This excerpt taken from the VRSN 10-K filed Feb 29, 2008.
Valuation of goodwill and other intangible assets
Goodwill represents the excess of costs over fair value of net assets of businesses acquired. Goodwill and other intangible assets acquired in a business combination and determined to have an indefinite useful life are not amortized, but instead tested for impairment at least annually in accordance with the provisions of SFAS No. 142 (SFAS 142), Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets. In accordance with SFAS 142, such goodwill and other intangible assets may also be tested for impairment between annual tests in the presence of impairment indicators such as: (a) a significant adverse change in legal factors or in the business climate; (b) an adverse action or assessment by a regulator; (c) unanticipated competition; (d) loss of key personnel; (e) a more-likely-than-not expectation of sale or disposal of a reporting unit or a significant portion thereof; (f) testing for recoverability under SFAS 144 of a significant asset group within a reporting unit; (g) recognition of a goodwill impairment loss in the financial statements of a subsidiary that is a component of a reporting unit.
We performed our annual impairment tests as of June 30, 2007, 2006 and 2005. The fair value of our reporting units is determined using either the income or the market valuation approach or a combination thereof. Under the income approach, the fair value of the reporting unit is based on the present value of estimated future cash flows that the reporting unit is expected to generate over its remaining life. Under the market approach, the value of the reporting unit is based on an analysis that compares the value of the reporting unit to values of publicly traded companies in similar lines of business. In the application of the income and market valuation approaches, we are required to make estimates of future operating trends and judgments on discount rates and other variables. Actual
future results related to assumed variables could differ from these estimates. There were no impairment charges for goodwill from the annual impairment tests conducted as of June 30, 2007, 2006 and 2005.
At December 31, 2007, we performed an additional impairment test primarily as a result of our decision to divest our non-core businesses. As a result of the impairment test, we recorded an impairment charge of $182.2 million, $62.6 million and $4.3 million for goodwill, other intangible assets and property and equipment, respectively, related to our Content Services business reporting unit. See Note 7, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets, of our Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further information.
The process of evaluating the potential impairment of goodwill is highly subjective and requires significant judgment at many points during the analysis. In estimating the fair value of the businesses with recognized goodwill for the purposes of its annual or periodic analyses, the Company makes estimates and judgments about the future cash flows of these businesses. Although the Companys cash flow forecasts are based on assumptions that are consistent with the plans and estimates it is using to manage the underlying businesses, there is significant judgment in determining the cash flows attributable to these businesses over their estimated remaining useful lives. The Company also considers its market capitalization on the date it performs the analysis.
As the Company divests its non-core businesses, it may incur further charges for impairment of goodwill in the future if the net book value of its reporting units exceeds the estimated fair value. Any additional future impairment charges could adversely affect the Companys earnings.