COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES
|6 Months Ended|
Jun. 30, 2011
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES [Abstract]|
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES||
NOTE 6-COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES
The Company has leases that contain contingent payment requirements for which payments vary depending on revenue, tickets sold or other variables.
Certain agreements relating to acquisitions that occurred prior to the adoption in January 2009 of the new FASB guidance for business combinations provide for purchase price adjustments and other future contingent payments based on the financial performance of the acquired companies. The Company will accrue additional amounts related to such contingent payments, with a corresponding adjustment to goodwill, if and when it is determinable that the applicable financial performance targets will be met. The aggregate of these contingent payments, if performance targets are met, would not significantly impact the financial position of the Company. The last contingency period for which the Company has an outstanding contingent earn-out payment is for the period ending December 2017.
The Company has certain contingent obligations related to acquisitions made after the adoption in January 2009 of the FASB guidance for business combinations of various artist management companies and concert promotion companies. In accordance with the current guidance for business combinations, contingent consideration must be recorded at its fair value at the time of the acquisition. The contingent consideration is generally subject to payout following the achievement of future performance targets and some may be payable in 2011. As of June 30, 2011, the Company has accrued $0.8 million in other current liabilities and $6.8 million in other long-term liabilities and, as of December 31, 2010, the Company has accrued $1.2 million in other current liabilities and $16.7 million in other long-term liabilities representing the fair value of these estimated earn-out arrangements. The last contingency period for which the Company has an outstanding contingent earn-out payment is for the period ending December 2017. See Note 5-Fair Value Measurements for further discussion related to the valuation of the earn-out payments.
Certain agreements relating to acquisitions provide for deferred purchase consideration payments at future dates. A liability is established at the time of the acquisition for these fixed payments. For obligations payable at a date greater than twelve months from the acquisition date, the Company applies a discount rate to present value the obligations. As of June 30, 2011, the Company has accrued $7.0 million in other current liabilities and $11.5 million in other long-term liabilities and, as of December 31, 2010, the Company has accrued $13.6 million in other current liabilities and $18.1 million in other long-term liabilities related to these deferred purchase consideration payments. These deferred purchase consideration liabilities will be paid out through April 2014.
Live Nation Worldwide, Inc. (“Live Nation Worldwide”) and CTS were parties to an agreement, (“CTS Agreement”) pursuant to which CTS was to develop and Live Nation Worldwide licensed or agreed to use ticketing software or ticketing platforms. Under the agreement, CTS was to develop software to be licensed to Live Nation Worldwide to provide ticketing services in the United States and Canada. The CTS Agreement also generally required Live Nation Worldwide to use CTS's ticketing platforms in certain European countries so long as CTS's existing platforms were appropriately modified to meet local market conditions. As of June 13, 2010, Live Nation Worldwide terminated the CTS Agreement because CTS materially breached the agreement by failing to deliver a North American ticketing system that met the contractual requirements of being a “world class ticketing system . . . that fits the needs of the North American market,” and by failing to deliver a ticketing system for the United Kingdom and other European countries that fit the needs of those markets as required by the CTS Agreement.
For North America, had CTS performed on the CTS Agreement, it would have been generally entitled to receive, during the then 10-year term of the CTS Agreement, a per ticket license fee upon the sale of certain tickets that Live Nation Worldwide or any of certain of its subsidiaries (collectively the “Live Nation Worldwide entities”) controlled and had the right to distribute by virtue of certain promotion and venue management relations. This per ticket fee for events in North America was payable to CTS regardless of whether the Live Nation Worldwide entities chose to use the CTS ticketing platform, Ticketmaster's ticketing platform or another ticketing platform for the sale of such controlled tickets. For events in certain European countries, not including the United Kingdom, Live Nation Worldwide generally was required, during a 10-year term, to exclusively book on the CTS ticketing platform all tickets that the Live Nation Worldwide entities had the right to distribute (or, to the extent other ticketing platforms were used, Live Nation Worldwide was generally required to pay to CTS the same fee that would have been payable had the CTS platform been used). For events in the United Kingdom, Live Nation Worldwide was required, for a 10-year term, to (i) book on the CTS ticketing platform all tickets controlled by Live Nation Worldwide entities that are not allocated by Live Nation Worldwide for sale through other sales channels and (ii) to offer for sale on the CTS UK website a portion of the tickets controlled by the Live Nation Worldwide entities. Finally, the CTS Agreement obligated Live Nation Worldwide and CTS to negotiate a set of noncompete agreements that, subject to legal restrictions, could have precluded Live Nation Worldwide from offering primary market ticketing services to third parties in certain European countries during the term of the CTS Agreement.
