flnt20210930_10q.htm
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Table of Contents



UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549 

 


 

FORM 10-Q

 


 

(Mark One)

 

QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the quarterly period ended September 30, 2021

or

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from                     to                    

 

Commission File Number 001-37893

 


 

FLUENT, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 


 

Delaware

77-0688094

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

300 Vesey Street, 9th Floor

New York, New York

10282
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)

 

(646) 669-7272

(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)

 

Not Applicable 

(Former name, former address and former fiscal year, if changed since last report)

 


 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

     

Title of each class

 

Trading

Symbol(s)

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, $0.0005 par value per share

 

FLNT

 

The NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    ☒  Yes    ☐  No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    ☒  Yes    ☐  No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer," "smaller reporting company," and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. 

Large accelerated filer

 

Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer

 

☐ 

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act):    Yes      No  ☒

As of November 2, 2021, the registrant had 78,945,304 shares of common stock outstanding.



 

 

 

 
 

FLUENT, INC.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR FORM 10-Q

 

 

 

Page

PART I - FINANCIAL INFORMATION

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

Financial Statements (unaudited)

 

 

Consolidated Balance Sheets as of September 30, 2021 and December 31, 2020

2

 

Consolidated Statements of Operations for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020

3

 

Consolidated Statements of Changes in Shareholders' Equity for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020

4

 

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020

5

 

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

6

Item 2.

Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

17

Item 3.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

23

Item 4.

Controls and Procedures

23

 

 

 

PART II - OTHER INFORMATION

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

Legal Proceedings

24

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

24

Item 2.

Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds

25

Item 3.

Defaults Upon Senior Securities

25

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

25

Item 5.

Other Information

25

Item 6.

Exhibits

25

Signatures

26

 

 

PART I - FINANCIAL INFORMATION

 

Unless otherwise indicated or required by the context, all references in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q to "we," "us," "our," "Fluent," or the "Company," refer to Fluent, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries.

 

ITEM 1. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS.

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(Amounts in thousands, except share and per share data)

(unaudited)

 

  

September 30, 2021

  

December 31, 2020

 

ASSETS:

        

Cash and cash equivalents

 $15,615  $21,087 

Accounts receivable, net of allowance for doubtful accounts of $342 and $368, respectively

  76,568   62,669 

Prepaid expenses and other current assets

  2,208   2,435 

Total current assets

  94,391   86,191 

Restricted cash

  1,480   1,480 

Property and equipment, net

  1,641   2,201 

Operating lease right-of-use assets

  7,033   8,284 

Intangible assets, net

  38,053   45,417 

Goodwill

  165,088   165,088 

Other non-current assets

  1,857   1,559 

Total assets

 $309,543  $310,220 

LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY:

        

Accounts payable

 $16,185  $7,692 

Accrued expenses and other current liabilities

  28,884   31,568 

Deferred revenue

  722   1,373 

Current portion of long-term debt

  5,000   7,293 

Current portion of operating lease liability

  2,202   2,291 

Total current liabilities

  52,993   50,217 

Long-term debt, net

  41,507   33,283 

Operating lease liability

  5,992   7,290 

Other non-current liabilities

  673   2,545 

Total liabilities

  101,165   93,335 

Contingencies (see Note 10)

          

Shareholders' equity:

        

Preferred stock — $0.0001 par value, 10,000,000 Shares authorized; Shares outstanding — 0 shares for both periods

      

Common stock — $0.0005 par value, 200,000,000 Shares authorized; Shares issued — 83,018,418 and 80,295,141, respectively; and Shares outstanding — 78,928,638 and 76,349,274, respectively

  42   40 

Treasury stock, at cost — 4,089,780 and 3,945,867 Shares, respectively

  (10,718)  (9,999)

Additional paid-in capital

  417,852   411,753 

Accumulated deficit

  (198,798)  (184,909)

Total shareholders' equity

  208,378   216,885 

Total liabilities and shareholders' equity

 $309,543  $310,220 

 

See notes to consolidated financial statements

 

 

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(Amounts in thousands, except share and per share data)

(unaudited)

 

   

Three Months Ended September 30,

   

Nine Months Ended September 30,

 
   

2021

   

2020

   

2021

   

2020

 

Revenue

  $ 85,858     $ 78,280     $ 229,406     $ 228,723  

Costs and expenses:

                               

Cost of revenue (exclusive of depreciation and amortization)

    63,784       52,771       171,379       158,402  

Sales and marketing

    3,034       2,925       8,995       8,643  

Product development

    4,464       3,355       11,331       9,201  

General and administrative

    13,279       12,772       36,505       33,892  

Depreciation and amortization

    3,200       3,906       9,939       11,492  

Goodwill impairment and write-off of intangible assets

    144             343       817  

Total costs and expenses

    87,905       75,729       238,492       222,447  

(Loss) income from operations

    (2,047 )     2,551       (9,086 )     6,276  

Interest expense, net

    (405 )     (1,317 )     (1,840 )     (4,182 )

Loss on early extinguishment of debt

                (2,964 )      

(Loss) income before income taxes

    (2,452 )     1,234       (13,890 )     2,094  

Income tax benefit (expense)

          (65 )     1       (65 )

Net (loss) income

  $ (2,452 )   $ 1,169     $ (13,889 )   $ 2,029  
                                 

Basic and diluted (loss) income per share:

                               

Basic

  $ (0.03 )   $ 0.01     $ (0.17 )   $ 0.03  

Diluted

  $ (0.03 )   $ 0.01     $ (0.17 )   $ 0.03  
                                 

Weighted average number of shares outstanding:

                               

Basic

    80,133,406       78,577,974       79,753,662       78,564,262  

Diluted

    80,133,406       79,172,578       79,753,662       79,214,619  

 

See notes to consolidated financial statements

 

 

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY

(Amounts in thousands, except share data)

(unaudited)

 

   

Common stock

   

Treasury stock

   

Additional paid-in

   

Accumulated

   

Total shareholders'

 
   

Shares

   

Amount

   

Shares

   

Amount

   

capital

   

deficit

   

equity

 

Balance at June 30, 2021

    82,440,259     $ 41       4,068,832     $ (10,666 )   $ 415,325     $ (196,346 )   $ 208,354  

Vesting of restricted stock units and issuance of stock under incentive plans

    578,159       1                   1,359             1,360  

Increase in treasury stock resulting from shares withheld to cover statutory taxes

                20,948       (52 )                 (52 )

Exercise of stock options

                                         

Share-based compensation

                            1,168             1,168  

Net loss

                                  (2,452 )     (2,452 )

Balance at September 30, 2021

    83,018,418     $ 42       4,089,780     $ (10,718 )   $ 417,852     $ (198,798 )   $ 208,378  
                                                         

Balance at December 31, 2020

    80,295,141     $ 40       3,945,867     $ (9,999 )   $ 411,753     $ (184,909 )   $ 216,885  

Vesting of restricted stock units and issuance of stock under incentive plans

    2,525,277       2                   1,494             1,496  

Increase in treasury stock resulting from shares withheld to cover statutory taxes

                143,913       (719 )                 (719 )

Exercise of stock options

    198,000                         934             934  

Share-based compensation

                            3,671             3,671  

Net loss

                                  (13,889 )     (13,889 )

Balance at September 30, 2021

    83,018,418     $ 42       4,089,780     $ (10,718 )   $ 417,852     $ (198,798 )   $ 208,378  

 

 

   

Common stock

   

Treasury stock

   

Additional paid-in

   

Accumulated

   

Total shareholders'

 
   

Shares

   

Amount

   

Shares

   

Amount

   

capital

   

deficit

   

equity

 

Balance at June 30, 2020

    79,908,985     $ 40       3,616,398     $ (9,930 )   $ 409,961     $ (186,256 )   $ 213,815  

Vesting of restricted stock units and issuance of restricted stock

    51,490                                      

Increase in treasury stock resulting from shares withheld to cover statutory taxes

                20,357       (44 )                 (44 )

Exercise of warrants by certain warrant holders (see Note 7)

