The Valuation of Illiquid Assets: A Focus on Private Equity and Real Estate

Rajna Gibson* (Corresponding Author), Martin Hoesli, Jiajun Shan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper reviews methods that can be used to value illiquid investments, with a particular focus on private equity and real estate. We discuss the traditional valuation methods, in particular the net present value (NPV) rule, and show in what circumstances these can lead to suboptimal investment decisions. Emphasis is placed on a real option valuation framework that can alleviate some of the drawbacks of traditional approaches. A new jump–diffusion option pricing model and a numerical example are presented to show the usefulness of such a framework in valuing illiquid assets and in particular venture capital funds. We maintain that, under harmonized parameter estimation techniques, the NPV rule can be viewed as the lower bound in a competitive market and the real option exercise criteria and valuation models as providing the upper bound to value and time investments in illiquid assets. The knowledge of such bounds should enhance the decision–making process with respect to allocating funds to alternative investments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-128
Number of pages18
JournalThe Journal of Alternative Investments
Issue number1
Early online date3 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Valuation
  • Illiquid Assets
  • Private Equity
  • Real Estate
  • Real Options


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