The weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is the rate that a company is expected to pay on average to all its security holders to finance its assets.
The WACC is the minimum return that a company must earn on an existing asset base to satisfy its creditors, owners, and other providers of capital, or they will invest elsewhere. Companies raise money from a number of sources: common equity, preferred equity, straight debt, convertible debt, exchangeable debt, warrants, options, pension liabilities, executive stock options, governmental subsidies, and so on. Different securities, which represent different sources of finance, are expected to generate different returns. The WACC is calculated taking into account the relative weights of each component of the capital structure. The more complex the company’s capital structure, the more laborious it is to calculate the WACC.
Companies can use WACC to see if the investment projects available to them are worthwhile to undertake.