These excerpts taken from the ATVI 10-K filed Feb 27, 2009.
Fair Value Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP often requires us to determine the fair value of a particular item to fairly present our Consolidated Financial Statements. Without an independent market or another representative transaction, determining the fair value of a particular item requires us to make several assumptions that are inherently difficult to predict and can have a material impact on the conclusion of the appropriate accounting.
There are various valuation techniques used to estimate fair value. These include (1) the market approach where market transactions for identical or comparable assets or liabilities are used to determine the fair value, (2) the income approach, which uses valuation techniques to convert future amounts (for example, future cash flows or future earnings) to a single present amount, and (3) the cost approach, which is based on the amount that would be required to replace an asset. For many of our fair value estimates, including our estimates of the fair value of acquired intangible assets, we use the income approach. Using the income approach requires the use of financial models, which require us to make various estimates including, but not limited to (1) the potential future cash flows for the asset, liability or equity instrument being measured, (2) the timing of receipt or payment of those future cash flows, (3) the time value of money associated with the delayed receipt or payment of such cash flows, and (4) the inherent risk associated with the cash flows (risk premium). Making these cash flow estimates are inherently difficult and subjective, and, if any of the estimates used to determine the fair value using the income approach turns out to be inaccurate, our financial results may be negatively impacted. Furthermore, relatively small changes in many of these estimates can have a significant impact on the estimated fair value resulting from the financial models or the related accounting conclusion reached. For example, a relatively small change in the estimated fair value of an asset may change a conclusion as to whether an asset is impaired. While we are required to make certain fair value assessments associated with the accounting for several types of transactions, the following areas are the most sensitive to the assessments:
Business Combinations. We must estimate the fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed in a business combination. Our assessment of the estimated fair value of each of these can have a material effect on our reported results as intangible assets are amortized over various lives. Furthermore, a change in the estimated fair value of an asset or liability often has a direct impact on the amount to recognize as goodwill, which is an asset that is not amortized. Often determining the fair value of these assets and liabilities assumed requires an assessment of expected use of the asset, the expected cost to extinguish the liability or our expectations related to the timing and the successful completion of development of an acquired in-process technology. Such estimates are inherently difficult and subjective and can have a material impact on our financial statements.
Assessment of Impairment of Assets. Management evaluates the recoverability of our identifiable intangible assets and other long-lived assets in accordance with SFAS No. 144, "Accounting for the
Impairment or Disposal of Long-lived Assets," which generally requires the assessment of these assets for recoverability when events or circumstances indicate a potential impairment exists. We considered certain events and circumstances in determining whether the carrying value of identifiable intangible assets and other long-lived assets may not be recoverable including, but are not limited to: significant changes in performance relative to expected operating results; significant changes in the use of the assets; significant negative industry or economic trends; a significant decline in our stock price for a sustained period of time; and changes in our business strategy. In determining if an impairment exists, we estimate the undiscounted cash flows to be generated from the use and ultimate disposition of these assets. If an impairment is indicated based on a comparison of the assets' carrying values and the undiscounted cash flows, the impairment loss is measured as the amount by which the carrying amount of the assets exceeds the fair value of the assets. The decision to dispose of certain assets of the non-core operating segment as part of our restructuring plan following the Business Combination was considered to be an indicator of impairment under SFAS No. 144. We performed an impairment test on the long-lived assets of the non-core operating segment and determined that an acquired trade name was impaired. As a result, an impairment charge of $5 million was recorded as part of restructuring costs. Other than this event, during 2008, we did not perform any other impairment tests of our long-lived assets as there were no significant and adverse underlying changes to our expected operating results or other indicators of impairment. Other than the $5 million impairment of the acquired trade name, we determined that there was no other impairment of long-lived assets for the years ended December 31, 2008, 2007 and 2006.
SFAS No. 142, "Goodwill and other Intangibles" ("SFAS No. 142") requires a two-step approach to testing goodwill for impairment for each reporting unit. Our reporting units are determined by the components of our operating segments that constitute a business for which both (1) discrete financial information is available and (2) segment management regularly reviews the operating results of that component. SFAS No. 142 requires that the impairment test be performed at least annually by applying a fair-value-based test. The first step measures for impairment by applying fair-value-based tests at the reporting unit level. The second step (if necessary) measures the amount of impairment by applying fair-value-based tests to the individual assets and liabilities within each reporting unit.
To determine the fair values of the reporting units used in the first step, we use a discounted cash flow approach. Each step requires us to make judgments and involves the use of significant estimates and assumptions. These estimates and assumptions include long-term growth rates and operating margins used to calculate projected future cash flows, risk-adjusted discount rates based on our weighted average cost of capital, future economic and market conditions. These estimates and assumptions have to be made for each reporting unit evaluated for impairment. Our estimates for market growth, our market share and costs are based on historical data, various internal estimates and certain external sources, and are based on assumptions that are consistent with the plans and estimates we are using to manage the underlying business. If future forecasts are revised, they may indicate or require future impairment charges. We base our fair value estimates on assumptions we believe to be reasonable but that are unpredictable and inherently uncertain. Actual future results may differ from those estimates.
Stock-Based Compensation. We estimate the value of employee stock options on the date of grant using a binomial-lattice model. Our determination of fair value of share-based payment awards on the date of grant using an option-pricing model is affected by our stock price as well as assumptions regarding a number of highly complex and subjective variables. These variables include, but are not limited to, our expected stock price volatility over the term of the awards, and actual and projected employee stock option exercise behaviors.
For more detailed information about Activision Blizzard's accounting policy for the measurement of fair value of financial assets and financial liabilities and information about the financial assets and financial liabilities, see Notes 3 and 17 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Fair Value Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP often requires us to determine the fair value of a
Business Combinations. We must estimate the fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed in a business combination. Our
Assessment of Impairment of Assets. Management evaluates the recoverability of our identifiable intangible assets and other long-lived
Stock-Based Compensation. We estimate the value of employee stock options on the date of grant using a binomial-lattice