In April 2010, CTS filed a request for arbitration with the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”) pursuant to the CTS Agreement. In its request for arbitration, CTS asserts, among other things, that (i) the terms of the CTS Agreement, including the North America per ticket license fee, European exclusivity obligations and United Kingdom distribution obligations described above, apply to tickets sold and distributed by Ticketmaster, (ii) Ticketmaster's sales and distribution of tickets following the completion of the Merger have resulted in various breaches of Live Nation Worldwide's obligations under the CTS Agreement, (iii) Live Nation has failed to allocate the proper number of tickets to CTS's system in the United Kingdom and (iv) the Merger and the Company's subsequent actions have breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. In its request for arbitration, CTS seeks relief in the form of a declaration that Live Nation and Live Nation Worldwide are in breach of the CTS Agreement and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, specific performance of Live Nation Worldwide's obligations under the CTS Agreement, and unspecified damages resulting from such breaches. In March 2011, CTS provided further specifications on its claims and purported damages, including a claim for royalties that would have been paid over the contemplated 10-year term of the CTS Agreement and on Ticketmaster-controlled tickets (as well as tickets controlled by Live Nation Worldwide or any of certain of its subsidiaries).
In May 2010, the Company responded to CTS's request for arbitration and filed counterclaims asserting that CTS breached the CTS Agreement by failing to provide ticketing platforms that met the standard required by the CTS Agreement for the North American and European markets. The Company is seeking relief primarily in the form of damages and a declaration that the Company validly terminated the CTS Agreement based on CTS's material breaches. The Company denies that CTS is entitled to collect damages for royalties that would have been paid over the full 10-year term of the CTS Agreement or on Ticketmaster-controlled tickets. The matter has been assigned to an arbitrator and a hearing was conducted in late July and early August 2011, with post-hearing proceedings anticipated in the coming months. While it is reasonably possible that a loss related to this matter could be incurred by the Company in a future period, the Company does not believe that a loss is probable of occurring at this time. Considerable uncertainty remains regarding the validity of the claims and damages asserted against the Company. As a result, the Company is currently unable to estimate the possible loss or range of loss for this matter. The Company intends to vigorously defend the action.
Live Concert Antitrust Litigation
The Company was a defendant in a lawsuit filed by Malinda Heerwagen in June 2002 in U.S. District Court. The plaintiff, on behalf of a putative class consisting of certain concert ticket purchasers, alleged that anti-competitive practices for concert promotion services by the Company nationwide caused artificially high ticket prices. In August 2003, the District Court ruled in the Company's favor, denying the plaintiff's class certification motion. The plaintiff appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. In January 2006, the Court of Appeals affirmed, and the plaintiff then dismissed her action that same month. Subsequently, twenty-two putative class actions were filed by different named plaintiffs in various U.S. District Courts throughout the country, making claims substantially similar to those made in the Heerwagen action, except that the geographic markets alleged are regional, statewide or more local in nature, and the members of the putative classes are limited to individuals who purchased tickets to concerts in the relevant geographic markets alleged. The plaintiffs seek unspecified compensatory, punitive and treble damages, declaratory and injunctive relief and costs of suit, including attorneys' fees. The Company has filed its answers in some of these actions and has denied liability. In April 2006, granting the Company's motion, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred these actions to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for coordinated pre-trial proceedings. In June 2007, the District Court conducted a hearing on the plaintiffs' motion for class certification, and also that month the Court entered an order to stay all proceedings pending the Court's ruling on class certification. In October 2007, the Court granted the plaintiffs' motion and certified classes in the Chicago, New England, New York/New Jersey, Colorado and Southern California regional markets. In November 2007, the Court extended its stay of all proceedings pending further developments in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In February 2008, the Company filed with the District Court a Motion for Reconsideration of its October 2007 class certification order. In October 2010, the District Court denied the Company's Motion for Reconsideration and lifted the stay of all proceedings. In February 2011, the Company filed with the District Court a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Regarding Statute of Limitations. In April 2011, the District Court granted the Company's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. While it is reasonably possible that a loss related to this matter could be incurred by the Company in a future period, the Company does not believe that a loss is probable of occurring at this time. Considerable uncertainty remains regarding the validity of the claims and damages asserted against the Company. As a result, the Company is currently unable to estimate the possible loss or range of loss for this matter. The Company intends to vigorously defend all claims in all of the actions.
