Commitments and Contingencies
|6 Months Ended|
Jun. 30, 2022
|Commitments and Contingencies||
(10) Commitments and Contingencies
In connection with agreements for the sale of assets by the Company or its subsidiaries, the Company may retain liabilities that relate to events occurring prior to its sale, such as tax, environmental, litigation and employment matters. The Company generally indemnifies the purchaser in the event that a third party asserts a claim against the purchaser that relates to a liability retained by the Company. These types of indemnification obligations may extend for a number of years. The Company is unable to estimate the maximum potential liability for these types of indemnification obligations as the sale agreements may not specify a maximum amount and the amounts are dependent upon the outcome of future contingent events, the nature and likelihood of which cannot be determined at this time. Historically, the Company has not made any significant indemnification payments under such agreements and no amount has been accrued in the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements with respect to these indemnification guarantees.
The Atlanta Braves and certain of their players (current and former), coaches and executives have entered into long-term employment contracts whereby such individuals' compensation is guaranteed. Amounts due under guaranteed
contracts as of June 30, 2022 aggregated $553 million, which is payable as follows: $199 million in 2022, $115 million in 2023, $73 million in 2024, $50 million in 2025 and $116 million thereafter. In addition to the foregoing amounts, certain players, coaches and executives may earn incentive compensation under the terms of their employment contracts.
During the three months ended March 31, 2021, Sirius XM Holdings recorded an impairment charge of $220 million to impairment, restructuring and acquisition costs, net of recoveries in the condensed consolidated statement of operations related to the total loss of the SXM-7 satellite. Sirius XM Holdings procured insurance for SXM-7 to cover the risks associated with the satellite's launch and first year of in-orbit operation. The aggregate coverage under the insurance policies with respect to SXM-7 was $225 million. Sirius XM Holdings recorded $140 million and $85 million of insurance recoveries during the three months ended June 30, 2021 and September 30, 2021, respectively.
The SXM-8 satellite was successfully launched into a geostationary orbit on June 6, 2021 and was placed into service on September 8, 2021 following the completion of in-orbit testing. The SXM-8 satellite replaced the XM-3 satellite. During the six months ended June 30, 2022, the XM-5 satellite replaced the XM-4 satellite. The XM-3 and XM-4 satellites remain available as in-orbit spares.
Impact of COVID-19
In December 2019, Chinese officials reported a novel coronavirus outbreak (“COVID-19”). COVID-19 has since spread internationally. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization assessed COVID-19 as a global pandemic, causing many countries throughout the world to take aggressive actions, including imposing travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders, closing public attractions and restaurants, and mandating social distancing practices. The business operations of Formula 1, the Atlanta Braves and Live Nation initially were largely, if not completely, suspended at the outset of COVID-19. In 2020, the regular baseball season was comprised of 60 games and Formula 1 had 17 Events. The 2021 regular baseball season was comprised of 161 games. Formula 1 originally scheduled 23 Events in 2021, and after a number of Events were cancelled and/or replaced, a record 22 Events took place. Braves Holdings and Formula 1 had limitations on the number of fans in attendance at certain games and Events in 2021, thereby reducing revenue associated with fan attendance. Starting in the third quarter of 2021, Live Nation saw a meaningful restart of its operations, with growth in ticket sales, new sponsor partners and the resumption of shows, primarily in the United States and United Kingdom. In 2022, Formula 1 expects to hold 22 Events and Braves Holdings expects a full 162 game schedule. It is unclear whether and to what extent COVID-19 concerns will continue to impact the use of and/or demand for the entertainment, events and services provided by these businesses and demand for sponsorship and advertising assets. If these businesses face cancelled events, closed venues and reduced attendance in the future, the impact may substantially decrease our revenue. Due to the revenue reductions caused by COVID-19 to date, these businesses have looked to reduce expenses, but should such impacts resume, the businesses may not be able to reduce expenses to the same degree as any decline in revenue, which may adversely affect our results of operations and cash flow.
Restructuring of Sirius XM Holdings’ leases
During the six months ended June 30, 2021, Sirius XM Holdings evaluated its office space needs and, as a result of such analysis, surrendered certain office leases, primarily in New York, New York and Oakland, California. Sirius XM Holdings assessed the recoverability of the carrying value of the operating lease right of use assets related to these locations. Based on that assessment, Sirius XM Holdings recorded impairments aggregating $18 million to reduce the carrying value of the assets to their fair values. Additionally, Sirius XM Holdings accrued expenses of $6 million for which it will not recognize any future economic benefits and wrote off leasehold improvements of $1 million. The fair values of the assets were determined using a discounted cash flow model based on Sirius XM Holdings management's assumptions
regarding the ability to sublease the locations and the remaining term of the leases. The total charge of $25 million was recorded to impairment, restructuring and acquisition costs, net of recoveries in the condensed consolidated statement of operations for the six months ended June 30, 2021.
