INVESTMENT IN NATIONAL CINEMEDIA LLC
|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2016
|INVESTMENT IN NATIONAL CINEMEDIA LLC||
The Company has an investment in National CineMedia, LLC (“NCM”). NCM operates a digital in-theatre network in the U.S. for providing cinema advertising and non-film events. Upon joining NCM, the Company entered into an Exhibitor Services Agreement, or the ESA, with NCM, pursuant to which NCM provides advertising, promotion and event services to our theatres. On February 13, 2007, National CineMedia, Inc. (“NCMI”), an entity that serves as the sole manager of NCM, completed an IPO of its common stock. In connection with the NCMI initial public offering, the Company amended its operating agreement and the ESA with NCMI. The ESA modification reflected a shift from circuit share expense under the prior ESA, which obligated NCM to pay the Company a percentage of revenue, to a monthly theatre access fee, which significantly reduced the contractual amounts paid to us by NCM. The Company recorded the proceeds related to the ESA modification as deferred revenue, which is being amortized into other revenues over the life of the agreement using the units of revenue method. In consideration for NCM’s exclusive access to the Company’s theatre attendees for on-screen advertising and use of off-screen areas within the Company’s theatres for lobby entertainment and lobby promotions, the Company receives a monthly theatre access fee under the modified ESA. The theatre access fee is composed of a fixed payment per patron, initially seven cents, and a fixed payment per digital screen, which may be adjusted for certain reasons outlined in the modified ESA. The payment per theatre patron increases by 8% every five years, with the first such increase taking effect after the end of fiscal 2011, and the payment per digital screen, initially eight hundred dollars per digital screen per year, increases annually by 5%. For 2014, 2015 and 2016, the annual payment per digital screen was one thousand one hundred twenty-five dollars, one thousand one hundred eighty-two dollars and one thousand two hundred forty-one dollars, respectively. The theatre access fee paid in the aggregate to Regal Entertainment Group (“Regal”), AMC Entertainment, Inc. (“AMC”) and the Company will not be less than 12% of NCM’s Aggregate Advertising Revenue (as defined in the modified ESA), or it will be adjusted upward to reach this minimum payment. Additionally, with respect to any on-screen advertising time provided to the Company’s beverage concessionaire, the Company is required to purchase such time from NCM at a negotiated rate. The modified ESA has, except with respect to certain limited services, a remaining term of approximately 20 years.
As a result of the application of a portion of the proceeds it received from the NCMI initial public offering, the Company had a negative basis in its original membership units in NCM, which is referred to herein as the Company’s Tranche 1 Investment. Following the NCMI IPO, the Company does not recognize undistributed equity in the earnings on its Tranche 1 Investment until NCM’s net earnings, less distributions received, surpass the amount of the excess distribution. The Company recognizes equity in earnings on its Tranche 1 Investment only to the extent it receives cash distributions from NCM. The Company recognizes cash distributions it receives from NCM on its Tranche 1 Investment as a component of earnings as Distributions from NCM. The Company believes that the accounting model provided by ASC 323-10-35-22 for recognition of equity investee losses in excess of an investor’s basis is analogous to the accounting for equity income subsequent to recognizing an excess distribution.
