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|CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. /MO/ filed this Form 10-Q on 08/09/2016|
In the past, we have experienced “ownership changes” as defined in Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). In general, an “ownership change” occurs whenever the percentage of the stock of a corporation owned, directly or indirectly, by “5-percent stockholders” (within the meaning of Section 382 of the Code) increases by more than 50 percentage points over the lowest percentage of the stock of such corporation owned, directly or indirectly, by such “5-percent stockholders” at any time over the preceding three years. As a result, Charter is subject to an annual limitation on the use of our loss carryforwards which existed at November 30, 2009 for the first “ownership change,” those that existed at May 1, 2013 for the second “ownership change,” and those created at May 18, 2016 for the third "ownership change." The limitation on our ability to use our loss carryforwards, in conjunction with the loss carryforward expiration provisions, could reduce our ability to use a portion of our loss carryforwards to offset future taxable income, which could result in us being required to make material cash tax payments. Our ability to make such income tax payments, if any, will depend at such time on our liquidity or our ability to raise additional capital, and/or on receipt of payments or distributions from Charter Holdco and its subsidiaries.
If we were to experience additional ownership changes in the future (as a result of purchases and sales of stock by our “5-percent stockholders,” new issuances or redemptions of our stock, certain acquisitions of our stock and issuances, redemptions, sales or other dispositions or acquisitions of interests in our “5-percent stockholders”), our ability to use our loss carryforwards could become subject to further limitations.
If Legacy TWC’s Separation Transactions (as defined below), including the Distribution (as defined below), do not qualify as tax-free, either as a result of actions taken or not taken by TWC or as a result of the failure of certain representations by Legacy TWC to be true, Legacy TWC has agreed to indemnify Time Warner Inc. for its taxes resulting from such disqualification, which would be significant.
As part of Legacy TWC’s separation from Time Warner Inc. (“Time Warner”) in March 2009 (the “Separation”), Time Warner received a private letter ruling from the IRS and Time Warner and TWC received opinions of tax counsel confirming that the transactions undertaken in connection with the Separation, including the transfer by a subsidiary of Time Warner of its 12.43% non-voting common stock interest in TW NY to TWC in exchange for 80 million newly issued shares of Legacy TWC’s Class A common stock, Legacy TWC’s payment of a special cash dividend to holders of Legacy TWC’s outstanding Class A and Class B common stock, the conversion of each share of Legacy TWC’s outstanding Class A and Class B common stock into one share of Legacy TWC common stock, and the pro-rata dividend of all shares of Legacy TWC common stock held by Time Warner to holders of record of Time Warner’s common stock (the “Distribution” and, together with all of the transactions, the “Separation Transactions”), should generally qualify as tax-free to Time Warner and its stockholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The ruling and opinions rely on certain facts, assumptions, representations and undertakings from Time Warner and Legacy TWC regarding the past and future conduct of the companies’ businesses and other matters. If any of these facts, assumptions, representations or undertakings are incorrect or not otherwise satisfied, Time Warner and its stockholders may not be able to rely on the ruling or the opinions and could be subject to significant tax liabilities. Notwithstanding the private letter ruling and opinions, the IRS could determine on audit that the Separation Transactions should be treated as taxable transactions if it determines that any of these facts, assumptions, representations or undertakings are not correct or have been violated, or for other reasons, including as a result of significant changes in the stock ownership of Time Warner or Legacy TWC after the Distribution.
Under the tax sharing agreement among Time Warner and Legacy TWC, Legacy TWC generally would be required to indemnify Time Warner against its taxes resulting from the failure of any of the Separation Transactions to qualify as tax-free as a result of (i) certain actions or failures to act by Legacy TWC or (ii) the failure of certain representations made by Legacy TWC to be true. In addition, even if Legacy TWC bears no contractual responsibility for taxes related to a failure of the Separation Transactions to qualify for their intended tax treatment, Treasury regulation section 1.1502-6 imposes on Legacy TWC several liability for all Time Warner federal income tax obligations relating to the period during which Legacy TWC was a member of the Time Warner federal consolidated tax group, including the date of the Separation Transactions. Similar provisions may apply under foreign, state or local law. Absent Legacy TWC causing the Separation Transactions to not qualify as tax-free, Time Warner has indemnified Legacy TWC against such several liability arising from a failure of the Separation Transactions to qualify for their intended tax treatment.
If we are unable to retain key employees, our ability to manage our business could be adversely affected.
Our operational results have depended, and our future results will depend, upon the retention and continued performance of our management team. Our ability to retain and hire new key employees for management positions could be impacted adversely by the competitive environment for management talent in the broadband communications industry. The loss of the services of key members of management and the inability or delay in hiring new key employees could adversely affect our ability to manage our business and our future operational and financial results.