This excerpt taken from the NDAQ 8-K filed Feb 20, 2008.
The exchange registrations represent a license that provides OMX with the ability to operate its stock exchanges. Management views this intangible asset as a perpetual license to operate the exchanges so long as OMX meets its regulatory requirements. Nasdaq selected a variation of the income approach called the Greenfield Approach to value these exchange registrations. The Greenfield Approach refers to a discounted cash flow analysis that assumes the buyer is developing the assets from inception. This discounted cash flow model considers the required resources and eventual returns from the build-out of an operational exchange and the acquisition of customers, once the exchange registrations are obtained. The advantage of the approach is that it reflects the actual expectations that will arise from an investment in the registration and it directly values the registrations. The Greenfield Approach relies on assumptions regarding projected revenues, margins, capital expenditures, depreciation, and working capital during the seven-year ramp-up period as well as the terminal period.
A steady state projection for OMX was established first. The projection included synergies that a market participant buyer could realize. A terminal growth rate of 3.0% was chosen as a reasonable estimate of the growth rate of the stock exchange industry on a long-term basis. Then, a steady state projection was used starting in year seven based on the assumption that a stock exchange can expect to arrive at a steady state at the end of a six-year ramp-up period. For the intermediate six-year period, revenue was estimated using interpolation. Stable EBIT margins following year six were based on the steady state projection.
Nasdaq divided the costs into fixed costs and variable costs. It was estimated that 50.0% of the steady state expenses were fixed costs, and the remaining 50.0% of the costs were variable costs. The variable costs were estimated to ramp up for seven years in proportion to the revenue.
Additionally, marketing and selling expenses were estimated to be incurred at 10.0% of the revenue during the six-year ramp-up period. Trade name royalty payments were estimated to be incurred at a 3.0% pre-tax royalty rate into perpetuity, as the Greenfield Approach assumes there are no assets other than the exchange registrations.
The initial capital expenditure in year one reflects the costs associated with obtaining the fixed assets and minimal regulatory fees were required. Subsequent annual capital expenditures and depreciation were estimated at 6.1% of the revenue, assuming that maintenance capital expenditures are required to replace the depreciated fixed assets.
Based on historical working capital levels and a review of working capital for comparable companies operating in the industry, working capital for a typical market participant, as a percentage of net revenue, is projected to be 26.0% throughout the projection period.
The cash flows were then tax-effected at a rate of 28.0%, and a discounted tax amortization benefit was added to the fair value of the asset under the assumption that the exchange registrations would be amortized for tax purposes over a period of seven years.
Nasdaq used the above discussed Greenfield Approach as well as a cost analysis to determine the fair value of the exchange registration. At this time, Nasdaq decided to utilize the indicated fair value resulting from the cost analysis approach. This value appeared to be the most accurate value to use as it yielded a lower value than the Greenfield Approach.
An indefinite life was assumed for these registrations as the exchanges have operated, in some cases, for more than 140 years and the authorization to operate these exchanges is perpetual so long as OMX meets its regulatory requirements. Furthermore, since no legal, contractual, competitive, economic, or other factors limit the useful life of this intangible asset, Nasdaq considered the useful life of the exchange registrations to be indefinite. As noted above, we assessed the factors listed in paragraph 11 of SFAS 142 in making this indefinite life determination.