Common Unit Adjustments
Pursuant to a Common Unit Adjustment Agreement dated as of February 13, 2007 between NCMI and the Company, AMC and Regal, which we refer to collectively as the Founding Members, annual adjustments to the common membership units are made primarily based on increases or decreases in the number of theatre screens operated and theatre attendance generated by each Founding Member. To account for the receipt of additional common units under the Common Unit Adjustment Agreement, we follow the guidance in FASB ASC 323-10-35-29 (formerly EITF 02-18, “Accounting for Subsequent Investments in an Investee after Suspension of Equity Loss Recognition”) by analogy, which also refers to AICPA Technical Practice Aid 2220.14, which indicates that if a subsequent investment is made in an equity method investee that has experienced significant losses, the investor must determine if the subsequent investment constitutes funding of prior losses. We concluded that the construction or acquisition of new theatres that has led to the common unit adjustments equates to making additional investments in NCM. We evaluated the receipt of the additional common units in NCM and the assets exchanged for these additional units and have determined that the right to use our incremental new screens would not be considered funding of prior losses. We account for these additional common units, which we refer to herein as our Tranche 2 Investment, as a separate investment than our Tranche 1 Investment. The common units received are recorded at fair value as an increase in our investment in NCM with an offset to deferred revenue. The deferred revenue is amortized over the remaining term of the ESA. Our Tranche 2 Investment is accounted for following the equity method, with undistributed equity earnings related to our Tranche 2 Investment included as a component of earnings in equity in income of affiliates and distributions received related to our Tranche 2 Investment are recorded as a reduction of our investment basis. In the event that a common unit adjustment is determined to be a negative number, the Founding Member can elect to either transfer and surrender to NCM the number of common units equal to all or part of such Founding Member’s common unit adjustment or to pay to NCM an amount equal to such Founding Member’s common unit adjustment calculated in accordance with the Common Unit Adjustment Agreement. If the Company then elects to surrender common units as part of a negative common unit adjustment, the Company would record a reduction to deferred revenue at the then fair value of the common units surrendered and a reduction of the Company’s Tranche 2 Investment at an amount equal to the weighted average cost for Tranche 2 common units, with the difference between the two values recorded as a gain or loss on sale of assets and other.
Below is a summary of common units received by the Company under the Common Unit Adjustment Agreement during the years ended December 31, 2014, 2015 and 2016:
Each common unit received by the Company is convertible into one share of NCMI common stock. The fair value of the common units received was estimated based on the market price of NCMI stock at the time that the common units were received, adjusted for volatility associated with the estimated period of time it would take to convert the common units and register the respective shares. The fair value measurement used for the common units falls under Level 2 of the U.S. GAAP fair value hierarchy as defined by ASC Topic 820-10-35. The Company records additional common units it receives as part of its Tranche 2 Investment at estimated fair value with a corresponding adjustment to deferred revenue.
As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned a total of 26,384,644 common units of NCM, which represented an interest of approximately 19%. Each common unit is convertible into one share of NCMI common stock. The estimated fair value of the Company’s investment in NCM was approximately $388,646 as of December 31, 2016, based on NCMI’s stock price as of December 31, 2016 of $14.73 per share.
Summary of Activity with NCM
Below is a summary of activity with NCM included in the Company’s consolidated financial statements for the periods indicated.
On May 5, 2014, NCMI announced that it had entered into a merger agreement to acquire Screenvision, LLC. On November 3, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) filed an antitrust lawsuit seeking to enjoin the proposed merger between NCMI and Screenvision, LLC. On March 16, 2015, NCMI announced that it had agreed with Screenvision, LLC to terminate the merger agreement. The termination of the merger agreement resulted in a $26.8 million termination payment to Screenvision by NCMI. NCM indemnified NCMI for the termination fee. The impact of the termination payment and related merger costs resulted in NCM not making an excess cash distribution to its shareholders for the first quarter of 2015 and reduced the distribution for the second quarter of 2016, as required by NCM’s Amended and Restated Operating Agreement
The Company made payments to NCM of approximately $124, $50 and $49 during the years ended December 31, 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively, related to installation of certain equipment used for digital advertising, which is included in theatre furniture and equipment on the consolidated balance sheets.
The tables below present summary financial information for NCM for the periods indicated (financial information for NCM’s fiscal year ended December 29, 2016 is not yet available):
The entire disclosure for equity method investments and joint ventures. Equity method investments are investments that give the investor the ability to exercise significant influence over the operating and financial policies of an investee. Joint ventures are entities owned and operated by a small group of businesses as a separate and specific business or project for the mutual benefit of the members of the group.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef