Investment in Charter Accounted for Using the Equity Method
|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2016
|Investments in Affiliates Accounted for Using the Equity Method|
|Investments in Affiliates Accounted for Using the Equity Method||
(6) Investments in Affiliates Accounted for Using the Equity Method
In May 2013, Liberty completed a transaction with investment funds managed by, or affiliated with, Apollo Management, Oaktree Capital Management and Crestview Partners to acquire approximately 26.9 million shares of common stock and approximately 1.1 million warrants in Legacy Charter for approximately $2.6 billion, which represented an approximate 27% beneficial ownership (including the warrants on an as if converted basis) in Legacy Charter at the time of purchase and a price per share of $95.50. Liberty funded the purchase with a combination of cash of approximately $1.2 billion on hand and new margin loan arrangements on approximately 20.3 million Legacy Charter common shares, approximately 720 million SIRIUS XM common shares, approximately 8.1 million Live Nation common shares and a portion of Liberty’s available for sale securities, including shares of Time Warner Cable. The margin loan secured by the Charter and Time Warner Cable shares was repaid and the collateral was released prior to completion of the Broadband Spin-Off. Under Liberty’s stockholders agreement with Charter, Liberty had the right to nominate four directors to the Charter board of directors, subject to certain exclusions and requirements. Liberty also had the right to cause one of its nominees to serve on the nominating and corporate governance, audit and compensation and benefits committees of the board, provided they meet the independence and other qualifications for membership on those committees. These rights were transferred to Liberty Broadband in connection with the Broadband Spin-Off and, in connection with the Bright House Transaction, on May 23, 2015, Liberty Broadband entered into the Second Amended and Restated Stockholders Agreement with Legacy Charter, Charter and A/N, as amended (the “Stockholders Agreement”). The Stockholders Agreement became fully effective upon the closing of the Time Warner Cable Merger and continues to provide Liberty Broadband with board nomination rights. Liberty allocated the purchase price between the shares of common stock and the warrants acquired in the transaction by determining the fair value of the publicly traded warrants and allocating the remaining balance to the shares acquired, which resulted in an excess basis in the investment of $2,532.3 million. The investment in Charter is accounted for as an equity method affiliate based on our ownership interest and the board seats held by individuals appointed by Liberty Broadband.
During May 2014, Liberty purchased 897 thousand Legacy Charter shares for approximately $124.5 million. During November 2014, subsequent to the completion of the Broadband Spin-Off, Liberty Broadband borrowed $52 million to fund the exercise of all of the Company’s outstanding Legacy Charter warrants (see note 8). The exercise of the Legacy Charter warrants resulted in a non-cash investing addition of $130.6 million to the equity method investments line item and a $130.6 million non-cash investing reduction to the derivative instruments line item within the consolidated balance sheets.
On May 18, 2016, the Time Warner Cable Merger was completed, which resulted in Legacy Charter and Time Warner Cable becoming wholly owned subsidiaries of Charter. Also on May 18, 2016, the previously announced Bright House Transaction was completed. In connection with these transactions, Legacy Charter underwent a corporate reorganization, resulting in Charter, a former subsidiary of Legacy Charter, becoming the new publicly traded parent company. In connection with the Time Warner Cable Merger and the Bright House Transaction, Liberty Broadband completed the previously announced transactions described below:
Transactions completed in connection with the Time Warner Cable Merger
Charter Investment Agreement
On May 18, 2016, Liberty Broadband completed its previously announced investment in Charter in accordance with the investment agreement dated May 23, 2015 by and among Liberty Broadband, Legacy Charter and Charter (the “Charter Investment Agreement”). Pursuant to the Charter Investment Agreement, immediately following the consummation of the Time Warner Cable Merger, Liberty Broadband purchased from Charter $4.3 billion of shares of Charter Class A common stock, par value $0.001 per share, at a price per share of $195.70 following adjustment by the applicable exchange ratio. As a result, Liberty Broadband received approximately 22.0 million shares of Charter Class A common stock. Liberty Broadband funded its purchase of these shares of New Charter Class A common stock with proceeds from the issuance of Liberty Broadband Series C common stock (note 10).
Charter Contribution Agreement
Also on May 18, 2016, shares of Time Warner Cable common stock held by Liberty Broadband and Liberty Interactive were exchanged, in a tax-free transaction, for shares of Charter Class A common stock which resulted in each of Liberty Broadband and Liberty Interactive receiving one share of Charter Class A common stock for each share of Time Warner Cable common stock so exchanged. In the exchange, Liberty Broadband received approximately 2.4 million shares of Charter Class A common stock, with a fair value of $531.9 million.
Liberty Interactive Proxy Agreement
Pursuant to the Proxy and Right of First Refusal Agreement, dated May 23, 2015, as amended (the “Liberty Interactive Proxy Agreement”), by and between Liberty Broadband and Liberty Interactive, Liberty Interactive granted Liberty Broadband an irrevocable proxy to vote all shares of Charter common stock owned beneficially or of record by Liberty Interactive following the closing of the Time Warner Cable Merger, for a five year term subject to extension upon the mutual agreement of both parties, subject to certain limitations. So long as the Liberty Interactive Proxy Agreement is in effect, Liberty Broadband also has a right of first refusal to purchase all or a portion of any shares of Charter common stock which Liberty Interactive proposes to transfer, subject to certain limitations.