    300,000             300,000                          

Share-based compensation

                            1,204             1,204  

Net income

                                  1,169       1,169  

Balance at September 30, 2020

    80,260,475     $ 40       3,936,755     $ (9,974 )   $ 411,165     $ (185,087 )   $ 216,144  
                                                         

Balance at December 31, 2019

    78,642,078     $ 39       2,768,399     $ (8,184 )   $ 406,198     $ (187,116 )   $ 210,937  

Vesting of restricted stock units and issuance of restricted stock

    1,618,397       1                   (1 )            

Increase in treasury stock resulting from shares withheld to cover statutory taxes

                210,683       (490 )                 (490 )

Repurchase of shares into treasury stock

                657,673       (1,300 )                 (1,300 )

Exercise of warrants by certain warrant holders (see Note 7)

                300,000                          

Share-based compensation

                            4,968             4,968  

Net income

                                  2,029       2,029  

Balance at September 30, 2020

    80,260,475     $ 40       3,936,755     $ (9,974 )   $ 411,165     $ (185,087 )   $ 216,144  

 

See notes to consolidated financial statements

 

 

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(Amounts in thousands)

(unaudited)

 

   

Nine Months Ended September 30,

 
   

2021

   

2020

 

CASH FLOWS FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES:

               

Net (loss) income

  $ (13,889 )   $ 2,029  

Adjustments to reconcile net (loss) income to net cash (used in) provided by operating activities:

               

Depreciation and amortization

    9,939       11,492  

Non-cash loan amortization expense

    361       1,092  

Share-based compensation expense

    3,577       4,848  

Non-cash loss on early extinguishment of debt

    2,198        

Non-cash accrued compensation expense for Put/Call Consideration

    3,213       1,184  

Non-cash termination of Put/Call Consideration

    (629 )      

Goodwill impairment

          817  

Write-off of intangible assets

    343        

Provision for bad debt

    113       174  

Provision for income taxes

          65  

Changes in assets and liabilities, net of business acquisition:

               

Accounts receivable

    (14,012 )     1,363  

Prepaid expenses and other current assets

    227       (957 )

Other non-current assets

    (298 )     (859 )

Operating lease assets and liabilities, net

    (136 )     (119 )

Accounts payable

    8,493       (14,096 )

Accrued expenses and other current liabilities

    (5,685 )     4,622  

Deferred revenue

    (651 )     1,300  

Other

    (96 )     (94 )

Net cash (used in) provided by operating activities

    (6,932 )     12,861  

CASH FLOWS FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES:

               

Capitalized costs included in intangible assets

    (2,237 )     (1,943 )

Business acquisition, net of cash acquired

          (1,426 )

Acquisition of property and equipment

    (26 )     (62 )

Net cash used in investing activities

    (2,263 )     (3,431 )

CASH FLOWS FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES:

               

Proceeds from issuance of long-term debt, net of debt financing costs

    49,624        

Repayments of long-term debt

    (45,486 )     (10,925 )

Exercise of stock options

    934        

Prepayment penalty on debt extinguishment

    (766 )      

Taxes paid related to net share settlement of vesting of restricted stock units

    (719 )     (490 )

Proceeds from the issuance of stock

    136        

Repurchase of treasury stock

          (1,300 )

Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities

    3,723       (12,715 )

Net decrease in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash

    (5,472 )     (3,285 )

Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at beginning of period

    22,567       20,159  

Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at end of period

  $ 17,095     $ 16,874  

SUPPLEMENTAL DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

               

Cash paid for interest

  $ 1,413     $ 2,978  

Cash paid for income taxes

  $ 356     $ 300  

Share-based compensation capitalized in intangible assets

  $ 94     $ 120  

 

See notes to consolidated financial statements

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

(Amounts in thousands, except share data)

(unaudited)

 

 

 

1. Summary of significant accounting policies

 

(a) Basis of preparation 

 

The accompanying unaudited consolidated financial statements have been prepared by Fluent, Inc., a Delaware corporation (the "Company" or "Fluent"), in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States ("US GAAP") and applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") regarding interim financial reporting. Certain information and note disclosures normally included in annual financial statements prepared in accordance with US GAAP have been condensed or omitted pursuant to those rules and regulations.

 

The accompanying unaudited consolidated financial statements reflect all normal recurring adjustments necessary to present fairly the financial position, results of operations, and cash flows for the interim periods, but are not necessarily indicative of the results of operations to be anticipated for any future interim periods or for the full year ending December 31, 2021.

 

From time to time, the Company may enter into relationships or investments with other entities, and, in certain instances, the entity in which the Company has a relationship or investment may qualify as a variable interest entity (“VIE”). The Company consolidates a VIE in its financial statements if the Company is deemed to be the primary beneficiary of the VIE. The primary beneficiary is the party that has the power to direct activities that most significantly impact the operations of the VIE and has the obligation to absorb losses or the right to benefits from the VIE that could potentially be significant to the VIE. From April 1, 2020 through August 31, 2021, the Company had included Winopoly, LLC ("Winopoly") in its consolidated financial statements as a VIE (as further discussed in Note 11Business acquisition and Note 12, Variable Interest Entity). Beginning September 1, 2021, Winopoly is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company.

 

The information included in this quarterly report on Form 10-Q should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes included in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended  December 31, 2020 ("2020 Form 10-K") filed with the SEC on March 16, 2021. The consolidated balance sheet as of  December 31, 2020 included herein was derived from the audited financial statements as of that date included in the 2020 Form 10-K.

 

Principles of consolidation

 

The consolidated financial statements include the financial statements of the Company and its subsidiaries. All significant transactions among the Company and its subsidiaries have been eliminated upon consolidation.

 

(b) Recently issued and adopted accounting standards

 

In January 2016, FASB issued ASU No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments—Credit Losses, and additional changes, modifications, clarifications or interpretations thereafter, which require a reporting entity to estimate credit losses on certain types of financial instruments, and present assets held at amortized cost and available-for-sale debt securities at the amounts expected to be collected. The new guidance is effective for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2022, and early adoption is permitted. The Company is currently evaluating the impact of the new guidance on its consolidated financial statements.

 

In March 2020, the FASB issued ASU 2020-04, Reference Rate Reform (Topic 848): Facilitation of the Effects of Reference Rate Reform on Financial Reporting, which provides optional guidance to ease the potential burden in accounting for the discontinuation of a reference rate such as LIBOR, formerly known as the London Interbank Offered Rate, because of reference rate reform. The ASU is effective for all entities as of March 12, 2020 through December 31, 2022. The Company is currently evaluating the impact of adopting this guidance on its consolidated financial statements.

 

On January 1, 2021, FASB issued ASU 2019-12, Simplifying the Accounting for Income Taxes, which simplifies the accounting for income taxes by removing certain exceptions and improving the application of existing guidance. The new guidance is effective for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2020.The adoption of ASU 2019-12 on January 1, 2021 did not have a material effect on our consolidated financial statements.

 

(c) Revenue recognition

 

Revenue is recognized when control of goods or services is transferred to customers, in amounts that reflect the consideration the Company expects to be entitled to in exchange for those goods or services. The Company's performance obligation is typically to (a) deliver data records, based on predefined qualifying characteristics specified by the customer, (b) generate conversions, based on predefined user actions (for example, a click, a registration or the installation of an app) and subject to certain qualifying characteristics specified by the customer, (c) verify user interest or transfer calls to advertiser clients as a part of the contact center operation, or (d) deliver media spend as a part of the AdParlor business.

 

If a customer pays consideration before the Company's performance obligations are satisfied, such amounts are classified as deferred revenue on the consolidated balance sheets. As of  September 30, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the balance of deferred revenue was $722 and $1,373, respectively. The majority of the deferred revenue balance as of  December 31, 2020 was recognized into revenue during the first quarter of 2021.

 

When there is a delay between the period in which revenue is recognized and when a customer invoice is issued, revenue is recognized, and the related amounts are recorded as unbilled revenue within accounts receivable on the consolidated balance sheets. As of  September 30, 2021 and December 31, 2020, unbilled revenue included in accounts receivable was $27,692 and $28,337, respectively. In line with industry practice, the unbilled revenue balance is recorded based on the Company's internally tracked conversions, net of estimated variances between this amount and the amount tracked and subsequently confirmed by customers. Substantially all amounts included within the unbilled revenue balance are invoiced to customers within the month directly following the period of service. Historical estimates related to unbilled revenue have not been materially different from actual revenue billed.

