Summary of significant accounting policies
(a) Basis of presentation and consolidation
The accompanying consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”) and pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). All significant intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.
As discussed in Note 1, Planet Fitness, Inc. consolidates Pla-Fit Holdings. The Company also consolidates entities in which it has a controlling financial interest, the usual condition of which is ownership of a majority voting interest. The Company also considers for consolidation certain interests where the controlling financial interest may be achieved through arrangements that do not involve voting interests. Such an entity, known as a variable interest entity (“VIE”), is required to be consolidated by its primary beneficiary. The primary beneficiary of a VIE is considered to possess the power to direct the activities of the VIE that most significantly impact its economic performance and has the obligation to absorb losses or the rights to receive benefits from the VIE that are significant to it. The principal entities in which the Company possesses a variable interest include franchise entities and certain other entities. The Company is not deemed to be the primary beneficiary for Planet Fitness franchise entities. Therefore, these entities are not consolidated.
The results of the Company have been consolidated with Matthew Michael Realty LLC (“MMR”), PF Melville LLC (“PF Melville”), and Planet Fitness NAF, LLC (the “NAF”) based on the determination that the Company is the primary beneficiary with respect to these VIEs. MMR and PF Melville are real estate holding companies that derive a majority of their financial support from the Company through lease agreements for corporate stores. See Note 3 for further information related to the Company’s VIEs. The NAF is an advertising fund on behalf of which the Company collects 2% of gross monthly membership fees from franchisees, in accordance with the provisions of the franchise agreements, and uses the amounts received to increase sales and further enhance the public reputation of the Planet Fitness brand. See Note 4 for further information related to the NAF.
(b) Use of estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. Although these estimates are based on management’s knowledge of current events and actions it may undertake in the future, they may ultimately differ from actual results. Significant areas where estimates and judgments are relied upon by management in the preparation of the consolidated financial statements include revenue recognition, valuation of equity-based compensation awards, the evaluation of the recoverability of goodwill and long-lived assets, including intangible assets, income taxes, including deferred tax assets and liabilities and reserves for unrecognized tax benefits, and the liability for the Company’s tax benefit arrangements.
Cash and cash equivalents are financial instruments, which potentially subject the Company to a concentration of credit risk. The Company invests its excess cash in several major financial institutions, which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to $250,000. The Company maintains balances in excess of these limits, but does not believe that such deposits with its banks are subject to any unusual risk.
The credit risk associated with trade receivables is mitigated due to the large number of customers, generally our franchisees, and their broad dispersion over many different geographic areas. We do not have any concentrations with respect to our revenues.
The Company purchases equipment, both for corporate-owned stores and for sales to franchisee-owned stores from various equipment vendors. For the year ended December 31, 2018 purchases from two equipment vendors comprised 76% and 13%, respectively, of total equipment purchases. For the year ended December 31, 2017 purchases from one equipment vendor comprised 91% of total equipment purchases and for the year ended December 31, 2016 purchases from two equipment vendors comprised 83% and 13%, respectively, of total equipment purchases.
The Company, including the NAF, uses one primary vendor for advertising services. For the year ended December 31, 2018, purchases from this vendor comprised 65% of total advertising purchases. For the year ended December 31, 2017 purchases from one vendor comprised 63% of total advertising purchases and for the year ended December 31, 2016 purchases from two vendors comprised 25% and 16% of total advertising purchases, respectively. (see Note 4 for further discussion of the NAF).
(d) Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash
The Company considers all highly liquid investments purchased with an original maturity of 90 days or less to be cash equivalents. Cash held within the NAF is recorded as a restricted asset (see Note 4).
In accordance with the Company’s securitized financing facility, certain cash accounts have been established in the name of Citibank, N.A. (the “Trustee”). The Company holds restricted cash which primarily represents cash collections held by the Trustee, which includes interest, principal, and commitment fee reserves. As of December 31, 2018, the Company had restricted cash held by the Trustee of $30,708. Restricted cash has been combined with cash and cash equivalents when reconciling the beginning and end of period balances in the consolidated statements of cash flows.
(e) Revenue recognition
Revenue from Contracts with Customers
We transitioned to FASB Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 606, Revenue From Contracts with Customers (“ASC 606”), from ASC Topic 605, Revenue Recognition and ASC Subtopic 952-605, Franchisors - Revenue Recognition (together, the “Previous Standards”) on January 1, 2018 using the modified retrospective transition method. Our Financial Statements reflect the application of ASC 606 guidance beginning in 2018, while our consolidated financial statements for prior periods were prepared under the guidance of Previous Standards. The $9,192 cumulative effect of our transition to ASC 606 is reflected as an adjustment to January 1, 2018 stockholders' deficit (see Note 10).
Our transition to ASC 606 represents a change in accounting principle. ASC 606 eliminates industry-specific guidance and provides a single revenue recognition model for recognizing revenue from contracts with customers. The core principle of ASC 606 is that a reporting entity should recognize revenue to depict the transfer of promised goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the reporting entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services.
Revenue Recognition Significant Accounting Policies under ASC 606
The Company's revenues are comprised of franchise revenue, equipment revenue, and corporate-owned stores revenue.
Franchise revenues consist primarily of royalties, NAF contributions, initial and successor franchise fees and upfront fees from area development agreements ("ADAs"), transfer fees, equipment placement revenue, other fees and commission income.
The Company's primary performance obligation under the franchise license is granting certain rights to use the Company's intellectual property, and all other services the Company provides under the ADA and franchise agreement are highly interrelated, not distinct within the contract, and therefore accounted for under ASC 606 as a single performance obligation, which is satisfied by granting certain rights to use our intellectual property over the term of each franchise agreement.
Royalties, including franchisee contributions to national advertising funds, are calculated as a percentage of franchise monthly dues and annual fees over the term of the franchise agreement. Under our franchise agreements, advertising contributions paid by franchisees must be spent on advertising, marketing and related activities. Initial and successor franchise fees are payable by the franchisee upon signing a new franchise agreement or successor franchise agreement, and transfer fees are paid to the Company when one franchisee transfers a franchise agreement to a different franchisee. Our franchise royalties, as well as our NAF contributions, represent sales-based royalties that are related entirely to our performance obligation under the franchise agreement and are recognized as franchise sales occur.
Additionally, under ASC 606, initial and successor franchise fees, as well as transfer fees, are recognized as revenue on a straight-line basis over the term of the respective franchise agreement. Under the Previous Standards, initial franchise fees were recognized as revenue when the related franchisees signed a lease and completed the Company's new franchisee training. Successor franchise fees and transfer fees were recognized as revenue upon execution of a new franchise agreement. Our ADAs generally consist of an obligation to grant geographic exclusive area development rights. These development rights are not distinct from franchise agreements, so upfront fees paid by franchisees for exclusive development rights are deferred and apportioned to each franchise agreement signed by the franchisee. The pro-rata amount apportioned to each franchise agreement is accounted for identically to the initial franchise fee.
The Company is generally responsible for assembly and placement of equipment it sells to U.S. based franchisee-owned stores. Placement revenue is recognized upon completion and acceptance of the services at the franchise location.
The Company recognizes commission income from certain of its franchisees’ use of certain preferred vendor arrangements. Commissions are recognized when amounts have been earned and collectability from the vendor is reasonably assured.
Online member join fees are paid to the Company by franchisees for processing new membership transactions when a new member signs up for a membership to a franchisee-owned store through the Company’s website. These fees are recognized as revenue as each transaction occurs.
Billing transaction fees are paid to the Company by certain of its franchisees for the processing of franchisee membership dues and annual fees through the Company’s third-party hosted point-of-sale system and are recognized as revenue as they are earned.
The Company sells and delivers equipment purchased from third-party equipment manufacturers to U.S. based franchisee-owned stores. Revenue is recognized upon transfer of control of ordered items, generally upon delivery to the customer, which is when the customer obtains physical possession of the goods, legal title is transferred, the customer has all risks and rewards of ownership and an obligation to pay for the goods is created. Franchisees are charged for all freight costs incurred for the delivery of equipment. Freight revenue is recorded within equipment revenue and freight costs are recorded within cost of revenue. In most instances, the Company recognizes equipment revenue on a gross basis as management has determined the Company to be the principal in these transactions. Management determined the Company to be the principal in the transaction because the Company controls the equipment prior to delivery to the final customer as evidenced by its pricing discretion over the goods, inventory transfer of title and risk of loss while the inventory is in transit, and having the primary responsibility to fulfill the customer order and direct the third-party vendor.
Corporate-owned stores revenue
The following revenues are generated from stores owned and operated by the Company.
Membership dues revenue
Customers are offered multiple membership choices varying in length. Membership dues are earned and recognized over the membership term on a straight-line basis.
Enrollment fee revenue
Enrollment fees are charged to new members at the commencement of their membership. The Company recognizes enrollment fees ratably over the estimated duration of the membership life, which is generally two years.
Annual membership fee revenue
Annual membership fees are annual fees charged to members in addition to and in order to maintain low monthly membership dues. The Company recognizes annual membership fees ratably over the 12-month membership period.
The Company sells Planet Fitness branded apparel, food, beverages, and other accessories. The revenue for these items is recognized at the point of sale.
All revenue amounts are recorded net of applicable sales tax.
Revenue Recognition Significant Accounting Policies under Previous Standards, prior to January 1, 2018 if different than under ASC 606
The following revenues are generated as a result of transactions with or related to the Company’s franchisees.
Area development fees
ADA fees collected in advance are deferred until the Company provides substantially all required obligations pursuant to the ADA. As the efforts and total cost relating to initial services are affected significantly by the number of stores opened in an area, the respective ADA is treated as a divisible contract. As each new site is accepted under an ADA, a franchisee signs a franchise operating agreement for the respective franchise location. As each store opened under an ADA typically has performance obligations associated with it, the Company recognizes ADA revenue as each individual franchise location is developed in proportion to the total number of stores to be developed under the ADA. These obligations are typically completed once the store is opened or the franchisee executes the individual property lease. ADAs generally have an initial term equal to the number of years over which the franchisee is required to open franchise stores, which is typically 5 to 10 years. There is no right of refund for an executed ADA. Upon default, as defined in the agreement, the Company may reacquire the rights pursuant to an ADA, and all remaining deferred revenue is recognized at that time.
Franchise fees and performance fees
Nonrefundable franchise fees are typically deferred until the franchisee executes a lease and receives initial training for the location, which is the point at which the Company has determined it has provided all of its material obligations required to recognize revenue. These amounts are included in deferred revenue on our consolidated balance sheets.
The individual franchise agreements typically have a 10-year initial term, but provide the franchisee with an opportunity to enter into successive renewals subject to certain conditions.
The Company’s current franchise agreement provides that upon the transfer of a Planet Fitness store to a different franchisee, the Company is entitled to a transfer fee in the amount of the greater of $25, or $10 per store being transferred, if more than one, in addition to reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses, including external legal and administrative costs incurred in connection with the transfer. Transfer-related fees and expenses are due, payable, and recognized at the time the transfer is effectuated.
Royalties, which represent recurring fees paid by franchisees based on the franchisee-owned stores’ monthly and annual membership billings, are recognized on a monthly basis over the term of the franchise agreement. As specified under certain franchise agreements, the Company recognizes additional royalty fees as the franchisee-owned stores attain contractual monthly membership billing threshold amounts.
Equipment revenue is recognized upon the equipment being delivered to and assembled at each store and accepted by the franchisee. Franchisees are charged for all freight costs incurred for the delivery of equipment. Freight revenue is recorded within equipment revenue and freight costs are recorded within cost of revenue. The Company recognizes revenue on a gross basis in these transactions as management has determined the Company to be the principal in these transactions. Management determined the Company to be the principal because the Company is the primary obligor in these transactions, the Company has latitude in establishing prices for the equipment sales to franchisees, the Company has supplier selection discretion and is involved in determination of product specifications, and the Company bears all credit risk associated with obligations to the equipment manufacturers.
Equipment deposits are recognized as a liability on the accompanying consolidated balance sheets until delivery, assembly (if required), and acceptance by the franchisee.
(f) Deferred revenue
Subsequent to the adoption of ASC 606 franchise deferred revenue results from initial and successor franchise fees and ADA fees paid by franchisees, as well as transfer fees, which are generally recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the underlying franchise agreement and under the Previous Standard franchise deferred revenue represents cash received from franchisees for ADAs and franchise fees for which revenue recognition criteria has not yet been met. Deferred revenue is also recognized in our corporate-owned stores segment for cash received from members for enrollment fees, membership dues and annual fees for the portion not yet earned based on the membership period under both ASC 606 and the Previous Standard.
(g) Cost of revenue
Cost of revenue consists primarily of direct costs associated with equipment sales (including freight costs) and the cost of retail merchandise sold in corporate-owned stores. Costs related to retail merchandise sales were immaterial in all periods presented. Rebates from equipment vendors where the Company has recognized the related equipment revenue and costs are recorded as a reduction to the cost of revenue.
(h) Store operations
Store operations consists of the direct costs related to operating corporate-owned stores, including our store management and staff, rent expense, utilities, supplies, maintenance, and local advertising.
(i) Selling, general and administrative
Selling, general and administrative expenses consist of costs associated with administrative and franchisee support functions related to our existing business as well as growth and development activities. These costs primarily consist of payroll, IT related, marketing, legal and accounting expenses. These expenses include costs related to placement services of $5,397, $4,601, and $3,970, for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively.
(j) Accounts receivable
Accounts receivable is primarily comprised of amounts owed to the Company resulting from equipment, placement, and commission revenue. The Company evaluates its accounts receivable on an ongoing basis and may establish an allowance for doubtful accounts based on collections and current credit conditions. Accounts are written off as uncollectible when it is determined that further collection efforts will be unsuccessful. Historically, the Company has not had a significant amount of write-offs.
(k) Leases and asset retirement obligations
The Company recognizes rent expense related to leased office and operating space on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease. The difference between rent expense and rent paid, if any, as a result of escalation provisions and lease incentives, such as tenant improvements provided by lessors, and is recorded as deferred rent in the Company’s consolidated balance sheets.
In accordance with ASC Topic 410, Asset Retirement and Environmental Obligations, the Company establishes assets and liabilities for the present value of estimated future costs to return certain leased facilities to their original condition. Such assets are depreciated on a straight-line basis over the lease period into operating expense, and the recorded liabilities are accreted to the future value of the estimated restoration costs.
(l) Property and equipment
Property and equipment is recorded at cost and depreciated using the straight-line method over its related estimated useful life. Leasehold improvements are amortized over the shorter of the lease term or the estimated useful life of the related asset, whichever is shorter. Upon sale or retirement, the asset cost and related accumulated depreciation are removed from the respective accounts, and any related gain or loss is reflected in the consolidated statements of operations. Ordinary maintenance and repair costs are expensed as incurred. The estimated useful lives of the Company’s fixed assets by class of asset are as follows:
Buildings and building improvements
Information technology and systems
Furniture and fixtures
Useful life or term of lease
whichever is shorter
(m) Advertising expenses
The Company expenses advertising costs as incurred. Advertising expenses, net of amounts reimbursed by franchisees, are included within store operations and selling, general and administrative expenses and totaled $12,101, $9,906, and $8,270 for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively. See Note 4 for discussion of the national advertising fund.
(n) Goodwill, long-lived assets, and other intangible assets
Goodwill and other intangible assets that arise from acquisitions are recorded in accordance with ASC Topic 350, Intangibles—Goodwill and Other. In accordance with this guidance, specifically identified intangible assets must be recorded as a separate asset from goodwill if either of the following two criteria is met: (1) the intangible asset acquired arises from contractual or other legal rights; or (2) the intangible asset is separable. Intangibles are typically trade and brand names, customer relationships, noncompete agreements, reacquired franchise rights, and favorable or unfavorable leases. Transactions are evaluated to determine whether any gain or loss on reacquired franchise rights, based on their fair value, should be recognized separately from identified intangibles. Goodwill is the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of identifiable net assets acquired in a business combination.
Goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets are not amortized, but are reviewed annually for impairment or more frequently if impairment indicators arise. Separable intangible assets that are not deemed to have an indefinite life are amortized over their estimated useful lives on either a straight-line or accelerated basis as deemed appropriate, and are reviewed for impairment when events or circumstances suggest that the assets may not be recoverable.
The Company performs its annual test for impairment of goodwill and indefinite lived intangible assets on December 31 of each year. For goodwill, the first step of the impairment test is to determine whether the carrying amount of a reporting unit exceeds the fair value of the reporting unit. If the carrying amount of the reporting unit exceeds the reporting unit’s fair value, the Company would be required to perform a second step of the impairment test as this is an indication that the reporting unit’s goodwill may be impaired. The second step compares the implied fair value of the reporting unit’s goodwill with the carrying amount of that goodwill. Any impairment loss would be recognized in an amount equal to the excess of the carrying value of the goodwill over the implied fair value of the goodwill. The Company is also permitted to make a qualitative assessment of whether it is more likely than not that a reporting unit’s fair value is less than its carrying amount before applying the two-step goodwill impairment test. If the Company concludes it is not more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount, it need not perform the two-step impairment test.
For indefinite lived intangible assets, the impairment assessment consists of comparing the carrying value of the asset to its estimated fair value. To the extent that the carrying value exceeds the fair value of the asset, an impairment is recorded to reduce the carrying value to its fair value. The Company is also permitted to make a qualitative assessment of whether it is more likely than not an indefinite lived intangible asset’s fair value is less than its carrying value prior to applying the quantitative assessment. If based on the Company’s qualitative assessment it is not more likely than not that the carrying value of the asset is less than its fair value, then a quantitative assessment is not required.
The Company determined that no impairment charges were required during any periods presented.
The Company applies the provisions of ASC Topic 360, Property, Plant and Equipment, which requires that long-lived assets, including amortizable intangible assets, be reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. If circumstances require a long-lived asset or asset group to be tested for impairment, then assets are required to be grouped and evaluated at the lowest level for which there are identifiable cash flows that are largely independent of the cash flows of other groups of assets. Recoverability of assets to be held and used is measured by a comparison of the carrying amount of an asset or asset group to the undiscounted future net cash flows expected to be generated by the asset or asset group. If such assets are considered to be impaired, the impairment to be recognized is measured by the amount by which the carrying amount of the assets exceeds the fair value of the assets. Assets to be disposed of are reported at the lower of the carrying amount or fair value less costs to sell. There were no events or changes in circumstances that required the Company to test for impairment during any of the periods presented.
(o) Income taxes
The Company accounts for income taxes using the asset and liability method. Deferred income taxes are recognized for the expected future tax consequences attributable to temporary differences between the carrying amount of the existing tax assets and liabilities and their respective tax basis. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to be applied in the years in which temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The principal items giving rise to temporary differences are the use of accelerated depreciation and certain basis differences resulting from acquisitions and the recapitalization transactions. Valuation allowances are established when necessary to reduce deferred tax assets to the amount expected to be realized.
Planet Fitness, Inc. is the sole managing member of Pla-Fit Holdings, which is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal and most applicable state and local income tax purposes. As a partnership, Pla-Fit Holdings is not subject to U.S. federal and certain state and local income taxes. Any taxable income or loss generated by Pla-Fit Holdings is passed through to and included in the taxable income or loss of its members, including Planet Fitness, Inc. following the recapitalization transactions, on a pro rata basis. Planet Fitness, Inc. is subject to U.S. federal income taxes, in addition to state and local income taxes with respect to our allocable share of any taxable income of Pla-Fit Holdings. The Company is also subject to taxes in foreign jurisdictions.
The Company recognizes the effect of income tax positions only if those positions are more likely than not to be sustained. Recognized income tax positions are measured at the largest amount that is greater than 50% likely of being realized. Changes in recognition or measurement are reflected in the period in which the change in judgment occurs (see Note 14).
