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CSGP > SEC Filings for CSGP > Form 10-Q on 24-Apr-2014All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for COSTAR GROUP INC



Quarterly Report

Item 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The following Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations contains "forward-looking statements," including statements about our beliefs and expectations. See "Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements" at the end of this Item 2. for additional factors relating to such statements, and see "Risk Factors" in Item 1A. of Part II of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for a discussion of certain risk factors applicable to our business, financial condition and results of operations.

All forward-looking statements are based on information available to us on the date of this filing and we assume no obligation to update such statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the condensed consolidated financial statements and related notes included in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.


CoStar Group, Inc. (the "Company" or "CoStar") is the number one provider of information, analytics and marketing services to the commercial real estate industry in the United States ("U.S.") and the United Kingdom ("U.K.") based on the fact that we offer the most comprehensive commercial real estate database available; have the largest research department in the industry; own and operate the leading online marketplace for commercial real estate in the U.S. based on the number of unique visitors per month; provide more information, analytics and marketing services than any of our competitors and believe that we generate more revenues than any of our competitors. We have created and compiled our standardized information, analytics and marketing platform where members of the commercial real estate and related business community can continuously interact and facilitate transactions by efficiently exchanging accurate and standardized commercial real estate information. Our integrated suite of online service offerings includes information about space available for lease, comparable sales information, information about properties for sale, tenant information, internet marketing services, analytical capabilities, information for clients' websites, information about industry professionals and their business relationships, data integration and industry news.

LoopNet, our subsidiary, operates an online marketplace that enables commercial property owners, landlords, and real estate agents working on their behalf to list properties for sale or for lease and to submit detailed information about property listings. Commercial real estate agents, buyers and tenants also use LoopNet's online marketplace to search for available property listings that meet their criteria.

We also provide market research and analysis for commercial real estate investors and lenders via our Property and Portfolio Research ("PPR") service offerings, portfolio and debt management and reporting capabilities through our Resolve Technology service offerings, and real estate and lease management solutions, including lease administration and abstraction services, through our Virtual Premise service offerings.

Our service offerings span all commercial property types, including office, industrial, retail, land, mixed-use, hospitality and multifamily.

Subscription-Based Services

Our subscription-based information services consist primarily of CoStar SuiteTM and FOCUSTM services. CoStar Suite is sold as a platform of service offerings consisting of CoStar Property Professional®, CoStar COMPS Professional® and CoStar Tenant® and through our mobile application, CoStarGo®. CoStar Suite is our primary service offering in our U.S. operating segment. FOCUS is our primary service offering in our International operating segment. Additionally, we introduced CoStar Suite in the U.K. in the fourth quarter of 2012 and no longer offered FOCUS to new clients beginning in 2013.

Our subscription-based services consist primarily of similar services offered over the Internet to commercial real estate industry and related professionals. Our services are typically distributed to our clients under subscription-based license agreements that renew automatically, a majority of which have a term of one year. Upon renewal, many of the subscription contract rates may change in accordance with contract provisions or as a result of contract renegotiations. To encourage clients to use our services regularly, we generally charge a fixed monthly amount for our subscription-based information services rather than charging fees based on actual system usage. Contract rates are generally based on the number of sites, number of users, organization size, the client's business focus, geography and the number of services to which a client subscribes. Our subscription clients generally pay contract fees on a monthly basis, but in some cases may pay us on a quarterly or annual basis.

As of March 31, 2014 and 2013, our annualized net new sales of subscription-based services on annual contracts were approximately $14.7 million and $14.8 million, respectively, calculated based on the annualized amount of change in our sales resulting from new annual subscription-based contracts or upsales on existing annual subscription-based contracts, less write downs and cancellations, for the period reported. We recognize subscription revenue on a straight-line basis over the life of the contract. Annual and quarterly advance payments result in deferred revenue, substantially reducing the working capital requirements generated by accounts receivable.

For the twelve months ended March 31, 2014 and 2013, our contract renewal rate for existing CoStar subscription-based services was approximately 93% and 94%, respectively, and therefore our cancellation rate for those services was approximately 7% and 6%, respectively, for the same time periods. Our contract renewal rate is a quantitative measurement that is typically closely correlated with our revenue results. As a result, management also believes that the rate may be a reliable indicator of short-term and long-term performance. Our trailing twelve-month contract renewal rate may decline if, among other reasons, negative economic conditions lead to greater business failures and/or consolidations among our clients, reductions in customer spending, or decreases in our customer base.

Expansion and Development

We expect to continue software development to improve existing services, introduce new services, integrate products and services, cross-sell existing services, and expand and develop supporting technologies for our research, sales and marketing organizations. We are committed to supporting and improving our existing core information, news, analytic and marketing services.

In October 2013, we introduced technology enhancements to CoStar Suite, our platform of service offerings consisting of CoStar Property Professional, CoStar COMPS Professional and CoStar Tenant. The enhancements improve CoStar Suite's user interface, search functionality and analytic capabilities. The CoStar MultifamilyTM information search included in the technology enhancements allows access to our extensive multifamily property database. In addition, CoStar Lease AnalysisTM, an integrated workflow tool, provides users a simple way to produce understandable cash flows for any proposed or existing lease. We will continue software development on our new Lease Analysis workflow tool throughout 2014. We believe this greater functionality will make our services valuable to an even broader audience and help us increase sales of our services to brokers, banks, owners and institutional investors. Further, these technology enhancements are expected to drive continued revenue growth during the remainder of 2014 and for the foreseeable future. We expect additional selling and marketing activities to promote our new service enhancements will result in increased expenses during the remainder of 2014.

In October 2013, we also released CoStarGo® 2.0, the next generation of our mobile application, which was launched in the U.S. on August 15, 2011 and introduced in the U.K. on November 5, 2012. CoStarGo is our iPad application that integrates and provides CoStar Suite subscribers mobile access to our comprehensive property, tenant and comparable sales information. CoStarGo 2.0 adds powerful analytic capabilities to our comprehensive mobile solution.

We have introduced enhancements to our flagship marketing platform, For example, we added a broker advertising service that allows brokers to purchase advertisements based on geographic and property type criteria. Additionally, we introduced ProVideo, a service that enables owners and brokers to enhance their listings with high quality videos of interior spaces, amenities and exterior features. We expect to continue software development to improve the LoopNet marketing platform during the remainder of 2014.

We continue to integrate, develop and cross-sell the services offered by the companies we acquired, including LoopNet, Virtual Premise, Resolve Technology and PPR. In some cases, when integrating and coordinating our services and assessing industry needs, we may decide, or may have previously decided, to combine, shift focus from, de-emphasize, phase out, or eliminate a service that overlaps or is redundant with other services we offer.

Our sales and marketing efforts have focused and will continue to focus on cross-selling and marketing our services. Our goal is to upsell clients to the services that best meet their needs and to create further cross-selling revenue synergies.

Our revenues have increased as a result of the LoopNet merger and prior acquisitions, due to revenue from the acquired businesses and from cross-selling opportunities among the customers of CoStar and the acquired companies. As a result of cross selling CoStar's and LoopNet's complementary services, we began to achieve increased revenue synergies in 2013. We also incurred increased expenses associated with the related marketing and sales campaign in 2012 and during the first half of 2013. These initiatives resulted in revenue growth, and we expect they will continue to position the company for revenue growth during the remainder of 2014 and for the foreseeable future.

We continue to integrate our international operations more fully with those in the U.S. We intend to continue to upgrade the platform of services and expand the coverage of our service offerings within our International segment. To further develop those initiatives, we introduced CoStar Suite in the U.K. during the fourth quarter of 2012 and no longer offered FOCUS to new clients beginning in 2013. CoStar Suite is sold as a consistent international platform of service offerings consisting of CoStar Property Professional, CoStar COMPS Professional and CoStar Tenant and through the Company's mobile application, CoStarGo. CoStarGo 2.0 was released in the U.K. in October 2013 simultaneous with the release in the U.S. Additionally, we have upgraded our back-end research operations, fulfillment and Customer Relationship Management ("CRM") systems to support these new U.K. services. The International operating segment continues to experience improved financial performance. During the three months ended December 31, 2013, International EBITDA increased to a positive amount and remained a positive amount for the three months ended March 31, 2014 as a result of increased revenue and decreased operating expenses.

In 2014, we began offering our services in Toronto, Canada. We believe that our integration efforts and continued investments in our services, including expansion of our existing service offerings internationally, have created a platform for long-term revenue growth. We expect these investments to result in further penetration of our international subscription-based information services and the successful cross-selling of our services to customers in existing markets.

We intend to continue to assess the need for additional investments in our business, in addition to the investments discussed above in order to develop and distribute new services within our current platform. Any future product development or expansion of services, combination and coordination of services or elimination of services could reduce our profitability and increase our capital expenditures. Therefore, while we expect current service offerings to remain profitable, driving overall earnings in 2014 and providing substantial cash flow for our business, it is possible that any new investments, changes to our service offerings or other unforeseen events could cause us to generate losses and negative cash flow from operations in the future. Further, our credit facilities contain restrictive covenants that restrict our operations and use of our cash flow, which may prevent us from taking certain actions that we believe could increase our profitability or otherwise enhance our business.

Recent Acquisition

Most recently, we decided to increase our presence in the multi-family vertical by acquiring the business, a national online apartment rentals resource for renters, property managers and owners. offers renters a database of apartment listings and provides professional property management companies and landlords with an advertising destination. Renters can conduct personalized searches of apartment listings and view video demonstrations and community reviews through the website and mobile applications. The network of rental websites also includes, another, national online apartment rentals resource, and, a national online rental homes guide.

On April 1, 2014 (the "Closing Date"), we purchased from Classified Ventures, LLC certain assets and assumed certain liabilities, in each case, related to the business (collectively, the "Business") for $585.0 million in cash, subject to a customary working capital adjustment. The purchase price paid at closing was $587.1 million, which reflected an estimated $2.1 million increase in net working capital of the Business as of the closing date over the threshold net working capital amount; this amount is subject to further adjustment once the final net working capital of the Business as of the closing date is determined.

On the Closing Date, we also entered into a Credit Agreement (the "2014 Credit Agreement") by and among CoStar, as Borrower, CoStar Realty Information, Inc., as Co-Borrower, the Lenders from time to time party thereto and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., as Administrative Agent. The 2014 Credit Agreement provides for a $400.0 million term loan facility and a $225.0 million revolving credit facility, each with a term of five years. The proceeds of the term loan facility and the initial borrowing under the revolving credit facility on the Closing Date in an amount of $150.0 million were used to refinance the term loan facility and revolving credit facility established under a credit agreement dated February 16, 2012 (the "2012 Credit Agreement"), including related fees and expenses, and pay a portion of the consideration and transaction costs related to the acquisition. The undrawn proceeds of the revolving credit facility will be available for our working capital and other general corporate purposes. The obligations under the 2014 Credit Agreement are guaranteed by all of our material subsidiaries and are secured by a lien on substantially all of our assets and our material subsidiaries, in each case subject to certain exceptions, pursuant to security and guarantee documents entered into on the Closing Date.

Similar to past acquisitions, we plan to integrate, further develop and cross-sell the services offered by and the other services we offer. We also plan to incur product development costs to improve the online platform, as well as increase our sales and marketing expenses in order to support the business and to increase brand awareness.

Market Conditions

In general, the current economic recovery has been slower than past economic recoveries. Job growth, in particular, has recovered more slowly than in past economic recoveries, and as a result, the improvement in the commercial real estate industry has been slower, especially with respect to the rental rate growth. Continuing near-term risks related to lower-than-expected job growth, government fiscal challenges, and uncertainty over U.S. and global economic issues may impede the ability and willingness of clients to purchase services from us or result in reductions of services purchased. Additionally, since many of our clients use debt to finance a portion of their real estate purchases, material changes in interest rates and risk premiums could harm their ability to complete transactions, especially if the change was relatively rapid and unexpected.

As is typical of this point in the economic cycle, business consolidations, and in some circumstances, business failures, continue to occur. If cancellations, reductions of services, and failures to pay increase, and we are unable to offset the resulting decrease in revenue by increasing sales to new or existing customers, our revenues may decline or grow at lower rates. We compete against many other commercial real estate information, analytics, and marketing service providers for business, including competitors that offer rapidly changing methods of delivering real estate information. If customers choose to cancel our services because of cost cutting, desire to access real estate information through other delivery methods, or other reasons, our revenue could decline.

Financial Matters

Our financial reporting currency is the U.S. dollar. Changes in exchange rates can significantly affect our reported results and consolidated trends. We believe that our increasing diversification beyond the U.S. economy through our international businesses benefits our stockholders over the long term. We also believe it is important to evaluate our operating results before and after the effect of currency changes, as it may provide a more accurate comparison of our results of operations over historical periods. Currency exchange rate volatility may continue, which may impact (either positively or negatively) our reported financial results and consolidated trends and period-to-period comparisons of our consolidated operations.

We currently issue stock options and/or restricted stock to our officers, directors and employees, and as a result we record compensation expense in our consolidated statements of operations. The amount and timing of the compensation expense that we record depends on the amount and types of equity grants made. We plan to continue to use stock-based compensation for our officers, directors and employees, which may include, among other things, restricted stock, restricted stock units or stock option grants that typically will require us to record additional compensation expense in our consolidated statements of operations and reduce our net income. Grants of equity awards may vest over time or based on achievement of pre-approved performance conditions.

In February 2012, the Compensation Committee (the "Committee") of the Board of Directors approved grants of restricted common stock to our executive officers that vest based on the achievement of CoStar performance conditions. These shares of performance-based restricted common stock granted in February 2012 were subject to vesting based upon our achievement of $90.0 million of cumulative net income before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") over a period of four consecutive calendar quarters, and were subject to forfeiture in the event the foregoing performance condition was not met by March 31, 2017. In May and December of 2012, we granted additional shares of restricted common stock that vest based on the achievement of the same performance conditions as the February 2012 grants to other key employees, subject to certain approvals under the CoStar Group, Inc. 2007 Stock Incentive Plan. We granted a total of 399,413 shares of performance-based restricted common stock during the year ended December 31, 2012. All of the awards were made under the CoStar Group, Inc. 2007 Stock Incentive Plan and pursuant to our standard form of restricted stock grant agreement. As of March 31, 2014, the Company had satisfied all performance and service conditions and as a result, the restricted common stock granted under these awards vested. We recorded approximately $2.2 million and $11.3 million of stock-based compensation expense related to the performance-based restricted common stock for the three months ended March 31, 2014 and 2013, respectively.

The Committee expects to grant other performance-based equity awards in the future under the Company's 2007 Stock Incentive Plan.

Application of Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

The preparation of financial statements and related disclosures in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP") requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and revenues and expenses during the period reported. The following accounting policies involve a "critical accounting estimate" because they are particularly dependent on estimates and assumptions made by management about matters that are highly uncertain at the time the accounting estimates are made. In addition, while we have used our best estimates based on facts and circumstances available to us at the time, different acceptable assumptions would yield different results. Changes in the accounting estimates are reasonably likely to occur from period to period, which may have a material impact on the presentation of our financial condition and results of operations. We review these estimates and assumptions periodically and reflect the effects of revisions in the period that they are determined to be necessary.

