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Weighted Average Cost of Equity (WACE)


The Weighted Average Cost of Equity (WACE) is a financial metric that reflects the combined rates of return expected by all equity investors, such as shareholders and venture capitalists. It is calculated by weighing each category of equity capital by its proportionate size in the company’s capital structure and then summing those amounts. It represents the minimum rate of return that a company must earn to satisfy the expectations of its equity investors.


WACE is pronounced as ‘wayss’.

Key Takeaways

  1. Calculation: WACE is calculated by multiplying the cost of each capital component by its proportional weight, then summing. This weighs each source of finance (equity or debt) by its relative market value, providing a more accurate reflection of a company’s cost of capital. For equity, it predominantly includes the cost of retained earnings and the cost of new common stock.
  2. Use: WACE is used in financial modelling and accounting to reflect the cost of funding a business, invested either through a loan or equity. Investors use this rate to decide whether to put their assets in a firm. A company with lower WACE is typically more attractive to investors because it shows lower risk and better profitability.
  3. Factors influencing WACE: Many aspects can affect the WACE. For instance, the risk-free rate often has an impact on the cost of equity, and thus, the overall WACE. Furthermore, a firm’s equity beta (market risk), its debt-to-firm value ratio, and its corporate tax rate all significantly impact its weighted average cost of equity.


Weighted Average Cost of Equity (WACE) is an important term in business and finance as it represents the average rate a company is expected to pay to finance its assets, specifically its equity financing activities. It reflects the company’s riskiness associated with equity financing and is crucial for making vital financial decisions. Investors usually look at WACE to see how a company finances its operations, essentially its mix of equity, debt, and other financial instruments. If a company has a high WACE, it may be seen as risky as it indicates the company pays a lot to finance its equity, thereby lowering profitability. Hence, WACE is a crucial indicator of financial health and risk level, impacting decision-making and strategic planning.


The Weighted Average Cost of Equity (WACE) is a crucial financial metric that companies use to measure the average cost of financing their operations through equity, taking into account the different types and sources of equity such as common stock, preferred stock, and retained earnings. The purpose of calculating the WACE is to provide insight into how much a company pays for each dollar of financing it gains through equity sources. This is particularly imperative for capital budgeting decisions, as it helps in the establishment of a discount rate when conducting a discounted cash flow analysis.Moreover, WACE is utilized to determine the feasibility of investment projects. By comparing the WACE with the expected return on an investment, a company can ascertain if an investment is worthwhile. The concept is that any investment a company undertakes should at least generate a return that surpasses the WACE. If the expected return on an investment is greater than the cost associated with it, including the WACE, the project can be deemed as profitable and may be pursued. Thus, the WACE is a fundamental tool in decision-making about investments and future projects within a company.


Weighted Average Cost of Equity (WACE) is a significant financial metric used by companies to decide their cost of financing. It determines the average cost of capital after being weighed by their respective proportions in the firm’s capital structure. Here are three real-world examples:1. Example 1: Apple Inc.Let’s say Apple utilizes 60% equity and 40% debt. If their cost of equity is 8% and the cost of debt is 6%, the WACE will be (0.6*8) + (0.4*6) = 7.2%.2. Example 2: Amazon Inc.Similarly, if Amazon uses a 70% equity and 30% debt financing structure with respective costs of 7% and 5%, their WACE would equate to (0.7*7) + (0.3*5) = 6.6%.3. Example 3: Tesla Inc.In the case of Tesla that uses a 50% equity and 50% debt structure with costs of equity at 9% and the cost of the debt at 7%, their WACE would be (0.5*9) + (0.5*7) = 8%.Remember, the formula to compute WACE is – WACE = (Weight of Equity * cost of equity) + (Weight of Debt * cost of debt). This calculation allows firms to understand the cost they’ll incur to finance new projects or operations and how much return they need to offer to satisfy their debt holders and equity investors.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Weighted Average Cost of Equity (WACE)?

The Weighted Average Cost of Equity (WACE) is a financial measurement used to evaluate the average cost that a company is expected to pay all its shareholders, including dividend payments and retained earnings.

How is the Weighted Average Cost of Equity (WACE) calculated?

The WACE is calculated by multiplying the cost of each capital component by the proportional weight of each component, and then summing the results. This includes all forms of equity such as common stock, preferred stock, and additonal paid-in capital.

Why is the Weighted Average Cost of Equity (WACE) important?

The WACE is important because it provides insight into the cost of financing a company’s operations through equity. It helps companies decide whether to finance new investments or projects through equity based on the cost of equity.

How does the Weighted Average Cost of Equity (WACE) affect a company’s financial decisions?

The WACE can significantly influence a company’s financial decisions. For instance, a higher WACE indicates a higher return required by investors, pushing the company to pursue higher risk and potentially higher return projects. Conversely, a lower WACE would encourage a company to consider lower risk and potentially lower return projects.

What factors can affect the Weighted Average Cost of Equity (WACE)?

There are several factors that can influence the WACE. These include changes in the business risk, levels of interest rates, tax rates, and the proportion of equity used in the company’s capital structure.

Can changes in Weighted Average Cost of Equity (WACE) impact a company’s stock price?

Yes, changes in the WACE can significantly impact a company’s stock price. High WACE can lower the stock price as it indicates that the company might need to undertake more risky ventures to satisfy shareholder expectations. Conversely, a lower WACE might increase the stock price as it shows that investors require less return for their investment.

Related Finance Terms

  • Cost of Equity: This is the return a company requires to decide on an investment or project. It’s also considered as the rate of return an investor expects from an investment, factoring in the risk associated with it.
  • Dividend Discount Model (DDM): This is a method of estimating the cost of equity based on the expected dividends to be received in the future. It is one of the models used in calculating WACE.
  • Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM): This is a model that describes the relationship between systematic risk and expected returns for assets, especially stocks. It is also used in estimating WACE.
  • Risk Premium: This refers to the amount (greater than the risk-free rate) that an investment is expected to yield as a result of its inherent risk. An aspect taken into account when calculating WACE.
  • Market Return: This is the total return on the stock market which includes dividends and increases in shares. This is used along with the risk-free rate to determine the risk premium when calculating WACE.

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