This paper provides a non-technical presentation of the theoretical foundations of corporate financial decision making and the net present value (NPV) rule. Our objective is to show that the concepts of value and value creation arise from a single, unified framework that is firmly rooted in neoclassical microeconomic theory. This, in turn, allow us to demonstrate that the corporate valuation approach generically known as real options analysis is perfectly justifiable - without further qualification - in any situation when investors want managers to maximize NPV.

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Copyright © 2010 Multinational Finance Society. This article first appeared in the Multinational Finance Journal 14, no. 1/2 (March/June 2010): 29-71.

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