Transactions Completed in connection with the Bright House Transaction
Second Amended and Restated Stockholders Agreement
On May 18, 2016, pursuant to the Stockholders Agreement, upon the closing of the Bright House Transaction, Liberty Broadband purchased from Charter approximately 3.7 million additional shares of Charter Class A common stock at a price per share of $191.33 following adjustment by the applicable exchange ratios, for an aggregate purchase price of $700 million. Liberty Broadband funded its $700 million purchase in shares of Charter through cash on hand and margin loan draws (note 8).
Proxy and Right of First Refusal Agreement
In connection with the Bright House Transaction, on May 18, 2016, A/N and Liberty Broadband entered into a proxy and right of first refusal agreement, as amended (the “A/N Proxy”), pursuant to which A/N granted Liberty Broadband a five-year proxy to vote shares of Charter held by A/N, capped at a number of shares representing 7% of the voting power of Charter’s outstanding shares. As a result of the A/N Proxy and the Liberty Interactive Proxy Agreement, Liberty Broadband controls 25.01% of the aggregate voting power of Charter following the completion of the Time Warner Cable Merger and the Bright House Transaction and is Charter’s largest stockholder.
So long as the A/N Proxy is in effect, if A/N proposes to transfer common units of Charter Communications Holdings, LLC (which units are exchangeable into Charter shares and which will, under certain circumstances, result in the conversion of certain shares of Class B Common Stock into Charter shares) or Charter shares, in each case, constituting either (i) shares representing the first 7.0% of the outstanding voting power of Charter held by A/N or (ii) shares representing the last 7.0% of the outstanding voting power of New Charter held by A/N, Liberty Broadband will have a right of first refusal (“ROFR”) to purchase all or a portion of any such securities A/N proposes to transfer. The purchase price per share for any securities sold to Liberty Broadband pursuant to the ROFR will be the volume-weighted average price of Charter shares for the two trading day period before the notice of a proposed sale by A/N, payable in cash. Certain transfers are permitted to affiliates of A/N, subject to the transferee entity entering into an agreement assuming the transferor’s obligations under the A/N Proxy.
Investment in Charter
For discussion purposes the term “Charter” will be used to discuss both our previous and current holdings in Legacy Charter and Charter. It is noted that the ticker symbol for Legacy Charter and Charter are the same, and that in connection with the Time Warner Cable Merger, Legacy Charter underwent a corporate reorganization, resulting in Charter, a former subsidiary of Legacy Charter, becoming the new publicly traded parent company.
As of December 31, 2016, the carrying value of Liberty Broadband’s ownership in Charter was approximately $9,315 million. The market value of Liberty Broadband’s ownership in Charter as of December 31, 2016 was approximately $15,568 million, which represented an approximate ownership of 20% of the outstanding equity of Charter as of that date.
During the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, there was a dilution gain of $770.8 million, and dilution losses of $7.2 million and $87.2 million, respectively, in the Company’s investment in Charter. The gain during 2016 is primarily due to the Time Warner Cable Merger. Even after considering the exchange of Time Warner Cable shares held by Liberty Broadband to shares of Charter, Liberty Broadband’s interest in Charter was diluted as a result of the conversion of outstanding Time Warner Cable shares held by third parties into shares of Charter. However, Liberty Broadband recognized a gain during the period as Liberty Broadband’s investment basis in Charter was at a price per share below the new equity issued in the Time Warner Cable Merger. This gain was partially offset by losses due to the issuance of Charter common stock from the exercise of warrants and stock options, held by outside investors (employees and other third parties), at prices below Liberty Broadband’s investment basis per share during the year. The loss during 2015 is the result of the issuance of Charter common stock from the exercise of warrants and stock options, held by outside investors (employees and other third parties), at prices below Liberty Broadband’s investment basis per share during the year.
During the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, the Company recorded $811 thousand, $1.3 million and $3.2 million, respectively, of its share of Charter’s other comprehensive earnings, net of income taxes. Charter records gains and losses related to the fair value of its interest rate swap agreements which qualify as hedging activities in other comprehensive income. The pre-tax portion of Liberty Broadband’s share of Charter’s other comprehensive earnings was $1.3 million, $2.1 million and $5.2 million for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively.
Due to the amortization of amortizable assets acquired and losses due to warrant and stock option exercises at Charter (as previously discussed), the excess basis has decreased to $1,243.7 million as of December 31, 2016. Such amount has been allocated within memo accounts used for equity method accounting purposes as follows (amounts in millions):
Upon acquisition, the Company ascribed remaining useful lives of 7 years and 13 years to property and equipment and customer relationships, respectively, and indefinite lives to franchise fees, trademarks and goodwill. Outstanding debt is amortized over the contractual period using the effective interest rate method. Included in our share of earnings from Charter of $641.5 million, and losses of Charter of $121.0 million and $127.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively, are $41.8 million, $51.6 million and $81.2 million, respectively, of losses, net of taxes, due to the amortization of the excess basis of our investment in Charter related to debt and intangible assets with identifiable useful lives. The excess basis amortization during the year ended December 31, 2015 was offset by the write-off of the excess basis related to debt instruments which Charter repaid during the second quarter of 2015 prior to their contractual maturity.
Charter Communications, Inc.
Summarized financial information for Charter is as follows:
Consolidated Balance Sheets
Consolidated Statements of Operations
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