This excerpt taken from the WBMD 8-K filed Jul 2, 2009.
Other Risks Applicable to Our Company and to Ownership of Our Securities
Negative conditions in the market for certain auction rate securities may result in WebMD incurring a loss on such investments
As of December 31, 2008, WebMD had a total of approximately $164.8 million (face value) of investments in certain auction rate securities (ARS). Those ARS had a book value of $133.6 million. The types of ARS investments that WebMD owns are backed by student loans, 97% of which are guaranteed under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), and all had credit ratings of AAA or Aaa when purchased. WebMD does not own any other type of ARS investments.
Since February 2008, negative conditions in the regularly held auctions for these securities have prevented holders from being able to liquidate their holdings through that type of sale. In the event WebMD needs to or wants to sell its ARS investments, it may not be able to do so until a future auction on these types of investments is successful or until a buyer is found outside the auction process. If potential buyers are unwilling to purchase the investments at their carrying amount, WebMD would incur a loss on any such sales. In addition, the credit ratings on some of the ARS investments in our portfolio have been downgraded, and there may be additional such rating downgrades in the future. If uncertainties in the credit and capital markets continue, these markets deteriorate further or ARS investments in our portfolio experience additional credit rating downgrades, there could be further fair value adjustments or other-than-temporary impairments in the carrying value of our ARS investments.
We may not be successful in protecting our intellectual property and proprietary rights
Our intellectual property and proprietary rights are important to our businesses. The steps that we take to protect our intellectual property, proprietary information and trade secrets may prove to be inadequate and, whether or not adequate, may be expensive. We rely on a combination of trade secret, patent and other intellectual property laws and confidentiality procedures and non-disclosure contractual provisions to protect our intellectual property. We cannot assure you that we will be able to detect potential or actual misappropriation or infringement of our intellectual property, proprietary information or trade secrets. Even if we detect misappropriation or infringement by a third party, we cannot assure you that we will be able to enforce our rights at a reasonable cost, or at all. In addition, our rights to intellectual property, proprietary information and trade secrets may not prevent independent third-party development and commercialization of competing products or services.
Third parties may claim that we are infringing their intellectual property, and we could suffer significant litigation or licensing expenses or be prevented from providing certain services, which may harm our business
We could be subject to claims that we are misappropriating or infringing intellectual property or other proprietary rights of others. These claims, even if not meritorious, could be expensive to defend and divert managements attention from our operations. If we become liable to third parties for infringing these rights, we could be required to pay a substantial damage award and to develop non-infringing technology, obtain a license or cease selling the products or services that use or contain the infringing intellectual property. We may be unable to develop non-infringing products or services or obtain a license on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. We may also be required to indemnify our customers if they become subject to third-party claims relating to intellectual property that we license or otherwise provide to them, which could be costly.
Acquisitions, business combinations and other transactions may be difficult to complete and, if completed, may have negative consequences for our business and our security holders
WebMD has been built, in part, through acquisitions. We intend to continue to seek to acquire or to engage in business combinations with companies engaged in complementary businesses. In addition, we may enter into joint ventures, strategic alliances or similar arrangements with third parties. These transactions may result in changes in the nature and scope of our operations and changes in our financial condition. Our success
in completing these types of transactions will depend on, among other things, our ability to locate suitable candidates and negotiate mutually acceptable terms with them, and to obtain adequate financing. Significant competition for these opportunities exists, which may increase the cost of and decrease the opportunities for these types of transactions. Financing for these transactions may come from several sources, including:
The issuance of additional equity or debt securities could:
We do not intend to seek security holder approval for any such acquisition or security issuance unless required by applicable law, regulation or the terms of then existing securities.
Our business will suffer if we fail to successfully integrate acquired businesses and technologies or to assess the risks in particular transactions
We have in the past acquired, and may in the future acquire, businesses, technologies, services, product lines and other assets. The successful integration of the acquired businesses and assets into our operations, on a cost-effective basis, can be critical to our future performance. The amount and timing of the expected benefits of any acquisition, including potential synergies between our company and the acquired business, are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those relating to:
We cannot guarantee that any acquired businesses will be successfully integrated with our operations in a timely or cost-effective manner, or at all. Failure to successfully integrate acquired businesses or to achieve anticipated operating synergies, revenue enhancements or cost savings could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Although our management attempts to evaluate the risks inherent in each transaction and to value acquisition candidates appropriately, we cannot assure you that we will properly ascertain all such risks or that acquired businesses and assets will perform as we expect or enhance the value of our company as a whole. In addition, acquired companies or businesses may have larger than expected liabilities that are not covered by the indemnification, if any, that we are able to obtain from the sellers.
We may not be able to raise additional funds when needed for our business or to exploit opportunities
Our future liquidity and capital requirements will depend upon numerous factors, including the success of our service offerings, market developments, and repurchases of our common stock. We may need to raise additional funds to support expansion, develop new or enhanced applications and services, respond to competitive pressures, acquire complementary businesses or technologies or take advantage of unanticipated opportunities. If required, we may raise such additional funds through public or private debt or equity financing, strategic relationships or other arrangements. There can be no assurance that such financing will be available on acceptable terms, if at all, or that such financing will not be dilutive to our stockholders.
As widely reported, financial markets have been experiencing extreme disruption recently, including volatility in the prices of securities and severely diminished liquidity and availability of credit. Until this disruption in the financial markets is resolved, financing will be even more difficult to obtain on acceptable terms and we could be forced to cancel or delay investments or transactions that we would otherwise have made.