Ticketing Fees Consumer Class Action Litigation
In October 2003, a putative representative action was filed in the Superior Court of California challenging Ticketmaster's charges to online customers for shipping fees and alleging that its failure to disclose on its website that the charges contain a profit component is unlawful. The complaint asserted a claim for violation of California's Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) and sought restitution or disgorgement of the difference between (i) the total shipping fees charged by Ticketmaster in connection with online ticket sales during the applicable period, and (ii) the amount that Ticketmaster actually paid to the shipper for delivery of those tickets. In August 2005, the plaintiff filed a first amended complaint, then pleading the case as a putative class action and adding the claim that Ticketmaster's website disclosures in respect of its ticket order-processing fees constitute false advertising in violation of California's False Advertising Law. On this new claim, the amended complaint seeks restitution or disgorgement of the entire amount of order-processing fees charged by Ticketmaster during the applicable period. In April 2009, the Court granted the plaintiff's motion for leave to file a second amended complaint adding new claims that (a) Ticketmaster's order processing fees are unconscionable under the UCL, and (b) Ticketmaster's alleged business practices further violate the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act. Plaintiff later filed a third amended complaint, to which Ticketmaster filed a demurrer in July 2009. The Court overruled Ticketmaster's demurrer in October 2009.
The plaintiff filed a class certification motion in August 2009, which Ticketmaster opposed. In February 2010, the Court granted certification of a class on the first and second causes of action, which allege that Ticketmaster misrepresents/omits the fact of a profit component in Ticketmaster's shipping and order processing fees. The class would consist of California consumers who purchased tickets through Ticketmaster's website from 1999 to present. The Court denied certification of a class on the third and fourth causes of action, which allege that Ticketmaster's shipping and order processing fees are unconscionably high. In March 2010, Ticketmaster filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate with the California Court of Appeal, and plaintiffs also filed a motion for reconsideration of the Superior Court's class certification order. In April 2010, the Superior Court denied plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's class certification order, and the Court of Appeal denied Ticketmaster's Petition for Writ of Mandate. In June 2010, the Court of Appeal granted the plaintiffs' Petition for Writ of Mandate and ordered the Superior Court to vacate its February 2010 order denying plaintiffs' motion to certify a national class and enter a new order granting plaintiffs' motion to certify a nationwide class on the first and second claims. In September 2010, Ticketmaster filed its Motion for Summary Judgment on all causes of action in the Superior Court, and that same month plaintiffs filed their Motion for Summary Adjudication of various affirmative defenses asserted by Ticketmaster. In November 2010, Ticketmaster filed its Motion to Decertify Class.
In December 2010, the parties entered into a binding term sheet that provided for the settlement of the litigation and the resolution of all claims set forth therein. In April 2011, the parties entered into a long-form agreement memorializing their settlement. Ticketmaster and its parent, Live Nation have not acknowledged any violations of law or liability in connection with the matter, but agreed to the settlement in order to eliminate the uncertainties and expense of further protracted litigation.
On June 3, 2011, after a hearing on the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary approval of the settlement, the Court declined to approve the settlement reached by the parties in its current form and, as a result, litigation continues in this matter. On September 2, 2011, the Court is scheduled to hear Ticketmaster's Motion to Decertify the Class, its Motion for Summary Judgment and the plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Adjudication. Trial is scheduled to begin in October of 2011. As of June 30, 2011, the Company has accrued $21.2 million, its best estimate of the probable costs associated with this matter. This estimate is based on the probable costs associated with the settlement referred to above which, while it is of no force or effect following the Court's decision on June 3, 2011, continues to provide the best estimate of the probable costs associated with this matter. While it is reasonably possible that an additional loss related to this matter could be incurred by the Company in a future period, the Company does not believe that an additional loss is probable of occurring at this time. Considerable uncertainty remains regarding the validity of the claims and damages asserted against the Company and/or the potential for any settlement. As a result, the Company is currently unable to estimate any additional possible loss or range of loss for this matter. The Company intends to vigorously defend this action.
