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|CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. /MO/ filed this Form 10-Q on 10/26/2017|
CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
(dollars in millions, except per share amounts and where indicated)
the Company does not expect that the outcome of this litigation will have a material adverse effect on its operations, financial condition or cash flows.
The Company is a defendant or co-defendant in several lawsuits involving alleged infringement of various patents relating to various aspects of its businesses. Other industry participants are also defendants in certain of these cases. In the event that a court ultimately determines that the Company infringes on any intellectual property rights, the Company may be subject to substantial damages and/or an injunction that could require the Company or its vendors to modify certain products and services the Company offers to its subscribers, as well as negotiate royalty or license agreements with respect to the patents at issue. While the Company believes the lawsuits are without merit and intends to defend the actions vigorously, no assurance can be given that any adverse outcome would not be material to the Company’s consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or liquidity. The Company cannot predict the outcome of any such claims nor can it reasonably estimate a range of possible loss.
The Company is party to lawsuits, claims and regulatory inquiries that arise in the ordinary course of conducting its business, including lawsuits claiming violation of wage and hour laws and breach of contract by vendors, including by one of its programmers. The ultimate outcome of these other legal matters pending against the Company cannot be predicted, and although such lawsuits and claims are not expected individually to have a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated financial condition, results of operations or liquidity, such lawsuits could have, in the aggregate, a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated financial condition, results of operations or liquidity. Whether or not the Company ultimately prevails in any particular lawsuit or claim, litigation can be time consuming and costly and injure the Company’s reputation.
16. Stock Compensation Plans
Charter’s 2009 Stock Incentive Plan provides for grants of nonqualified stock options, incentive stock options, stock appreciation rights, dividend equivalent rights, performance units and performance shares, share awards, phantom stock, restricted stock units and restricted stock. Directors, officers and other employees of the Company and its subsidiaries, as well as others performing consulting services for the Company, are eligible for grants under the 2009 Stock Incentive Plan.
Charter granted the following equity awards for the periods presented after applying the parent company merger ratio as a result of the Transactions, as applicable.
Charter stock options and restricted stock units cliff vest upon the three year anniversary of each grant. Certain stock options and restricted stock units vest based on achievement of stock price hurdles. Stock options generally expire ten years from the grant date and restricted stock units have no voting rights. Restricted stock generally vests one year from the date of grant. Legacy TWC restricted stock units that were converted into Charter restricted stock units generally vest 50% on each of the third and fourth anniversary of the grant date. Legacy TWC stock options that were converted into Charter stock options vest ratably over a four-year period and expire ten years from the grant date.
As of September 30, 2017, total unrecognized compensation remaining to be recognized in future periods totaled $242 million for stock options, $2 million for restricted stock and $209 million for restricted stock units and the weighted average period over which they are expected to be recognized is three years for stock options, one year for restricted stock and two years for restricted stock units.
The Company recorded $64 million and $198 million of stock compensation expense for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017, respectively and $81 million and $168 million for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016, respectively, which is included in operating costs and expenses. The Company also recorded $6 million and $43 million of expense for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017, respectively, and $57 million and $202 million for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016, respectively, related to accelerated vesting of equity awards of terminated employees which is recorded in merger and restructuring costs.