(p) Tax benefit arrangements
The Company’s acquisition of Holdings Units in connection with the IPO and future and certain past exchanges of Holdings Units for shares of the Company’s Class A common stock (or cash at the option of the Company) are expected to produce and have produced favorable tax attributes. In connection with the IPO, the Company entered into two tax receivable agreements. Under the first of those agreements, the Company generally is required to pay to certain existing and previous equity owners of Pla-Fit Holdings, LLC who are unaffiliated with TSG (the “TRA Holders”) 85% of the applicable tax savings, if any, in U.S. federal and state income tax that the Company is deemed to realize as a result of certain tax attributes of their Holdings Units sold to the Company (or exchanged in a taxable sale) and that are created as a result of (i) the sales of their Holdings Units for shares of Class A common stock and (ii) tax benefits attributable to payments made under the tax receivable agreement (including imputed interest). Under the second tax receivable agreement, the Company generally is required to pay to the Direct TSG Investors 85% of the amount of tax savings, if any, that the Company is deemed to realize as a result of the tax attributes of the Holdings Units held in respect of the Direct TSG Investors’ interest in the Company, which resulted from the Direct TSG Investors’ purchase of interests in Pla-Fit Holdings in 2012, and certain other tax benefits. Under both agreements, the Company generally retains the benefit of the remaining 15% of the applicable tax savings. Also, pursuant to the exchange agreement, to the extent an exchange results in Pla-Fit Holdings, LLC incurring a current tax liability relating to the New Hampshire business profits tax, the TRA Holders have agreed that they will contribute to Pla-Fit Holdings, LLC an amount sufficient to pay such tax liability (up to 3.5% of the value received upon exchange). If and when the Company subsequently realizes a related tax benefit, Pla-Fit Holdings, LLC will distribute the amount of any such tax benefit to the relevant Continuing LLC Owner in respect of its contribution. Due to changes in New Hampshire tax law, the Company no longer expects to incur any such liability under the New Hampshire business profits tax.
Based on current projections, the Company anticipates having sufficient taxable income to utilize these tax attributes and receive corresponding tax deductions in future periods. Accordingly, as of December 31, 2018 the Company has recorded a liability of $429,233 payable to the TRA Holders under the tax benefit obligations, representing approximately 85% of the calculated tax savings based on the original basis adjustments the Company anticipates being able to utilize in future years. Changes in the projected liability resulting from these tax benefit arrangements may occur based on changes in anticipated future taxable income, changes in applicable tax rates or other changes in tax attributes that may occur and impact the expected future tax benefits to be received by the Company. Changes in the projected liability under these tax benefit arrangements will be recorded as a component of other income (expense) each period. The projection of future taxable income involves significant judgment. Actual taxable income may differ from estimates, which could significantly impact the liability under the tax benefit arrangements and the Company’s consolidated results of operations.
(q) Fair value
ASC 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures, establishes a three-level valuation hierarchy for disclosure of fair value measurements. The valuation hierarchy is based upon the transparency of inputs to the valuation of an asset or liability as of the measurement date. Categorization within the valuation hierarchy is based upon the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement. The three levels are defined as follows:
Level 1—Inputs to the valuation methodology are quoted prices (unadjusted) for identical assets or liabilities in active markets.
Level 2—Inputs to the valuation methodology include quoted prices for similar assets and liabilities in active markets, and inputs that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly, for substantially the full term of the financial instrument.
Level 3—Inputs to the valuation methodology are unobservable and significant to the fair value measurement.
The table below presents information about the Company’s assets and liabilities that are measured at fair value on a recurring basis as of December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017:
Total fair value at
December 31, 2018
in active markets
markets (Level 1)
inputs (Level 2)
inputs (Level 3)
Interest rate caps
Total fair value at
December 31, 2017
in active markets
markets (Level 1)
inputs (Level 2)
inputs (Level 3)
Interest rate caps
The carrying value and estimated fair value of long-term debt as of December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017 were as follows:
December 31, 2018
December 31, 2017
Estimated fair value(1)
Estimated fair value(2)
(1) The estimated fair value of our long-term debt is estimated primarily based on current bid prices for our long-term debt. Judgment is required to develop these estimates. As such, the fair value of our long-term debt is classified within Level 2, as defined under U.S. GAAP.