The Company has contingent liabilities related to legal and tax proceedings and other matters arising in the ordinary course of business. Although it is reasonably possible the Company may incur losses upon conclusion of such matters, an estimate of any loss or range of loss cannot be made. In the opinion of management, it is expected that amounts, if any, which may be required to satisfy such contingencies will not be material in relation to the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements.
Pre-1972 Sound Recording Litigation. On October 2, 2014, Flo & Eddie Inc. filed a class action suit against Pandora in the federal district court for the Central District of California. The complaint alleges a violation of California Civil Code Section 980, unfair competition, misappropriation and conversion in connection with the public performance of sound recordings recorded prior to February 15, 1972 (“pre-1972 recordings”). On December 19, 2014, Pandora filed a motion to strike the complaint pursuant to California’s Anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (“anti-SLAPP”) statute, which following denial of Pandora’s motion was appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In March 2017, the Ninth Circuit requested certification to the California Supreme Court on the substantive legal questions. The California Supreme Court accepted certification. In May 2019, the California Supreme Court issued an order dismissing consideration of the certified questions on the basis that, following the enactment of the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act, Pub. L. No. 115-264, 132 Stat. 3676 (2018) (the “MMA”), resolution of the questions posed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was no longer “necessary to . . . settle an important question of law.”
The MMA grants a potential federal preemption defense to the claims asserted in the aforementioned lawsuits. In July 2019, Pandora took steps to avail itself of this preemption defense, including making the required payments under the MMA for certain of its uses of pre-1972 recordings. Based on the federal preemption contained in the MMA (along with other considerations), Pandora asked the Ninth Circuit to order the dismissal of the Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Pandora Media, Inc. case. On October 17, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a memorandum disposition concluding that the question of whether the MMA preempts Flo and Eddie's claims challenging Pandora's performance of pre-1972 recordings "depends on various unanswered factual questions" and remanded the case to the District Court for further proceedings.
In October 2020, the District Court denied Pandora’s renewed motion to dismiss the case under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, finding the case no longer qualified for anti-SLAPP due to intervening changes in the law, and denied Pandora’s renewed attempt to end the case. Alternatively, the District Court ruled that the preemption defense likely did not apply to Flo & Eddie’s claims, in part because the District Court believed that the MMA did not apply retroactively. Pandora promptly appealed the District Court’s decision to the Ninth Circuit, and moved to stay appellate briefing pending the appeal of a related case against Sirius XM. On January 13, 2021, the Ninth Circuit issued an order granting the stay of appellate proceedings pending the resolution of a related case against Sirius XM.
On August 23, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an Opinion in a related case, Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc. The related case also concerned a class action suit brought by Flo & Eddie Inc. regarding the public performance of pre-1972 recordings under California law. Relying on California’s copyright statute, Flo & Eddie argued that California law gave it the “exclusive ownership” of its pre-1972 songs, including the right of public performance. The Ninth Circuit reversed the District Court’s grant of partial summary judgment to Flo & Eddie Inc. The Ninth Circuit held that the District Court in this related case erred in concluding that “exclusive ownership” under California’s copyright statute included the right of public performance. The Ninth Circuit remanded the case for entry of judgment consistent with the terms of the parties’ contingent settlement agreement, and on October 6, 2021, the parties to
the related case stipulated to its dismissal with prejudice. The Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc. decision is precedential in the Ninth Circuit, and therefore Sirius XM Holdings believes substantially narrows the claims that Flo & Eddie may continue to assert against Pandora.
Following issuance of the Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc. opinion, on September 3, 2021, the Ninth Circuit lifted the stay of appellate proceedings in Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Pandora Media, LLC. Pandora promptly filed an appeal of the District Court’s order denying the renewed motion to dismiss the case under California’s anti-SLAAP statute.
On June 2, 2022, the Ninth Circuit upheld the District Court’s order denying dismissal of the case under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, finding that Pandora had failed to demonstrate that Flo & Eddie’s claims arise from Pandora’s protected conduct. As part of the decision, the Ninth Circuit noted that Pandora had forcefully argued that the Court’s decision in Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., and other decisions under New York, Florida and Georgia law, foreclosed Flo & Eddie’s claims as a matter of law. Because the case has been pending for over seven years, the Ninth Circuit remanded the case to the District Court and directed “the district court to consider expedited motions practice on the legal validity of Flo & Eddie’s claims in light of the intervening precedent.”
The District Court has scheduled a hearing to review next steps in this case. Sirius XM Holdings continues to believe it has substantial defenses to the remaining claims asserted in this action, and intends to defend this action vigorously.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://fasb.org/us-gaap/role/ref/legacyRef