data to evaluate private equity.

The formula of discount for lack of control(DLOC)

A discount for lack of control is a sum or percentage subtracted from the subject pro-rata share value of a 100% equity stake to compensate for the lack of any or all rights conferred by a control position in the subject organization.

DLOC = 1- {1/1+Control Premium}

Control premiums are typically earned through purchases of public firms. For lack of marketability, DLOC is sometimes combined with Discounts for Lack of Marketability (DLOM). When valuing a private entity’s minority share, this method is used.

Calculation example

Assume that an investor owns a minority stake in a private corporation. DLOC is utilized to determine his equity value. Assume that a control premium based on the stock of a public firm is used. The premium for the control group is 20%, based on pre-IPO and post-IPO stock studies within the industry.

Using the formula above, the DLOC can be calculated as:

DLOC = 1 – [1/1+20%]
DLOC = 1 – [1/1+0.2]
DLOC = 1 – [1/1.2]
DLOC = 1 – 0.83
DLOC = 0.17
DLOC = 17%

So if after conducting the valuation of the company, the results for the investor are:

  • Total valuation: $8,500,000
  • Number of Shares: 5,000,000
  • Investor Shareholding (10%): 500,000
  • Price Per Shares: $1.70
  • DLOC:17%
  • Final Price Per Share: $1.41
  • Investor Holding Value: $705,500


Discount for lack of control (DLOC) and discount for lack of marketability (DLOM) are critical considerations in any valuation research, especially when a minority interest in a privately owned company is involved. The ability to create future cash flow is the most important factor evaluated when valuing a firm. They demonstrate the company’s worth to investors by combining the current value and future cash flow values.

In actuality, however, this procedure does not provide the investor with an accurate business valuation. In summary, some incidental and situational aspects of the transactions must also be accounted for, but they are not. The discount for lack of marketability comes into effect at this point. The amount deducted from the ownership interest value is known as the Discount for Lack of Marketability or DLOM. The final output then displays the amount/percentage of the company’s lack of marketability. As previously stated, marketability refers to an asset’s ability to be sold; nevertheless, this does not always imply liquidity. However, there is a transaction risk in this since anticipated proceeds are achieved.

IRS guidelines for Discount for lack of control (DLOC)

The IRS, valuation professionals, and the courts all agree that DLOCs are appropriate. In a 1982 estate tax case (Estate of Woodbury G. Andrews, 79 T.C. 938), the court distinguished this discount from a discount for lack of marketability, saying, “The minority shareholder discount is designed to reflect the decreased value of shares that do not convey control of a closely-held corporation”.

In Harwood v. Commissioner, 82 T.C. 239, 267, the tax court declared, “The minority discount is recognised because the holder of a minority ownership lacks control over corporate policy, cannot direct the payment of dividends, and cannot compel the liquidation of corporate assets” (1984).

When creating a DLOC, consider IRS Revenue Ruling 93-12 if the interest being transferred results in a control block of shares among family members of the subject organization. In summary, this judgment indicates that a minority discount would not be denied only because a transferred interest would become a controlling interest when combined with an interest held by family members.

Rules with Exceptions

When the topic being valued is a non-controlling stake, users of company valuations should be aware that some valuation methodologies provide a non-controlling level of value, and no adjustment is required (sometimes referred to as a minority interest, although they are not always the same).

Before implementing a DLOC, the business valuation expert must determine the level of control implied in a valuation technique outcome. In some circumstances, a valuation method generates the same level of value necessary for the valuation assignment, requiring no discount. In other circumstances, the levels are out of sync.

It should also be emphasized that a minority interest does not normally have control; nevertheless, there are instances where a minority interest does have control, such as in a company with limited voting rights. A minority owner with no special rights cannot direct or manage a company’s activities, such as paying dividends or selling assets.

Why choose Eqvista for certified valuation services

Now that you know what a discount for lack of marketability is, you can better understand how your business is evaluated and how to secure the best discount rate possible. Contact Eqvista today for more information and to gain a better understanding of the situation. It is not a good idea to try to value your firm on your own since you might not get it properly and end up breaking IRS guidelines. That’s where Eqvista comes in. Eqvista is a renowned valuation service provider with a team of professionals who can handle your business value and 409A valuation. For further information, please contact us.

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