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (CONTINUED)

(Amounts in thousands, except share data)

(unaudited)

 

 

(d) Use of estimates

 

The preparation of consolidated financial statements in accordance with US GAAP requires the Company’s management to make estimates and assumptions relating to the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements, and the reported amounts of revenue and expenses during the reporting periods. Significant items subject to such estimates and assumptions include the allowance for doubtful accounts, useful lives of intangible assets, recoverability of the carrying amounts of goodwill and intangible assets, the portion of revenue subject to estimates for variances between internally-tracked conversions and those confirmed by the customer, purchase accounting, put/call consideration, consolidation of variable interest entity, accruals for contingencies and allowance for deferred tax assets. These estimates are often based on complex judgments and assumptions that management believes to be reasonable, but are inherently uncertain and unpredictable. Actual results could differ from these estimates.

 

 

2. (Loss) income per share

 

Basic (loss) income per share is computed by dividing net (loss) income by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding during the period, in addition to restricted stock units ("RSUs") and restricted common stock that are vested but not delivered. Diluted (loss) income per share reflects the potential dilution that could occur if securities or other contracts to issue common stock are exercised or converted into common stock and is calculated using the treasury stock method for stock options, restricted stock units, restricted stock, warrants and deferred common stock. Common equivalent shares are excluded from the calculation in loss periods, as their effects would be anti-dilutive.

 

For the nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, basic and diluted (loss) income per share was as follows:

 

  

Three Months Ended September 30,

  

Nine Months Ended September 30,

 
  

2021

  

2020

  

2021

  

2020

 

Numerator:

                

Net (loss) income

 $(2,452) $1,169  $(13,889) $2,029 

Denominator:

                

Weighted average shares outstanding

  78,441,740   76,315,973   77,866,621   76,111,405 

Weighted average restricted shares vested not delivered

  1,691,666   2,262,001   1,887,041   2,452,857 

Total basic weighted average shares outstanding

  80,133,406   78,577,974   79,753,662   78,564,262 

Dilutive effect of assumed conversion of restricted stock units

     594,604      650,357 

Total diluted weighted average shares outstanding

  80,133,406   79,172,578   79,753,662   79,214,619 

Basic and diluted (loss) income per share:

                

Basic

 $(0.03) $0.01  $(0.17) $0.03 

Diluted

 $(0.03) $0.01  $(0.17) $0.03 

 

The following potentially dilutive securities were excluded from the calculation of diluted (loss) income per share, as their effects would have been anti-dilutive for the periods presented:

 

  

Three Months Ended September 30,

  

Nine Months Ended September 30,

 
  

2021

  

2020

  

2021

  

2020

 

Restricted stock units

  2,814,788   1,589,498   2,814,788   1,639,561 

Stock options

  2,204,000   2,509,000   2,204,000   2,509,000 

Warrants

  833,333   833,333   833,333   833,333 

Total anti-dilutive securities

  5,852,121   4,931,831   5,852,121   4,981,894 

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (CONTINUED)

(Amounts in thousands, except share data)

(unaudited)

 

 

 

3. Intangible assets, net

 

Intangible assets, net, other than goodwill, consist of the following: 

 

  

Amortization period (in years)

  

September 30, 2021

  

December 31, 2020

 

Gross amount:

            

Software developed for internal use

  3  $8,963  $7,376 

Acquired proprietary technology

  3-5   14,845   14,788 

Customer relationships

  5-10   37,885   37,886 

Trade names

  4-20   16,657   16,657 

Domain names

  20   191   191 

Databases

  5-10   31,292   31,292 

Non-competition agreements

  2-5   1,768   1,768 

Total gross amount

      111,601   109,958 

Accumulated amortization:

            

Software developed for internal use

      (4,811)  (3,551)

Acquired proprietary technology

      (13,169)  (12,474)

Customer relationships

      (28,626)  (24,657)

Trade names

      (4,922)  (4,252)

Domain names

      (55)  (48)

Databases

      (20,197)  (17,791)

Non-competition agreements

      (1,768)  (1,768)

Total accumulated amortization

      (73,548)  (64,541)

Net intangible assets:

            

Software developed for internal use

      4,152   3,825 

Acquired proprietary technology

      1,676   2,314 

Customer relationships

      9,259   13,229 

Trade names

      11,735   12,405 

Domain names

      136   143 

Databases

      11,095   13,501 

Total intangible assets, net

     $38,053  $45,417 

 

The amounts relating to acquired proprietary technology, customer relationships, trade names, domain names, databases and non-competition agreements primarily represent the fair values of intangible assets acquired as a result of the acquisition of Fluent, LLC, effective December 8, 2015 (the "Fluent LLC Acquisition"), the acquisition of Q Interactive, LLC, effective June 8, 2016 (the "Q Interactive Acquisition"), the acquisition of substantially all the assets of AdParlor Holdings, Inc. and certain of its affiliates, effective July 1, 2019 (the "AdParlor Acquisition"), and the acquisition of a 50% interest in Winopoly (the "Initial Winopoly Acquisition"), effective April 1, 2020 (see Note 11Business acquisition). In connection with the Initial Winopoly Acquisition, the Company recorded 100% equity ownership for GAAP purposes, and no further intangible assets were acquired in connection with the Full Winopoly Acquisition described in Note 11Business acquisition

 

During the three months ended  March 31, 2021, the Company determined that the reduction in operating results of the Fluent reporting unit, along with a decline in the market value of its publicly-traded stock, collectively constituted a triggering event. As such, the Company conducted an interim test of the recoverability of its long-lived assets. Based on the results of this recoverability test, which measured the Company's projected undiscounted cash flows as compared to the carrying value of the asset group, the Company determined that, as of  March 31, 2021, its long-lived assets were not impaired. Management believes that the assumptions utilized in this interim impairment testing, including the estimation of future cash flows, were reasonable. The Company completed its quarterly triggering event assessments for the three months ended June 30, 2021 and September 30, 2021 and has determined that no triggering event had occurred requiring further impairment assessments for its long lived assets.

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (CONTINUED)

(Amounts in thousands, except share data)

(unaudited)

 

 

Amortization expense of $3,006 and $3,711 for the three months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, respectively, and $9,352 and $10,917, for the nine months ended  September 30, 2021 and 2020, respectively, is included in depreciation and amortization expenses in the consolidated statements of operations. As of September 30, 2021, intangible assets with a carrying amount of $592, included in the gross amount of software developed for internal use, have not commenced amortization, as they are not ready for their intended use.

 

As of September 30, 2021, estimated amortization expense related to the Company's intangible assets for the remainder of 2021 and through 2026 and thereafter are as follows:

 

Year

 

September 30, 2021

 

Remainder of 2021

 $3,027 

2022

  11,843 

2023

  6,104 

2024

  4,618 

2025

  4,024 

2026 and thereafter

  8,437 

Total

 $38,053 

 

 

4. Goodwill

 

Goodwill represents the cost in excess of fair value of net assets acquired in a business combination. As of September 30, 2021, the total balance of goodwill was $165,088, and relates to the acquisition of Interactive Data, LLC, the Fluent LLC Acquisition, the Q Interactive Acquisition, the AdParlor Acquisition, and the Initial Winopoly Acquisition (see Note 11Business acquisition). In connection with the Initial Winopoly Acquisition, the Company recorded 100% equity ownership for GAAP purposes, and no further goodwill was acquired in connection with the Full Winopoly Acquisition as described in Note 11Business acquisition.

 

In accordance with ASC 350, Intangibles - Goodwill and Other, goodwill is tested at least annually for impairment, or when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of such assets may not be recoverable, by assessing qualitative factors or performing a quantitative analysis in determining whether it is more likely than not that its fair value exceeds the carrying value. The measurement date of the Company's annual goodwill impairment test is October 1.