(2) The carrying value of the Term Loan B debt approximated fair value as of December 31, 2017 as it was variable rate debt.
(r) Financial instruments
The carrying values of cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, accounts receivable and accounts payable approximate fair value because of the short-term nature of these instruments.
(s) Derivative instruments and hedging activities
The Company recognizes all derivative instruments as either assets or liabilities in the balance sheet at their respective fair values. For derivatives designated in hedging relationships, changes in the fair value are either offset through earnings against the change in fair value of the hedged item attributable to the risk being hedged or recognized in accumulated other comprehensive income, to the extent the derivative is effective at offsetting the changes in cash flows being hedged until the hedged item affects earnings.
The Company only enters into derivative contracts that it intends to designate as a hedge of a forecasted transaction or the variability of cash flows to be received or paid related to a recognized asset or liability (cash flow hedge). For all hedging relationships, the Company formally documents the hedging relationship and its risk-management objective and strategy for undertaking the hedge, the hedging instrument, the hedged transaction, the nature of the risk being hedged, how the hedging instrument’s effectiveness in offsetting the hedged risk will be assessed prospectively and retrospectively, and a description of the method used to measure ineffectiveness. The Company also formally assesses, both at the inception of the hedging relationship and on an ongoing basis, whether the derivatives that are used in hedging relationships are highly effective in offsetting changes in cash flows of hedged transactions. For derivative instruments that are designated and qualify as part of a cash flow hedging relationship, the effective portion of the gain or loss on the derivative is reported as a component of other comprehensive income and reclassified into earnings in the same period or periods during which the hedged transaction affects earnings. Gains and losses on the derivative representing either hedge ineffectiveness or hedge components excluded from the assessment of effectiveness are recognized in current earnings. See Note 8 for further information.
(t) Equity-based compensation
The Company has an equity-based compensation plan under which it receives services from employees and directors as consideration for equity instruments of the Company. The compensation expense is determined based on the fair value of the award as of the grant date. Compensation expense is recognized over the vesting period, which is the period over which all of the specified vesting conditions are satisfied. For awards with graded vesting, the fair value of each tranche is recognized over its respective vesting period. The Company accounts for forfeitures as they occur by reversing compensation cost for unvested awards when the award is forfeited. See Note 13 for further information.
The Company, as a guarantor, is required to recognize, at inception of the guaranty, a liability for the fair value of the obligation undertaken in issuing the guarantee. See Notes 3 and 16 for further discussion of such obligations guaranteed.
The Company records estimated future losses related to contingencies when such amounts are probable and estimable. The Company includes estimated legal fees related to such contingencies as part of the accrual for estimated future losses.
Certain amounts have been reclassified to conform to current year presentation.
(x) Recent accounting pronouncements
The FASB issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2014-9, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, in September 2014. This guidance requires that an entity recognize revenue to depict the transfer of a promised good or service to its customers in an amount that reflects consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for such transfer. This guidance also specifies accounting for certain costs incurred by an entity to obtain or fulfill a contract with a customer and provides for enhancements to revenue specific disclosures intended to allow users of the financial statements to clearly understand the nature, amount, timing and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows arising from an entity’s contracts with its customers. This guidance is effective for annual periods, and interim periods within those annual periods, beginning after December 15, 2017 for public companies. The Company adopted this new guidance in fiscal year 2018 utilizing the modified retrospective method. See above for revenue recognition policies and Note 10.
In February 2016, the FASB established Topic 842, Leases, by issuing ASU No. 2016-02, Leases, in February 2016. Topic 842 was subsequently amended by ASU No. 2018-01, Land Easement Practical Expedient for Transition to Topic 842; ASU No. 2018-10, Codification Improvements to Topic 842, Leases; and ASU No. 2018-11, Targeted Improvements. This guidance is intended to increase transparency and comparability among organizations by recognizing lease assets and lease liabilities on the balance sheet and disclosing key information about leasing arrangements. The new guidance requires lessees to recognize the assets and liabilities on the balance sheet for the rights and obligations created by leases with lease terms of more than 12 months, amends various other aspects of accounting for leases by lessees and lessors, and requires enhanced disclosures. Leases will be classified as finance or operating, with the classification affecting the pattern and classification of expense recognition within the income statement.
