djco20150927_10k.htm

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

(MARK ONE)

  

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

 

for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2015

 

OR

 

 

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

 

Commission File No. 0-14665

DAILY JOURNAL CORPORATION

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

South Carolina

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

95-4133299

(IRS Employer

Identification No.)

   

915 East First Street

 

Los Angeles, California

(Address of principal executive offices)

90012

(Zip Code)

 

Registrant's telephone number, including area code: (213) 229-5300

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act: Common Stock, The NASDAQ Stock Market.

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None.

 


 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☐     No ☒

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐     No ☒

 

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 and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).

 

           Yes ☒   No    ☐

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K: ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

            Large accelerated ☐             Accelerated filer ☒             Non-accelerated filer ☐             Smaller reporting company ☐

 

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 March 31, 2015, the aggregate market value of Daily Journal Corporation's voting stock held by non-affiliates was approximately $198,239,000.

 

As of November 30, 2015 there were outstanding 1,380,746 shares of Common Stock of Daily Journal Corporation.

 


 

 
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Disclosure Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

 

   This Form 10-K includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Certain statements contained in this document, including but not limited to those in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”, are “forward-looking” statements that involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual future events or results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. Words such as “expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “should,” “believes,” “will,” “plans,” “estimates,” “may,” variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. We disclaim any intention or obligation to revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future developments, or otherwise. There are many factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. These factors include, among others: risks associated with software development and implementation efforts; Journal Technologies’ reliance on professional services engagements with justice agencies, including California courts, for a substantial portion of its revenues; material changes in the costs of postage and paper; possible changes in the law, particularly changes limiting or eliminating the requirements for public notice advertising; possible loss of the adjudicated status of the Company’s newspapers and their legal authority to publish public notice advertising; a further decline in public notice advertising revenues because of fewer foreclosures; a further decline in subscriber and commercial advertising revenues; possible security breaches of the Company’s software or websites; the Company’s reliance on its president and chief executive officer; changes in accounting guidance; material weaknesses in the Company’s internal control over financial reporting; and declines in the market prices of the securities owned by the Company. In addition, such statements could be affected by general industry and market conditions, general economic conditions (particularly in California) and other factors. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are discussed in this Form 10-K, including in conjunction with the forward-looking statements themselves, and in other documents filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

 
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PART I

 

Item 1. Business

 

The Company publishes newspapers and web sites covering California and Arizona and produces several specialized information services. It also serves as a newspaper representative specializing in public notice advertising. We often refer to this as “The Traditional Business”.

 

Journal Technologies, Inc. (“Journal Technologies”), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, supplies case management software systems and related products to courts and other justice agencies, including administrative law organizations, county governments and bar associations. These organizations use the Journal Technologies family of products to help manage cases and information electronically, to interface with other critical justice partners and to extend electronic services to the public, including a website to pay traffic citations online, and bar members. These products are licensed to more than 500 organizations in 41 states and internationally. Journal Technologies is the result of the October 1, 2014 merger of the Company’s three technology-related subsidiaries, which were previously separate companies: Sustain Technologies, Inc. (“Sustain”), a wholly owned subsidiary since 2008; New Dawn Technologies, Inc. (“New Dawn”), acquired in December 2012; and ISD Technologies, Inc. (“ISD”), acquired in September 2013.

 

Essentially all of the Company’s operations are based in California, Arizona and Utah. Financial information of the Company, including information about each of the Company’s reportable segments, is set forth in Item 8 (“Financial Statements and Supplementary Data”).

 

Products and Services

 

The Traditional Business

 

Newspapers and related online publications. The Company publishes 10 newspapers of general circulation. Each newspaper, in addition to news of interest to the general public, has a particular area of in-depth focus with regard to its news coverage, thereby attracting readers interested in obtaining information about that area through a newspaper format. Effective October 1, 2015, the Company has discontinued the publication of the California Lawyer magazine and the California Directory of Attorneys. The Company also discontinued publication of the San Diego Commerce on September 19, 2015 and concurrently replaced it through a small acquisition of The Daily Transcript, which serves the San Diego market. These changes are not expected to materially impact the Company’s financial results.