 

During the three months ended  March 31, 2021, the Company determined that the reduction in operating results of the Fluent reporting unit, along with a decline in the market value of its publicly-traded stock, collectively constituted a triggering event. As such, the Company conducted an interim test of the fair value of its goodwill for potential impairment. Based on the results as of March 31, 2021, which used a combination of the income and market approaches to determine the fair value of the Fluent reporting unit, the Company concluded its goodwill of $160,922 was not impaired since the results of the interim test indicated that the estimated fair value exceeded its carrying value by approximately 17%. The Company believes that the assumptions utilized in its interim impairment testing, including the determination of an appropriate discount rate of 14.5%, long-term profitability growth projections, and estimated future cash flows, are reasonable. The risk of future impairment of goodwill exists if actual results, such as lower than expected revenue, profitability, cash flows, market multiples, discount rates and control premiums, differ from the assumptions used in the Company's interim impairment test.

 

The Company completed its quarterly triggering event assessments for the three months ended June 30, 2021 and September 30, 2021 and determined no triggering event had occurred that would require further interim impairment assessments for its remaining goodwill. However, if additional reduction in operating results or a decline in the market value of its publicly-traded stock occurs, this could result in future impairment charges.

 

 

5. Long-term debt, net

 

Long-term debt, net, related to the Refinanced Term Loan, the New Credit Facility Term Loan, and Note Payable (each as defined below) consisted of the following:

 

  

September 30, 2021

  

December 31, 2020

 

Refinanced Term Loan due 2023 (less unamortized discount and financing costs of $0 and $2,386, respectively)

 $  $39,350 

New Credit Facility Term Loan due 2026 (less unamortized discount and financing costs of $993 and $0, respectively)

  46,507    

Note Payable due 2021 (less unamortized discount of $0 and $24, respectively)

     1,226 

Long-term debt, net

  46,507   40,576 

Less: Current portion of long-term debt

  (5,000)  (7,293)

Long-term debt, net (non-current)

 $41,507  $33,283 

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (CONTINUED)

(Amounts in thousands, except share data)

(unaudited)

 

 

Refinanced Term Loan

 

On March 31, 2021, Fluent, LLC redeemed in full $38,318 aggregate principal amount of its prior term loan entered into on December 8, 2015 and due March 26, 2023 (the "Refinanced Term Loan"), prior to maturity, resulting in a loss of $2,964 as a cost of early extinguishment of debt.

 

New Credit Facility

 

On March 31, 2021, Fluent, LLC entered into a credit agreement (the “Credit Agreement”) by and among, Fluent, LLC, certain subsidiaries of Fluent, LLC as guarantors, Citizens Bank, N.A. as administrative agent, lead arranger and bookrunner, BankUnited, N.A. and Silicon Valley Bank. The Credit Agreement provides for a term loan in the aggregate principal amount of $50.0 million funded on the closing date (the “Term Loan”), along with an undrawn revolving credit facility of up to $15.0 million (the "Revolving Loans," and together with the Term Loan, the "New Credit Facility").

 

The proceeds of the Term Loan were used to repay all outstanding amounts under the Refinanced Term Loan, including transaction fees and expenses, and for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

 

Borrowings under the Credit Agreement bear interest at a rate per annum equal to an applicable margin, plus, at the Company's option, either a base rate or a LIBOR rate (subject to a floor of 0.25%). The applicable margin is between 0.75% and 1.75% for base rate borrowings and 1.75% and 2.75% for LIBOR rate borrowings, depending upon the Company's consolidated leverage ratio. The opening interest rate of the New Credit Facility is 2.50% (LIBOR + 2.25%). 

 

Borrowings under the Credit Agreement are secured by substantially all of the assets of Fluent, LLC and, subject to certain exclusions, each of its existing and future U.S. subsidiaries. Such assets include, subject to certain limitations, the equity interests of each of the existing and future direct and indirect U.S. subsidiaries of Fluent, LLC.

 

The Credit Agreement contains negative covenants that, among other things, limit Fluent, LLC's ability to: incur indebtedness; grant liens on its assets; enter into certain investments; consummate fundamental change transactions; engage in mergers or acquisitions or dispose of assets; enter into certain transactions with affiliates; make changes to its fiscal year; enter into certain restrictive agreements; and make certain restricted payments (including for dividends and stock repurchases, which are generally prohibited except in a few circumstances and/or up to specified amounts). Each of these limitations are subject to various conditions.

 

The Credit Agreement matures on March 31, 2026 and interest is payable monthly. Scheduled principal amortization of the Term Loan is $1,250 per quarter, which commenced with the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2021. At September 30, 2021, the Company was in compliance with all of the financial and other covenants under the Credit Agreement.

 

Note Payable

 

On July 1, 2019, in connection with the AdParlor Acquisition, the Company issued a promissory note (the "Note Payable") in the principal amount of $2,350, net of discount of $150 from imputing interest on the non-interest-bearing note using a 4.28% rate. The promissory note was guaranteed by the Company's subsidiary, Fluent, LLC, did not accrue interest except in the case of default, was payable in two equal installments on the first and second anniversaries of the date of closing of the acquisition and was subject to setoff in respect of certain indemnity and other matters. The first installment payment of $1,250 was made on July 1, 2020, and the second installment payment of $1,250 was made on July 1, 2021, in each case using cash on hand.

 

Maturities

 

As of September 30, 2021, scheduled future maturities of the Credit Agreement and Note Payable are as follows:

 

Year

  September 30, 2021 

Remainder of 2021

 $1,250 

2022

  5,000 

2023

  5,000 

2024

  5,000 

2025

  5,000 

2026

  26,250 

Total maturities

 $47,500 

 

Fair value

 

As of September 30, 2021, the fair value of long-term debt is considered to approximate its carrying value. The fair value assessment represents a Level 2 measurement.

 

 

6. Income taxes

 

The Company is subject to federal and state income taxes in the United States. The tax provision for interim periods is determined using an estimate of the Company's annual effective tax rate. The Company updates its estimated annual effective tax rate on a quarterly basis and, if the estimate changes, makes a cumulative adjustment. 

 

As of  September 30, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Company has recorded a full valuation allowance against net deferred tax assets, and intends to continue maintaining a full valuation allowance on these net deferred tax assets until there is sufficient evidence to support the release of all or a portion of these allowances. Release of some or all of the valuation allowance would result in the recognition of certain deferred tax assets and an increase in deferred tax benefit for any period in which such a release may be recorded, however, the exact timing and amount of any valuation allowance release are subject to change, depending upon the level of profitability the Company is able to achieve and the net deferred tax assets available.

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (CONTINUED)

(Amounts in thousands, except share data)

(unaudited)

 

 

For the nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, the Company's effective income tax benefit rate of 0% differed from the statutory federal income tax rate of 21%, with such differences resulting primarily from the application of the full valuation allowance against the Company's deferred tax assets.

 

The Company assesses its income tax positions and records tax benefits for all years subject to examination based upon its evaluation of the facts, circumstances, and information available as of the reporting dates. For those tax positions where it is more-likely-than-not that a tax benefit will be sustained, the Company has recorded the largest amount of tax benefit with a greater than 50% likelihood of being realized upon ultimate settlement with a taxing authority that has full knowledge of all relevant information. For those income tax positions where it is not more-likely-than-not that a tax benefit will be sustained, no tax benefit has been recognized in the Company's financial statements.

 

As of  September 30, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the balance of unrecognized tax benefits was $1,480. The unrecognized tax benefits, if recognized, would result in an increase to net operating losses that would be subject to a valuation allowance and, accordingly, result in no impact to the Company’s annual effective tax rate. As of September 30, 2021, the Company has not accrued any interest or penalties with respect to its uncertain tax positions.

 

The Company does not anticipate a significant increase or reduction in unrecognized tax benefits within the next twelve months.

 

 

7. Common stock, treasury stock and warrants

 

Common stock

 

As of  September 30, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the number of issued shares of common stock was 83,018,418 and 80,295,141, respectively, which included shares of treasury stock of 4,089,780 and 3,945,867, respectively.

