COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES
|9 Months Ended|
Sep. 30, 2013
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]|
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES||
COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES
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, which were part of the business combinations, 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 all 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 payment is for the period ending December 2017.
The Company also has certain contingent obligations related to acquisitions made after the adoption in January 2009 of the FASB guidance for business combinations. In accordance with the current guidance, contingent consideration associated with business combinations must be recorded at its fair value at the time of the acquisition and reflected at current fair value for each subsequent reporting period thereafter until settled. The Company records these fair value changes in its statements of operations as acquisition transaction expenses. The contingent consideration is generally subject to payout following the achievement of future performance targets and a portion is expected to be payable in the next twelve months. As of September 30, 2013, the Company has accrued $2.0 million in other current liabilities and $5.4 million in other long-term liabilities and, as of December 31, 2012, the Company had accrued $2.5 million in other current liabilities and $4.2 million in other long-term liabilities, representing the fair value of these estimated payments. The last contingency period for which the Company has an outstanding contingent payment is for the period ending December 2017. See Note 5—Fair Value Measurements for further discussion related to the valuation of these contingent payments.
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 plaintiffs 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 plaintiffs’ 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. Plaintiffs 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 plaintiffs 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 agreement providing for the settlement of the litigation and the resolution of all claims therein. In September 2011, the Court declined to approve the settlement in its then-current form. Litigation continued, and in September 2011, the Court granted in part and denied in part Ticketmaster’s Motion for Summary Judgment. The parties reached a new settlement in September 2011, which was approved preliminarily, but in September 2012 the Court declined to grant final approval. The parties have agreed in principal on the terms of a revised settlement and intend to present those terms to the court for preliminary approval upon execution of a long-form settlement agreement. Ticketmaster and its parent, Live Nation, have not acknowledged any violations of law or liability in connection with the matter.
As of September 30, 2013, the Company has accrued $35.4 million, its best estimate of the probable costs associated with the settlement referred to above. 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.
Canadian Consumer Class Action Litigation Relating to TicketsNow
In February 2009, four 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 service fees violate anti-scalping laws. Each lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the class.
In February 2012, the parties entered into a settlement agreement that resolved all of the resale market claims. The court approval process for the settlement has been completed, with final approvals given in all provinces. The settlement was paid in January 2013, the full amount of which was funded by an escrow established in connection with Ticketmaster’s 2008 acquisition of TicketsNow.
While it is reasonably possible that a loss related to the primary market claims of 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 the primary market claims of this matter. The Company intends to continue to vigorously defend the remaining primary market claim in the Ontario case.
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 intellectual property rights, and tortious interference, which could cause the Company to incur significant expenses. The Company has also 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 associated with matters prior to its Separation that are 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