Tradename intangible assets are tested for impairment at least annually during the fourth quarter or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value may not be fully recoverable. During 2017, we performed a quantitative tradename impairment assessment for each tradename asset, which included comparing their carrying values to an estimated fair value. We estimated the fair value of our tradenames by applying an estimated market royalty rate that could be charged for the use of our tradename to forecasted future revenues, with an adjustment for the present value of such royalties. If the estimated fair value is less than the carrying value, the tradename intangible asset is written down to its estimated fair value. Significant judgment is involved in estimating market royalty rates and long-term revenue forecasts. Management’s estimates, which fall under Level 3 of the U.S. GAAP fair value hierarchy as defined by FASB ASC Topic 820-10-35, are based on historical and projected revenue performance and industry trends. As of December 31, 2017, the estimated fair value of the Company’s tradename intangible assets exceeded their carrying values by more than 10%.
We use an asset and liability approach to financial accounting and reporting for income taxes. Deferred income taxes are provided when tax laws and financial accounting standards differ with respect to the amount of income for a year and the basis of assets and liabilities. A valuation allowance is recorded to reduce the carrying amount of deferred tax assets unless it is more likely than not that such assets will be realized. Income taxes are provided on unremitted earnings from foreign subsidiaries unless such earnings are expected to be indefinitely reinvested. Income taxes have also been provided for potential tax assessments. The evaluation of an uncertain tax position is a two-step process. The first step is recognition: We determine whether it is more likely than not that a tax position will be sustained upon examination, including resolution of any related appeals or litigation processes, based on the technical merits of the position. In evaluating whether a tax position has met the more-likely-than-not recognition threshold, we presume that the position would be examined by the appropriate taxing authority that would have full knowledge of all relevant information. The second step is measurement: A tax position that meets the more-likely-than-not recognition threshold is measured to determine the amount of benefit to recognize in the financial statements. The tax position is measured at the largest amount of benefit that is greater than 50 percent likely of being realized upon ultimate settlement. Differences between tax positions taken in a tax return and amounts recognized in the financial statements result in (1) a change in a liability for income taxes payable or (2) a change in an income tax refund receivable, a deferred tax asset or a deferred tax liability or both (1) and (2). We accrue interest and penalties on uncertain tax positions. See “Impact of Recent Accounting Developments” below.
Accounting for Investment in National CineMedia, LLC and Related Agreements
We have an investment in NCM. NCM operates a digital in-theatre network in the U.S. for providing cinema advertising and non-film events. Upon joining NCM, the Company and NCM entered into an Exhibitor Services Agreement (“ESA”), pursuant to which NCM provides advertising, promotion and event services to the Company’s theatres. On February 13, 2007, National CineMedia, Inc., or NCM Inc., a newly formed entity that serves as a member and the sole manager of NCM, completed an initial public offering of its common stock. In connection with the NCM Inc. initial public offering, the Company amended its operating agreement and the Exhibitor Services Agreement, or ESA, with NCM and received proceeds related to the modification of the ESA and the Company’s sale of certain of its shares in NCM. The ESA modification reflected a shift from circuit share expense under the prior Exhibitor Services Agreement, which obligated NCM to pay the Company a percentage of revenue, to a monthly theatre access fee, which significantly reduced the contractual amounts paid to the Company by NCM. The Company recorded the proceeds related to the ESA modification as deferred revenue, which is being amortized into other revenues over the life of the agreement using the units of revenue method. As a result of the proceeds received as part of the NCM, Inc. initial public offering, the Company had a negative basis in its original membership units in NCM (referred to herein as its Tranche 1 Investment). The Company does not recognize undistributed equity in the earnings on its Tranche 1 Investment until NCM's future net earnings, less distributions received, surpass the amount of the excess distribution. The Company recognizes equity in earnings on its Tranche 1 Investment only to the extent it receives cash distributions from NCM. The Company believes that the accounting model provided by ASC 323-10-35-22 for recognition of equity investee losses in excess of an investor's basis is analogous to the accounting for equity income subsequent to recognizing an excess distribution.