 

The publications are based in the following cities:

 

 

Newspaper publications

Base of publication

     
 

Los Angeles Daily Journal

Los Angeles, California

 

Daily Commerce

Los Angeles, California

 

San Francisco Daily Journal

San Francisco, California

 

The Daily Recorder

Sacramento, California

 

The Inter-City Express

Oakland, California

 

San Jose Post-Record

San Jose, California

 

Orange County Reporter

Santa Ana, California

 

The Daily Transcript

San Diego, California

 

Business Journal

Riverside, California

 

The Record Reporter

Phoenix, Arizona

 

 
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The Daily Journals.   The Los Angeles Daily Journal and the San Francisco Daily Journal are each published every weekday except certain holidays and were established in 1888 and 1893, respectively. In addition to covering state and local news of general interest, these newspapers focus particular coverage on law and its impact on society. (The Los Angeles Daily Journal and the San Francisco Daily Journal are referred to collectively herein as ''The Daily Journals''.) Generally The Daily Journals seek to be of special utility to lawyers and judges and to gain wide multiple readership of newspapers sent to law firm subscribers.

 

The Daily Journals contain much material and render many services in a common endeavor. The Los Angeles Daily Journal is the largest newspaper published by the Company, both in terms of revenues and circulation. At September 30, 2015, the Los Angeles Daily Journal had approximately 5,300 paid subscribers and the San Francisco Daily Journal had approximately 2,700 paid subscribers as compared with total paid subscriptions for both of The Daily Journals of 8,200 at September 30, 2014. The Daily Journals carry commercial advertising (display and classified) and public notice advertising required or permitted by law to be published in a newspaper of general circulation. The main source of commercial advertising revenue has been local advertisers, law firms and businesses in or wishing to reach the legal professional community. The gross revenues generated directly by The Daily Journals are attributable approximately 64% to subscriptions and 36% to the sale of advertising and other revenues. Revenues from The Daily Journals constituted approximately 18% of the Company's total fiscal 2015 revenues, 19% in 2014, 23% in 2013, 28% in 2012 and 27% in 2011.

 

It is the policy of The Daily Journals (1) to take no editorial position on the legal and political controversies of the day but instead to publish well-written editorial views of others on many sides of a controversy and (2) to try to report on factual events with technical competence and with objectivity and accuracy. It is believed that this policy suits a professional readership of exceptional intelligence and education, which is the target readership for the newspapers. Moreover, The Daily Journals believe that they bear a duty to their readership, particularly judges and justices, as a self-imposed public trust, regardless, within reason, of short-term income penalties. The Company believes that this policy of The Daily Journals is in the long-term interest of the Company’s shareholders.

 

The Daily Journals contain the Daily Appellate Report which provides the full text and case summaries of all opinions certified for publication by the California Supreme Court, the California Courts of Appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth Circuit, the State Bar Court and selected opinions of the U.S. District Courts in California and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The Daily Journals also include a monthly court directory in booklet form. This directory includes a comprehensive list of sitting judges in all California courts as well as courtroom assignments, phone numbers and courthouse addresses, plus ''Judicial Transitions'' which lists judicial appointments, elevations, confirmations, resignations, retirements and deaths.

 

The Daily Journals are distributed by mail and hand delivery, with subscribers in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas usually receiving copies the same day. Certain subscribers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Alameda, Orange, San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties receive copies by hand delivery. The regular yearly subscription rate for each of The Daily Journals is $788.

 

 
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Much of the information contained in The Daily Journals is available to subscribers online at www.dailyjournal.com.

 

Daily Commerce. Published since 1917, the Daily Commerce, based in Los Angeles, in addition to covering news of general interest, devotes substantial coverage to items designed to serve real estate investors and brokers, particularly those interested in Southern California distressed properties. The nature of the news coverage enhances the effectiveness of public notice advertising in distributing information about foreclosures to potential buyers at foreclosures. The features of the paper include default listings and probate estate sales. The Daily Commerce carries both public notice and commercial advertising and is published in the afternoon each business day.

 

The Daily Recorder. The Daily Recorder, based in Sacramento, began operations in 1911. It is published each business day. In addition to general news items, it focuses on the Sacramento legal and real estate communities and on California state government and activities ancillary to it. Among the regular features of The Daily Recorder is news about government leaders and lobbyists, as well as the Daily Appellate Report for those who request it. Advertising in The Daily Recorder consists of both commercial and public notice advertising.

 

The Inter-City Express. The Inter-City Express (the ''Express'') has been published since 1909. It covers general news of local interest and focuses its coverage on news about the real estate and legal communities in the Oakland/San Francisco area. The Express carries both commercial and public notice advertising. It is published each business day.