The new guidance is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018 and requires a modified retrospective transition approach with application in all comparative periods presented (the “comparative method”), or alternatively, as of the effective date as the date of initial application without restating comparative period financial statements (the “effective date method”). The Company expects to adopt the new standard on January 1, 2019 and use the effective date as our date of initial application. Consequently, financial information will not be updated and the disclosures required under the new standard will not be provided for dates and periods before January 1, 2019. The new guidance also provides several practical expedients and policies that companies may elect upon transition. The Company has elected the package of practical expedients under which we will not reassess the classification of our existing leases, reevaluate whether any expired or existing contracts are or contain leases or reassess initial direct costs under the new guidance. The Company does not expect to elect the practical expedient pertaining to land easements, as it is not applicable to its leases. Additionally, the Company elected to use the practical expedient that permits a reassessment of lease terms for existing leases using hindsight.
The new standard also provides practical expedients for an entity’s ongoing accounting. The Company currently expects to elect the short-term lease recognition exemption. This means, for those leases that qualify, we will not recognize ROU assets or lease liabilities, and this includes not recognizing ROU assets or lease liabilities for existing short-term leases of those assets in transition. We also currently expect to elect the practical expedient to not separate lease and non-lease components.
The Company performed an analysis of the impact of the new lease guidance and are in the process of completing the final phase of a comprehensive plan for our implementation of the new guidance. The project plan includes analyzing the impact of the new guidance on our current lease contracts, reviewing the completeness of our existing lease portfolio, comparing our accounting policies under current accounting guidance to the new accounting guidance and identifying potential differences from applying the requirements of the new guidance to our lease contracts. Upon transition to the new guidance on January 1, 2019, the Company currently expects to recognize between $125 million and $135 million of operating lease liabilities. Additionally, the Company expects to record right-of-use assets in a corresponding amount, net of amounts reclassified from other assets and liabilities, as specified by the new lease guidance.
The FASB issued ASU No. 2016-15, Classification of Certain Cash Receipts and Cash Payments, in August 2016. This guidance is intended to reduce diversity in practice of the classification of certain cash receipts and cash payments. This guidance will be effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017, including interim periods within that year. The Company has adopted the guidance as of January 1, 2018 on a prospective basis, noting no material impact on its consolidated financial statements.
The FASB issued ASU No. 2017-4, Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment, in January 2017. This guidance eliminates the requirement to calculate the implied fair value, essentially eliminating step two from the goodwill impairment test. The new standard requires goodwill impairment to be based upon the results of step one of the impairment test, which is defined as the excess of the carrying value of a reporting unit over its fair value. The impairment charge will be limited to the amount of goodwill allocated to that reporting unit. This guidance will be effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, including interim periods within that year. This new guidance is not expected to have a material impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.
The FASB issued ASU No. 2017-12, Targeted Improvements to Accounting for Hedging Activities, in August 2017. The guidance simplifies the application of hedge accounting in certain situations and amends the hedge accounting model to enable entities to better portray the economics of their risk management activities in the financial statements. This guidance will be effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, including interim periods within that year. The Company does not expect the adoption of this guidance to have an impact on its consolidated financial statements.
The FASB issued ASU No. 2018-15, Intangibles - Goodwill and Other - Internal-Use Software (Subtopic 350-40): Customer's Accounting for Implementation Costs Incurred in a Cloud Computing Arrangement That Is a Service Contract, in August 2018. The guidance helps align the requirements for capitalizing implementation costs incurred in a hosting arrangement that is a service contract with the requirements for capitalizing implementation costs incurred to develop or obtain internal-use software (and hosting arrangements that include an internal-use software license). This guidance will be effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, including interim periods within that year, but allows for early adoption. The Company is currently evaluating the impact of this guidance on its consolidated financial statements.