The key figure Q, also named after its creator JAMES TOBIN with Tobin-Q (Tobin's q), sets the costs for a capacity expansion or a capacity build-up by taking over an entire company, the so-called market price for assets, in relation to the costs for building one's own through procurement of the individual parts and elements on the factor markets and their bringing together, i.e. the replacement costs.
Capacity can be expanded in different ways.
On the one hand, a company can create new production capacities by purchasing machines, building up its own infrastructure and hiring staff. The symbol of this path is the “factory on the green field.” This incurs costs that correspond to the estimated costs for replacement investments of the individual assets. (estimated replacement costs).
On the other hand, the company could buy up a competitor, i.e. take over an already existing production unit as a whole, for which a price must be paid that corresponds to the level at which the company is traded on the stock exchange and on the Market of Corporate Control.
Of course, there are also intermediate routes that do not have to be specifically carried out.
In a very long-term perspective, the Tobin-Q should be roughly equal to 1 if you:
1. When setting up a factory on the greenfield, do not overlook certain production factors, such as the brand name or other intangibles.
2. Has sufficient time to set up the new factory (world without a hurry) and
3. Has talented management to do the job.
In other situations the Tobin-Q could also be greater than 1. Big Tobin-Q therefore indicate that “new” intangible assets are suddenly valued higher, that there is a market form in which one has to hurry because the fastest takes everything (winner-takes-all), and in which it fails to acquire executives.