Canadian Consumer Class Action Litigation Relating to TicketsNow
In February 2009, five putative consumer class action complaints were filed in various provinces of Canada against TicketsNow, Ticketmaster, Ticketmaster Canada Ltd. and Premium Inventory, Inc. All of the cases allege essentially the same set of facts and causes of action. Each plaintiff purports to represent a class consisting of all persons who purchased a ticket from Ticketmaster, Ticketmaster Canada Ltd. or TicketsNow from February 2007 to present and alleges that Ticketmaster conspired to divert a large number of tickets for resale through the TicketsNow website at prices higher than face value. The plaintiffs characterize these actions as being in violation of Ontario's Ticket Speculation Act, the Amusement Act of Manitoba, the Amusement Act of Alberta or the Quebec Consumer Protection Act. The Ontario case contains the additional allegation that Ticketmaster's and TicketsNow's service fees run afoul of anti-scalping laws. Each lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the class. While it is reasonably possible that a loss related to this matter could be incurred by the Company in a future period, the Company does not believe that a loss is probable of occurring at this time. Considerable uncertainty remains regarding the validity of the claims and damages asserted against the Company. As a result, the Company is currently unable to estimate the possible loss or range of loss for this matter. The Company intends to vigorously defend all claims in all of the actions.
United States Consumer Class Action Litigation Relating to TicketsNow
From February through June 2009, eleven putative class action lawsuits asserting causes of action under various state consumer protection laws were filed against Ticketmaster and TicketsNow in U.S. District Courts in California, New Jersey, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. The lawsuits allege that Ticketmaster and TicketsNow unlawfully deceived consumers by, among other things, selling large quantities of tickets to TicketsNow's ticket brokers, either prior to or at the time that tickets for an event go on sale, thereby forcing consumers to purchase tickets at significantly marked-up prices on TicketsNow.com instead of Ticketmaster.com. The plaintiffs further claim violation of the consumer protection laws by Ticketmaster's alleged “redirecting” of consumers from Ticketmaster.com to TicketsNow.com, thereby engaging in false advertising and an unfair business practice by deceiving consumers into inadvertently purchasing tickets from TicketsNow for amounts greater than face value. The plaintiffs claim that Ticketmaster has been unjustly enriched by this conduct and seek compensatory damages, a refund to every class member of the difference between tickets' face value and the amount paid to TicketsNow, an injunction preventing Ticketmaster from engaging in further unfair business practices with TicketsNow and attorneys' fees and costs. In July 2009, all of the cases were consolidated and transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiffs filed their consolidated class action complaint in September 2009, to which Ticketmaster filed its answer the following month. In July 2010, Ticketmaster filed its Motion for Summary Judgment. In April 2011, the parties filed a Stipulation wherein they stated that they have agreed on all material terms of a proposed settlement. As of June 30, 2011, the Company has accrued $2.1 million, its best estimate of the probable costs associated with this settlement. This liability includes an estimated redemption rate. Any difference between the Company's estimated redemption rate and the actual redemption rate it experiences will impact the final settlement amount; however, the Company does not expect this difference to be material.
From time to time, the Company is involved in other legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of its business, including proceedings and claims based upon violations of antitrust laws and tortious interference, which could cause the Company to incur significant expenses. The Company also has been the subject of personal injury and wrongful death claims relating to accidents at its venues in connection with its operations. As required, the Company has accrued its estimate of the probable settlement or other losses for the resolution of any outstanding claims. These estimates have been developed in consultation with counsel and are based upon an analysis of potential results, including, in some cases, estimated redemption rates for the settlement offered, assuming a combination of litigation and settlement strategies. It is possible, however, that future results of operations for any particular period could be materially affected by changes in the Company's assumptions or the effectiveness of its strategies related to these proceedings. In addition, under the Company's agreements with Clear Channel, it has assumed and will indemnify Clear Channel for liabilities related to its business for which they are a party in the defense.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef