Tuesday, November 6, 2007

What the Heck Does This Mean?

Moody's put out a filing the other day and this little nugget stuck in my head:

Based on its review of the latest information available, in the opinion of management, the ultimate liability of the Company for the unresolved matters referred to above is not likely to have a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated financial condition, although it is possible that the effect would be material to the Company’s consolidated results of operations for an individual reporting period.

Here is the full text from the filing:


Item 1. Legal Proceedings

From time to time, Moody’s is involved in legal and tax proceedings, claims and litigation that are incidental to the Company’s business, including claims based on ratings assigned by Moody’s. Moody’s is also subject to ongoing tax audits in the normal course of business. Management periodically assesses the Company’s liabilities and contingencies in connection with these matters based upon the latest information available. Moody’s discloses material pending legal proceedings, other than routine litigation incidental to Moody’s business, material proceedings known to be contemplated by governmental authorities, and other pending matters that it may determine to be appropriate.

For matters, except those related to income taxes, where it is both probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of loss can be reasonably estimated, the Company has recorded reserves in the consolidated financial statements and periodically adjusts these as appropriate. In other instances, because of uncertainties related to the probable outcome and/or the amount or range of loss, management does not record a liability but discloses the contingency if significant. As additional information becomes available, the Company adjusts its assessments and estimates of such liabilities accordingly.

For income tax matters, the Company employs the prescribed methodology of FIN No. 48, adopted as of January 1, 2007. FIN No. 48 requires a company to first determine whether it is more-likely-than-not (defined as a likelihood of more than fifty percent) that a tax position will be sustained based on its technical merits as of the reporting date, assuming that taxing authorities will examine the position and have full knowledge of all relevant information.

A tax position that meets this more-likely-than-not threshold is then measured and recognized at the largest amount of benefit that is greater than fifty percent likely to be realized upon effective settlement with a taxing authority. The discussion of the legal matters under Part I, Item 2. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Contingencies”, commencing on page 30 of this quarterly report on Form 10-Q, is incorporated into this Item 1 by reference.

Moody’s has received subpoenas and inquiries from states attorneys general and governmental authorities and is cooperating with those inquiries.

Based on its review of the latest information available, in the opinion of management, the ultimate liability of the Company for the unresolved matters referred to above is not likely to have a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated financial condition, although it is possible that the effect would be material to the Company’s consolidated results of operations for an individual reporting period. This opinion is subject to the contingencies described in Part I, Item 2. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Contingencies”.

4 comments:

living off dividends said...

i have no idea what it means, but i'm assuming there is litigation from the investors in the CDO hedge funds that lost millions (EACH) and are suing Moody's for their AAA rating of the funds

James Cullen said...

My answer...
http://collegeanalysts.com/?p=143

Jay Walker said...

I can see why it stuck in your head. Seems like they aren't being too straightforward.

Perhaps akin to saying that

"...the terrorists possess no weapons capable of harm, except for some old landmines, which might take off a limb or two.. "

Weird ...

Jay Walker
The Confused Capitalist

Eric J. Fox said...

I was trying to make the point about the corporate doublespeak of something impacting the quarter but not the company as a whole. It seems it would have been simpler to just say it may have an impact and leave it at that.