 

For the nine months ended September 30, 2021, the change in the number of issued shares of common stock was the result of an aggregate 2,525,277 shares of common stock issued upon vesting of RSUs, including 143,913 shares of common stock withheld to cover statutory taxes upon such vesting, which are reflected in treasury stock, as discussed below. The change also included the exercise of 198,000 stock options by a former key executive. 

 

Treasury stock

 

As of  September 30, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Company held shares of treasury stock of 4,089,780 and 3,945,867, with a cost of $10,718 and $9,999, respectively.

 

The Company's share-based incentive plans allow employees the option to either make cash payment or forfeit shares of common stock upon vesting to satisfy federal and state statutory tax withholding obligations associated with equity awards. The forfeited shares of common stock may be taken into treasury stock by the Company or sold on the open market. For the nine months ended September 30, 2021, 143,913 shares of common stock were withheld to cover statutory taxes owed by certain employees for this purpose, all of which were taken into treasury stock. See Note 8, Share-based compensation. 

 

Warrants

 

As of  September 30, 2021 and December 31, 2020, warrants to purchase an aggregate of 833,333 of common stock were outstanding with exercise prices ranging from $3.75 to $6.00 per share.

 

On July 9, 2018 the Company entered into First Amendments (the "First Amendments") to the Amendments to Warrants and Agreements to Exercise ("Amended Whitehorse Warrants") with (i) H.I.G. Whitehorse SMA ABF, L.P. regarding 46,667 warrants to purchase common stock of the Company, par value $0.0005 per share, at an exercise price of $3.00 per share; (ii) H.I.G. Whitehorse SMA Holdings I, LLC regarding 66,666 warrants to purchase common stock of the Company at an exercise price of $3.00 per share; and (iii) Whitehorse Finance, Inc. regarding 186,667 warrants to purchase common stock of the Company at an exercise price of $3.00 per share. In November 2017, the Amended Whitehorse Warrants were exercised and the Company issued an aggregate of 300,000 shares of common stock of the Company (the "Warrant Shares") to the warrant holders. Pursuant to the First Amendments, the warrant holders had the right, but not the obligation, to require the Company to purchase from these warrant holders the 300,000 Warrant Shares at $3.8334 per share (the "Put Right"), which could be exercised during the period commencing January 1, 2019 and ending December 15, 2019. On December 6, 2019, the Company entered into the Second Amendments to the Amended Whitehorse Warrants, pursuant to which the expiration of the Put Right was extended from December 15, 2019 to January 31, 2020. On January 31, 2020, the holders of the Amended Whitehorse Warrants exercised the Put Right, requiring the Company to purchase from the warrant holders the 300,000 Warrant Shares for an aggregate of $1,150. The Company funded such purchase with cash on hand.

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (CONTINUED)

(Amounts in thousands, except share data)

(unaudited)

 

 

 

8. Share-based compensation

 

As of September 30, 2021, the Company maintains two share-based incentive plans: the Cogint, Inc. 2015 Stock Incentive Plan and the Fluent, Inc. 2018 Stock Incentive Plan (the "2018 Plan") which, combined, authorize the issuance of 21,392,864 shares of common stock. As of September 30, 2021, there were 1,015,494 shares of common stock reserved for issuance under the 2018 Plan. The primary purpose of the plans is to attract, retain, reward and motivate certain individuals by providing them with opportunities to acquire or increase their ownership interests in the Company.

 

Stock options

 

The Compensation Committee of the Company's Board of Directors approved the grant of stock options to certain Company executives, which were issued on February 1, 2019, December 20, 2019,  March 1, 2020 and March 1, 2021 respectively, under the 2018 Plan. Subject to continuing service, 50% of the shares subject to these stock options will vest if the Company's stock price remains above 125.00%, 133.33%, 133.33% and 133.33%, respectively, of the exercise price for twenty consecutive trading days, and the remaining 50% of the shares subject to these stock options will vest if the Company's stock price remains above 156.25%, 177.78%, 177.78% and 177.78%, respectively, of the exercise price for twenty consecutive trading days; provided, that no shares will vest prior to the first anniversary of the grant date. As of September 30, 2021, the first condition for the stock options issued on February 1, 2019, December 20, 2019 and March 1, 2020 had been met and the second condition for the stock options issued on December 20, 2019 and March 1, 2020 had been met. Any shares that remain unvested as of the fifth anniversary of the grant date will vest in full on such date. The fair value of the stock options granted was estimated at the trading day before the date of grant using a Monte Carlo simulation model. The key assumptions utilized to calculate the grant-date fair values for these awards are summarized below:

 

Issuance Date

 

February 1, 2019

  

December 20, 2019

  

March 1, 2020

  

March 1, 2021

 

Fair value lower range

 $2.81  $1.58  $1.46  $4.34 

Fair value higher range

 $2.86  $1.61  $1.49  $4.43 

Exercise price

 $4.72  $2.56  $2.33  $6.33 

Expected term (in years)

  1.0 - 1.3   1.0 - 1.6   1.0 - 1.5   1.0 - 1.3 

Expected volatility

  65%  70%  70%  80%

Dividend yield

  %  %  %  %

Risk-free rate

  2.61%  1.85%  1.05%  1.18%

 

For the nine months ended September 30, 2021, details of stock option activity were as follows:

 

  

Number of options

  

Weighted average exercise price per share

  

Weighted average remaining contractual term (in years)

  

Aggregate intrinsic value

 

Outstanding as of December 31, 2020

  2,294,000  $4.34   8.0  $2,256 

Granted

  108,000  $6.33   9.7    

Exercised

  (198,000)            

Outstanding as of September 30, 2021

  2,204,000  $4.41   7.4  $ 

Options exercisable as of September 30, 2021

  1,307,000  $4.06   7.2  $ 

 

The aggregate intrinsic value amounts in the table above represent the difference between the closing price of the Company's common stock at the end of the reporting period and the corresponding exercise prices, multiplied by the number of in-the-money stock options as of the same date.

 

For the nine months ended September 30, 2021, the unvested balance of options was as follows:

 

  

Number of options

  

Weighted average exercise price per share

  

Weighted average remaining contractual term (in years)

 

Unvested as of December 31, 2020

  1,225,000  $3.93   8.4 

Granted

  108,000  $6.33   9.7 

Vested

  (436,000)       

Unvested as of September 30, 2021

  897,000  $4.91   7.6 

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (CONTINUED)

(Amounts in thousands, except share data)

(unaudited)

 

 

Compensation expense recognized for stock options of $105 and $73 for the three months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, respectively, and $395 and $1,424 for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, respectively, was recorded in sales and marketing, product development and general and administrative expenses in the consolidated statements of operations. As of September 30, 2021, there was $230 of unrecognized share-based compensation with respect to outstanding stock options.

 

Restricted stock units and restricted stock

 

For the nine months ended September 30, 2021, details of unvested RSU and restricted stock activity were as follows:

 

  

Number of units

  

Weighted average grant-date fair value

 

Unvested as of December 31, 2020

  3,377,097  $7.09 

Granted

  1,684,061  $4.67 

Vested and delivered

  (2,381,364) $2.93 

Withheld as treasury stock (1)

  (143,913) $4.71 

Vested not delivered (2)

  570,335  $2.70 

Forfeited

  (291,428) $4.57 

Unvested as of September 30, 2021

  2,814,788  $8.64 

 

(1)

As discussed in Note 7, Common stock, treasury stock and warrants, the increase in treasury stock was due to shares withheld to cover statutory withholding taxes upon the delivery of shares following vesting of RSUs. As of September 30, 2021, there were 4,089,780 outstanding shares of treasury stock.

(2)

Vested not delivered represents vested RSUs with delivery deferred to a future time. For the nine months ended September 30, 2021, there was a net decrease of 570,335 shares included in the vested not delivered balance as a result of the delivery of 650,333 shares, partially offset by the vesting of 79,998 shares with deferred delivery election. As of September 30, 20211,691,666 outstanding RSUs were vested not delivered.

 

Compensation expense recognized for RSUs and restricted stock of $1,063 and $1,131 for the three months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, respectively, and $3,276 and $3,544 for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, respectively, was recorded in sales and marketing, product development and general and administrative in the consolidated statements of operations, and intangible assets in the consolidated balance sheets. The fair value of the RSUs and restricted stock was estimated using the closing prices of the Company's common stock on the dates of grant.

 

As of September 30, 2021, unrecognized share-based compensation expense associated with the granted RSUs and stock options amounted to $8,716, which is expected to be recognized over a weighted average period of 2.1 years.

 

For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, share-based compensation for the Company's stock option, RSU, common stock and restricted stock awards were allocated to the following accounts in the consolidated financial statements:

 

  

Three Months Ended September 30,

  

Nine Months Ended September 30,

 
  

2021

  

2020

  

2021

  

2020

 

Sales and marketing

 $188  $172  $560  $659 

Product development

  167   291   668   814 

General and administrative

  790   707   2,349   3,375 

Share-based compensation expense

  1,145   1,170   3,577   4,848 

Capitalized in intangible assets

  23   34   94   120 

Total share-based compensation

 $1,168  $1,204  $3,671  $4,968 

 

On May 13, 2021, the Company's then-CEO and then-President purchased a total of 50,000 shares from the Company for cash under the 2018 Stock Incentive Plan. The per share purchase price for each transaction was the closing price reported on Nasdaq on the date of purchase.

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (CONTINUED)

(Amounts in thousands, except share data)

(unaudited)

 

 

 

9. Segment information

 

The Company identifies operating segments as components of an entity for which discrete financial information is available and is regularly reviewed by the chief operating decision maker (“CODM”) in making decisions regarding resource allocation and performance assessment. The profitability measure employed by CODM is EBITDA. As of September 30, 2021, the Company has two operating segments and two corresponding reporting units, “Fluent” and “All Other,” and one reportable segment. “All Other” represents the operating results of AdParlor, LLC, and is included for purposes of reconciliation of the respective balances below to the consolidated financial statements. “Fluent,” for the purposes of segment reporting, represents the consolidated operating results of the Company excluding “All Other.”

 

Summarized financial information concerning the Company's segments is shown in the following tables below:

 

  

Three Months Ended September 30,

  

Nine Months Ended September 30,

 
  

2021

  

2020

  

2021

  

2020

 

Fluent segment revenue:

                

United States

 $62,533  $63,894  $180,091  $189,507 

International

  20,058   12,832   40,041   35,178 

Fluent segment revenue

 $82,591  $76,726  $220,132  $224,685 

All Other segment revenue:

                

United States

 $3,259  $1,548  $9,194  $3,745 

International

  8   6   80   293 

All Other segment revenue

 $3,267  $1,554  $9,274  $4,038 

Segment EBITDA

                

Fluent segment EBITDA

 $684  $6,862  $512  $19,560 

All Other segment EBITDA

  469   (405)  341   (1,792)

Total EBITDA

  1,153   6,457   853   17,768 

Depreciation and amortization

  3,200   3,906   9,939   11,492 

Total (loss) income from operations

 $(2,047) $2,551  $(9,086) $6,276 

 

  

September 30,

  

December 31,

 
  2021  2020 

Total assets:

      

Fluent

 $288,015  $292,616 

All Other

  21,528   17,604 

Total assets

 $309,543  $310,220

 

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (CONTINUED)

(Amounts in thousands, except share data)

(unaudited)

 

 

 

10. Contingencies

 

In the ordinary course of business, the Company is subject to loss contingencies that cover a range of matters. An estimated loss from a loss contingency, such as a legal proceeding or claim, is accrued if it is probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. In determining whether a loss should be accrued, the Company evaluates, among other factors, the degree of probability and the ability to reasonably estimate the amount of any such loss.

 

On October 26, 2018, the Company received a subpoena from the New York Attorney General’s Office (“NY AG”) regarding compliance with New York Executive Law § 63(12) and New York General Business Law § 349, as they relate to the collection, use, or disclosure of information from or about consumers or individuals, as such information was submitted to the Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”) in connection with the FCC’s rulemaking proceeding captioned “Restoring Internet Freedom,” WC Docket No. 17-108. On May 6, 2021, the Company and the NY AG executed an Assurance of Discontinuance (the “AOD”) to resolve this matter. The AOD imposed injunctive provisions on the Company’s practices with regard to political advocacy campaigns, most of which the Company had already implemented, and imposed a $3.7 million penalty, which was in line with the Company's accrual in the prior quarter and paid in full as of June 30, 2021.

 

On December 13, 2018, the Company received a subpoena from the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) regarding the same issue. On March 12, 2020, the Company received a subpoena from the Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia ("DC AG") regarding the same issue. The Company was responsive and fully cooperated with each of the DOJ and the DC AG.

 

On June 27, 2019, as a part of two sales and use tax audits covering the period from December 1, 2010 to November 30, 2019, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (the “Tax Department”) issued a letter stating its position that revenue derived from certain of the Company’s customer acquisition and list management services are subject to sales tax, as a result of being deemed information services. The Company disputed the Tax Department's position on several grounds, but on January 14 and 15, 2020, the Tax Department issued Statements of Proposed Audit Adjustment totaling $8.2 million, including $2.0 million of interest. The Company formally disagreed with the amount of the Proposed Audit Adjustments and met with the Tax Department on March 4, 2020. During that meeting, the Company informed the Tax Department that a majority of the Proposed Audit Adjustments was attributable to revenue derived from transfers which were either excluded resales or sourced outside of New York and renewed its challenge as to the taxability of its customer acquisition revenue. On July 22 and 31, 2020, the Company received Notices of Determination from the Tax Department totaling $3.0 million, including $0.7 million of interest. On October 16, 2020, the Company filed challenges to the Notices of Determination. Since June 21, 2021, the Company and the Tax Department have been participating in a conciliation conference, but the audits have not yet been resolved. Based on the foregoing, the Company believes it is probable that a sales tax liability may result from this matter and has estimated the range of any such liability to be between $0.8 million and $3.0 million. The Company has accrued a liability associated with these sales and use tax audits at the low end of this range.

 

On January 28, 2020, the Company received a Civil Investigative Demand from the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) regarding compliance with the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. §45 or the Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 C.F.R. Part 310, as they relate to the advertising, marketing, promotion, offering for sale, or sale of rewards and other products, the transmission of commercial text messages, and/or consumer privacy or data security. The Company has been responsive and is fully cooperating with the FTC. At this time, it is not possible to predict the ultimate outcome of this matter or the significance, if any, to the Company’s business, results of operations or financial position.

 

On October 6, 2020, the Company received notice from the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General (“PA OAG”) that it was reviewing the Company’s business practices for compliance under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 P.S. § 201-1 et seq.; the Telemarketer Registration Act, 73 P.S. § 2241 et. seq., and the Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 C.F.R. 310 et seq. The Company has been responsive and is fully cooperating with the PA OAG. At this time, it is not possible to predict the ultimate outcome of this matter or the significance, if any, to the Company’s business, results of operations or financial position.

 

 

11. Business acquisition

 

Winopoly acquisition

 

On April 1, 2020, the Company acquired, through a wholly owned subsidiary, a 50% membership interest in Winopoly (the "Initial Winopoly Acquisition") for a deemed purchase price of $2,553, which consisted of $1,553 in cash and contingent consideration with a fair value of $1,000 payable based upon the achievement of specified revenue targets over the eighteen-month period following the completion of the acquisition. As of the first quarter of 2021, the initial contingent consideration of $1,000 had been paid based on specific revenue targets having been met. On May 17, 2021, additional contingent consideration that was not previously deemed to be probable of payment in the amount of $500 was paid based on a specific revenue target having been met. Winopoly is a contact center operation, which serves as a marketplace that matches consumers sourced by Fluent and other third parties with advertiser clients. In accordance with ASC 805, the Company determined that the Initial Winopoly Acquisition constituted the purchase of a business

 

On April 1, 2020, the fair value of the acquired customer relationships of $600, to be amortized over a period of five years, was determined using the excess earnings method, a variation of the income approach, while the fair value of the acquired developed technology of $800, to be amortized over a period of three years, was determined using the cost approach. The amount of the purchase price in excess of the fair value of the net assets acquired was recorded as goodwill in the amount of $1,131 and primarily relates to intangible assets that do not qualify for separate recognition, including assembled workforce and synergies. In connection with the Initial Winopoly Acquisition, the Company had recorded 100% equity ownership for GAAP purposes. 