Fair Value of Auction Rate Securities

Fair value is defined as the price that would be received in the sale of an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants. There is a three-tier fair value hierarchy, which categorizes assets and liabilities by the inputs used in measuring fair value. These tiers include: Level 1, defined as observable inputs such as quoted prices in active markets; Level 2, defined as inputs other than quoted prices in active markets that are either directly or indirectly observable; and Level 3, defined as unobservable inputs for which little or no market data exists, therefore requiring an entity to develop its own assumptions. Our Level 3 assets consist of auction rate securities ("ARS"), whose underlying assets are primarily student loan securities supported by guarantees from the Federal Family Education Loan Program ("FFELP") of the U.S. Department of Education.

Our ARS investments are not currently actively trading and therefore do not currently have a readily determinable market value. The estimated fair value of the ARS no longer approximates par value. We have used a discounted cash flow model to determine the estimated fair value of our investment in ARS as of March 31, 2014. The assumptions used in preparing the discounted cash flow model include estimates for interest rates, credit spreads, timing and amount of contractual cash flows, liquidity risk premiums, expected holding periods and default risk of the ARS. We update the discounted cash flow model on a quarterly basis to reflect any changes in the assumptions used in the model and settlements of ARS investments that occurred during the period.

The only significant unobservable input in the discounted cash flow model is the discount rate. The discount rate used represents our estimate of the yield expected by a market participant from the ARS investments. The weighted average discount rate used in the discounted cash flow model as of March 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013 was approximately 4.9%. Selecting another discount rate within the range used in the discounted cash flow model would not result in a significant change to the fair value of the ARS.

Based on this assessment of fair value, as of March 31, 2014, we determined there was a decline in the fair value of our ARS investments of approximately $1.3 million. The decline was deemed to be a temporary impairment and recorded as an unrealized loss in accumulated other comprehensive loss in stockholders' equity. If the issuers of these ARS are unable to successfully close future auctions and/or their credit ratings deteriorate, we may be required to record additional unrealized losses in accumulated other comprehensive loss or an other-than-temporary impairment charge to earnings on these investments, which would reduce our profitability and adversely affect our financial position.

We have not made any material changes in the accounting methodology used to determine the fair value of the ARS. We do not expect any material changes in the near term to the underlying assumptions used to determine the unobservable inputs used to calculate the fair value of the ARS as of March 31, 2014. However, if changes in these assumptions occur, and, should those changes be significant, we may be exposed to additional unrealized losses in accumulated other comprehensive loss or an other-than-temporary impairment charge to earnings on these investments.

Stock-Based Compensation

We account for equity instruments issued in exchange for employee services using a fair-value based method, and we recognize the fair value of such equity instruments as an expense in the consolidated statements of operations. We estimated the fair value of each option granted on the date of grant using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model, which requires us to estimate the dividend yield, expected volatility, risk-free interest rate and expected life of the stock option. For equity instruments that vest based on a market condition, we estimate the fair value of each equity instruments granted on the date of grant using a Monte-Carlo simulation model, which also requires us to estimate the dividend yield, expected volatility, risk-free interest rate and expected life of the equity instruments. These assumptions and the estimation of expected forfeitures are based on multiple factors, including historical employee behavior patterns of exercising options and post-employment termination behavior, expected future employee option exercise patterns, and the historical volatility of our stock price. For equity instruments that vest based on performance, we assess the probability of the achievement of the performance conditions at the end of each reporting period, or more frequently based upon the occurrence of events that may change the probability of whether the performance conditions would be met. If our initial estimates of the achievement of the performance conditions change, the related stock-based compensation expense and timing of recognition may fluctuate from period to period based on those estimates. If the performance conditions are not met, no stock-based compensation expense will be recognized, and any previously recognized stock-based compensation expense will be reversed.

We do not expect any material changes in the near term to the underlying assumptions used to calculate stock-based compensation expense for the three months ended March 31, 2014. However, if changes in these assumptions occur, and, should those changes be significant, they could have a material impact on . . .

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