 

 

FLUENT, INC.

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (CONTINUED)

(Amounts in thousands, except share data)

(unaudited)

 

 

In connection with the Initial Winopoly Acquisition, at any time between the fourth and sixth anniversary of the Initial Winopoly Acquisition, the sellers had the ability to exercise a put option to require the Company to acquire the remaining 50% membership interests in Winopoly. During this period, the Company also had the ability to exercise a call option to require the sellers to sell the remaining 50% membership interests in Winopoly to the Company. The purchase price to be paid upon exercise of the put or call option for the remaining 50% membership interests was calculated based on a multiple of 4.0 x EBITDA (as such term is defined in the agreement between the parties), applied to a twelve-month period spanning the five months prior to the month of the put/call closing extending through six months following the month of the put/call closing (the "Put/Call Consideration"). In connection with the exercise of the put/call option, certain of the seller parties would have been required to enter into employment agreements with the Company in order to receive their respective shares of the Put/Call Consideration.

 

On September 1, 2021, the Company acquired the remaining 50% membership interest in Winopoly (the “Full Winopoly Acquisition”) in a negotiated transaction. The consideration was $7,785, which consisted of $3,425 of cash at closing, $2,000 of cash due on January 31, 2022, and $500 of deferred payments due at both the first and second anniversary of the closing. The Company also issued 500,000 shares of fully-vested stock under the Fluent, Inc. 2018 Stock Incentive Plan to certain Winopoly personnel valued at $1,360. Certain seller parties entered into employment and non-competition agreements with Company in connection with the Full Winopoly Acquisition. As a result, the Put/Call Consideration was terminated, partially offsetting the consideration paid in the Full Winopoly Acquisition, resulting in a net expense of $2,796 on the date of the Full Winopoly Acquisition which was recorded as general and administrative and product development expenses. For the nine months ended September 30, 2021, the Company incurred transaction related costs of $28 in connection with the Full Winopoly Acquisition which are also recorded as general and administrative expenses.

 

Although the sellers maintained an equity interest in Winopoly through August 31, 2021, the Company had deemed this equity interest to be non-substantive in nature, as the sellers would primarily benefit from the Initial Winopoly Acquisition based on periodic distributions of the earnings of Winopoly and the Put/Call Consideration, both of which were dependent on the sellers' continued service. Without providing service, the sellers could benefit from their pro rata share of the proceeds upon a third-party sale or liquidation of Winopoly; however, such a liquidity event was considered unlikely. Therefore, no non-controlling interest had been previously recognized. Periodic distributions for services rendered were recorded as compensation expense. In addition, the Company had estimated the amount of the Put/Call Consideration, which was accreted over the six-year estimated service period, consisted of the estimated four years until the put/call could be exercised and the additional two-year service requirement. For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021, compensation expense of $586 and $3,213, respectively, and for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2020 compensation expense of $654 and $1,184, respectively, related to the Put/Call Consideration were recorded in general and administrative on the consolidated statement of operations, which had a corresponding liability in other non-current liabilities on the consolidated balance sheet.

 

 

12. Variable Interest Entity

 

The Company determined that, following the Initial Winopoly Acquisition, Winopoly qualified as a VIE for which the Company was a primary beneficiary (as discussed in Note 11, Business acquisition). A VIE is an entity that either (i) has insufficient equity to permit the entity to finance its activities without additional subordinated financial support, or (ii) has equity investors who lack the characteristics of a controlling financial interest. The primary beneficiary is the party that has the power to direct activities that most significantly impact the operations of the VIE and has the obligation to absorb losses or the right to benefits from the VIE that could potentially be significant to the VIE. We assess whether we are the primary beneficiary of a VIE at the inception of the arrangement and at each reporting date.

 

The Company's conclusion that Winopoly was a VIE, and the Company was its primary beneficiary, derived from contractual arrangements that provided the Company with control over certain activities that most significantly impacted its economic performance. These significant activities included the compliance practices of Winopoly and the Company's provisions of leads that Winopoly used to generate its revenue, which ultimately gave the Company its controlling interest. The Company therefore consolidated Winopoly in its consolidated financial statements from the inception of the Initial Winopoly Acquisition, inclusive of deemed compensation expense to the sellers for services rendered. On September 1, 2021, the Company completed the Full Winopoly Acquisition and Winopoly's status as a VIE terminated (see Note 3, Intangible assets, net, Note 4, Goodwill and Note 11, Business acquisition).

 

 

13. Related party transactions

 

During the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021, the Company recognized revenue from a client in which the then-CEO holds a significant ownership interest. Accounts receivable for this client were $0 and $137 as of September 30, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively. For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021, the Company recognized revenue from this client of $0 and $33, respectively, and for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2020, the Company recognized revenue from this client of $69 and $214, respectively. In accordance with the Company's policies and procedures for determining allowances for doubtful accounts and write-offs, the Company wrote-off the outstanding accounts receivable from this client as of June 30, 2021.

 

 

 

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

 

 

You should read the following discussion in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q. This Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PSLRA"), Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, (the "Exchange Act"), about our expectations, beliefs, or intentions regarding our business, financial condition, results of operations, strategies, the outcome of litigation, or prospects. You can identify forward-looking statements by the fact that these statements do not relate strictly to historical or current matters. Rather, forward-looking statements relate to anticipated or expected events, activities, trends, or results as of the date they are made. These forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of terminology such as “anticipate,“believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "project," "will,"  or the negative thereof or other variations thereon or comparable terminology. Because forward-looking statements relate to matters that have not yet occurred, these statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from any future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Many factors could cause our actual activities or results to differ materially from the activities and results anticipated in forward-looking statements. These factors include those contained in this and our other Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, as well as the disclosures made in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 filed on March 16, 2021 ("2020 Form 10-K"), and other filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). We do not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements, except as required by law. We intend that all forward-looking statements be subject to the safe harbor provisions of PSLRA. These forward-looking statements are only predictions and reflect our views as of the date they are made with respect to future events and financial performance.
 

Overview

 

Fluent, Inc. ("we," "us," "our," "Fluent," or the "Company"), is an industry leader in data-driven digital marketing services. We primarily perform customer acquisition services by operating highly scalable digital marketing campaigns, through which we connect our advertiser clients with consumers they are seeking to reach. We deliver performance-based marketing executions and lead generation data records to our clients, which in 2020 included over 500 consumer brands, direct marketers and agencies across a wide range of industries, including Media & Entertainment, Financial Products & Services, Health & Wellness, Retail & Consumer, and Staffing & Recruitment.

 

We attract consumers at scale to our owned digital media properties primarily through promotional offerings and employment opportunities. To register on our sites, consumers provide their names, contact information and opt-in permission to present them with offers on behalf of our clients. Approximately 90% of these users engage with our media on their mobile devices or tablets. Our always-on, real-time capabilities enable users to access our media whenever and wherever they choose.

 

Once users have registered with our sites, we integrate proprietary direct marketing technologies to engage them with surveys, polls and other experiences, through which we learn about their lifestyles, preferences and purchasing histories. Based on these insights, we serve targeted, relevant offers to them on behalf of our clients. As new users register and engage with our sites and existing registrants re-engage, we believe the enrichment of our database expands our addressable client base and improves the effectiveness of our performance-based campaigns.

 

Since our inception, we have amassed a large, proprietary database of first-party, self-declared user information and preferences. We have permission to contact the majority of users in our database through multiple channels, such as email, direct mail, telephone, push notifications and SMS text messaging. We leverage this data in our performance offerings primarily to serve advertisements that we believe will be relevant to users based on the information they provide, and in our lead generation offerings to provide our clients with users' contact information so that our clients may communicate with the users directly. We continue to leverage our existing database into new revenue streams, including utilization-based models, such as programmatic advertising.

 

Third Quarter Financial Summary

 

Three months ended September 30, 2021 compared to three months ended September 30, 2020:

 

Revenue increased 10% to $85.9 million, from $78.3 million.

  Net loss was $2.5 million, or $0.03 per share, compared to net income of $1.2 million or $0.01 per share.
  Gross profit (exclusive of depreciation and amortization) of $22.1 million, a decrease of 13% over Q3 2020 and representing 25.7% of revenue.
  Media margin decreased 19% to $24.2 million, from $29.7 million, representing 28.1% of revenue.
  Adjusted EBITDA decreased 45% to $6.4 million, based on net loss of $2.5 million, from $11.6 million, based on net income of $1.2 million.
  Adjusted net income was $2.8 million, or $0.03 per share, compared to adjusted net income of $6.3 million, or $0.08 per share.

 

Nine months ended September 30, 2021 compared to nine months ended September 30, 2020:

 

Revenue was relatively similar at $229.4 million, as compared with $228.7 million.

  Net loss was $13.9 million, or $0.17 per share, compared to net income of $2.0 million or $0.03 per share.
  Gross profit (exclusive of depreciation and amortization) decreased 17% to $58.0 million, from $70.3 million, representing 25.3% of revenue.
  Media margin decreased 12% to $69.2 million, from $78.4 million, representing 30.2% of revenue.
  Adjusted EBITDA decreased 57% to $12.9 million, based on net loss of $13.9 million, from $30.0 million, based on net income of $2.0 million.
  Adjusted net income was $1.2 million, or $0.01 per share, compared to adjusted net income of $14.3 million, or $0.18 per share.

 

Media margin, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income are non-GAAP financial measures.

 

Trends Affecting our Business

 

Traffic Quality Initiative and Increased Monetization

 

A key challenge for our business is identifying and accessing media sources that are of high quality and able to attract targeted users to our media properties. As our business has grown, we have attracted larger and more sophisticated clients to our platform. To further increase our value proposition to clients and to fortify our leadership position in relation to the evolving regulatory landscape of our industry, we commenced a traffic quality initiative (the "Traffic Quality Initiative") in 2020. Our Traffic Quality Initiative curtailed the volume of lower quality affiliate traffic that we source, particularly during the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, and we continue to make smaller adjustments as appropriate.

 

We believe that significant value can be created by improving the quality of traffic we source to our media properties, through higher participation rates on our sites, leading to higher conversion rates, resulting in increased monetization and ultimately increasing revenue and media margin. We are also pursuing various revenue initiatives that enable us to grow revenue with existing user traffic volume. In the third quarter of 2021, we increased the monetization of consumer traffic through multiple channels, including growth in the Winopoly business (d/b/a Fluent Sales Solutions), strong client demand in the staffing and recruitment vertical, and an internally-developed email capability which enables us to re-engage consumers who have registered on our owned media properties. These new and/or improved revenue streams offset reductions in traffic volume year-over-year from our Traffic Quality Initiative. Through these initiatives, our business has become less dependent on traffic volume to generate revenue growth.

 

In the third quarter of 2021, we continued some of the strategies tested in the second quarter of 2021, involving increased media spend with major digital media platforms and revised bidding strategies for affiliate traffic. These strategies yielded lower margins initially, with the intent to optimize spend for improved profitability in future periods. In the third quarter of 2021, we both increased our spend and improved profitability with major digital media platforms compared to the second quarter, though profitability was still below our historical levels achieved through affiliate marketing. The mix and profitability of our media channels, strategies and partners is likely to be dynamic and reflect evolving market dynamics and the impact of our Traffic Quality Initiative. Volatility of affiliate supply sources, consolidation of media sources, changes in search engine, email and text message blocking algorithms and increased competition for available media have made the process of growing our traffic under our evolving quality standards challenging during 2021 and may continue to do so in the future. As we test and scale new media channels, strategies and partners, we may determine that certain sources initially able to provide us profitable quality traffic may not be able to maintain our quality standards over time, and we may need to discontinue, or direct a modification of the practices of, such sources, which could reduce profitability.

 

Seasonality and Cyclicality

 

Our results are subject to fluctuation as a result of seasonality and cyclicality in our and our clients’ businesses. For example, our fourth fiscal quarter ending December 31 is typically characterized by higher advertiser budgets, which can be somewhat offset by seasonal challenges of lower availability and/or higher pricing for some forms of media during the holiday period. Further, as reflected in historical data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau ("IAB"), industry spending on internet advertising has generally declined sequentially in the first quarter of the calendar year from the fourth quarter. Similar to the industry overall, some of our clients have lower advertising budgets during our first fiscal quarter ending March 31; however, we believe that the breadth of industries in which our clients operate provides us with some insulation from these fluctuations.

 

In addition to variations in budgets from quarter to quarter, certain clients have budgets that start stronger at the beginning of quarterly or monthly periods, may reach limits during such periods and then may have needs to satisfy their performance objectives at the end of such periods. Beyond these budgetary constraints and buying patterns of clients, other factors affecting our business may include macroeconomic conditions affecting the digital media industry and the various client verticals we serve.

 

COVID-19 Update

 

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. At this time, our operations have not been significantly impacted by the global economic impact of COVID-19, and we have taken appropriate measures to ensure that we are able to conduct our business remotely without significant disruptions. The economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has had varying degrees of impact on certain of our advertiser clients in certain industry verticals over the course of the pandemic. For example, industry verticals such as staffing and recruitment and financial products and services exhibited reduced pricing and/or demand following the onset of the pandemic and have subsequently recovered to varying degrees since that time. On the other hand, demand from certain advertisers in other verticals, such as streaming services and mobile gaming, increased during the pandemic and has since remained strong. With the proliferation of COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S. during the second quarter of 2021, we have seen a substantial recovery in the staffing and recruitment vertical. There may continue to be additional shifts in pricing and/or demand among our clients, as the trajectory of the pandemic and future economic outlook remain uncertain.

 

 

We implemented company-wide work-from-home beginning on March 13, 2020. During the second quarter of 2021, we opened our headquarters to employees that meet health protocols and voluntarily choose to work in the office. We continue to monitor evolving trends and guidance for COVID-19 safety protocols and our office remains open for those who voluntarily choose to work there. In addition, in light of the historically dynamic and competitive market for hiring and retaining employees, we have monitored evolving trends in flexible workplace choices for employees. In light of the forgoing factors, we anticipate maintaining a flexible approach to workplace choices in the near term. While we believe we have adapted well to a work-from-home environment, COVID-19 increases the likelihood of certain risks of disruption to our business, such as the incapacity of certain employees or system interruptions, which could lead to diminishment of our regular business operations, technological capacity and cybersecurity capabilities, as well as operational inefficiencies and reputational harm.

 

Please see "Results of Operations" for further discussion of the possible impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business.

 

Definitions, Reconciliations and Uses of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

 

We report the following non-GAAP measures:

 

Media margin is defined as that portion of gross profit (exclusive of depreciation and amortization) reflecting variable costs paid for media and related expenses and excluding non-media cost of revenue. Gross profit (exclusive of depreciation and amortization) represents revenue minus cost of revenue (exclusive of depreciation and amortization). Media margin is also presented as percentage of revenue.

 

Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net (loss) income excluding (1) income taxes, (2) interest expense, net, (3) depreciation and amortization, (4) share-based compensation expense, (5) loss on early extinguishment of debt, (6) accrued compensation expense for Put/Call Consideration, (7) goodwill impairment, (8) write-off of intangible assets, (9) acquisition-related costs, (10) restructuring and other severance costs, and (11) certain litigation and other related costs.

 

Adjusted net income is defined as net (loss) income excluding (1) Share-based compensation expense, (2) loss on early extinguishment of debt, (3) accrued compensation expense for Put/Call Consideration, (4) goodwill impairment, (5) write-off of intangible assets, (6) acquisition-related costs, (7) restructuring and other severance costs, and (8) certain litigation and other related costs. Adjusted net income is also presented on a per share (basic and diluted) basis.

 

Below is a reconciliation of media margin from gross profit (exclusive of depreciation and amortization), which we believe is the most directly comparable GAAP measure.

 

   

Three Months Ended September 30,

   

Nine Months Ended September 30,

 
   

2021

   

2020

   

2021

   

2020

 

Revenue