 

San Jose Post-Record. The San Jose Post-Record (the ''Post-Record'') has been published since 1910. In addition to general news of local interest, the Post-Record, which is published each business day, focuses on legal and real estate news and carries commercial and public notice advertising.

 

Orange County Reporter. The Orange County Reporter (''Orange Reporter'') has been an adjudicated newspaper of general circulation since 1922. In addition to general news of local interest, the Orange Reporter reports local and state legal, business and real estate news, and carries primarily public notice advertising. The Orange Reporter is published three days a week.

 

The Daily Transcript. The Daily Transcript (San Diego) is published five days a week and carries general news of local interest and public notice advertising and has been an adjudicated newspaper of general circulation since 1909. The Daily Transcript also serves legal and real estate professionals in San Diego County.

 

Business Journal. The Business Journal, established in 1991, publishes news of general interest and provides coverage of the business and professional communities in Riverside County. It also carries public notice advertising and is published each business day.

 

The Record Reporter (Arizona). The Record Reporter has been in existence since 1914. In addition to general news of local interest, The Record Reporter, which is published three days a week, focuses on legal news and public record information and carries primarily public notice advertising.

 

Information Services. The specialized information services offered by the Company have grown out of its newspaper operations or have evolved in response to a desire for such services primarily from its newspaper subscribers.

 

 
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The Company has several court rules services. One is Court Rules, a multi-volume, loose-leaf set. Court Rules reproduces court rules for certain state and federal courts in California. The Court Rules appear in two versions, one of which covers Northern California courts (nine volumes) and one of which covers Southern California courts (eight volumes). The Company updates Court Rules on a monthly basis. In addition, the Company publishes a single volume of rules known as Local Rules for major counties of California. Six versions are published for Southern California, each a single bound volume for the rules of: (1) Los Angeles County; (2) Orange County; (3) San Diego County; (4) San Bernardino County; (5) Riverside County; and (6) Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Also, the Company publishes single-volume rules for the Federal District Court in the Central District of California and California Probate Rules. In Northern California, three versions of the Local Rules appear in loose-leaf books for Santa Clara/San Mateo, Alameda/Contra Costa and San Francisco counties. The single volumes are normally updated or replaced whenever there are substantial rule changes.

 

The Judicial Profiles services contain information concerning nearly all active and retired judges in California. Most of the profiles have previously appeared in The Daily Journals as part of a regular feature. The Judicial Profiles include biographical data and financial disclosure statements on judges and information supplied by each judge regarding the judge's policies and views on various trial and appellate procedures and the manner in which appearances are conducted in his or her courtroom. Subscribers may purchase either the ten-volume set for Southern California or the eight-volume set for Northern California.

 

The Company also provides online foreclosure information to about 40 customers. This service primarily provides distressed property information, some of which also appears in some of the Company's newspapers, as well as expanded features. Consolidation of both newspapers and online products more effectively utilizes the costs of gathering such information.

 

Advertising and Newspaper Representative. The Company's publications carry commercial advertising, and most also contain public notice advertising. Commercial advertising consists of display and classified advertising and constituted about 8% of the Company’s total revenues in fiscal 2015, 9% in 2014, 11% in 2013, 15% in 2012 and 14% in 2011. Classified advertising has continued to decline primarily due to the continued downturn in the employment advertising marketplace and competition from online employment web sites.

 

Public notice advertising consists of many different types of legal notices required by law to be published in an adjudicated newspaper of general circulation, including notices of death, fictitious business names, trustee sale notices and notices of governmental hearings. The major types of public notice advertisers are real estate-related businesses and trustees, governmental agencies, attorneys and businesses or individuals filing fictitious business name statements. Many government agencies use the Company’s Internet-based advertising system to produce and send their notices to the Company. A fictitious business name web site enables individuals to send their statements to the Company for filing and publication and another web site enables attorneys and individuals to send probate, civil, corporate, public sale and other types of public notices to the Company.  California Newspaper Service Bureau (“CNSB”), a division of the Company, is a statewide newspaper representative (commission-earning selling agent) specializing since 1934 in public notice advertising. CNSB places public notices and other forms of advertising with adjudicated newspapers of general circulation, most of which are not owned by the Company.

 

 
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Public notice advertising revenues and related advertising and other service fees, including trustee sales legal advertising revenues, constituted about 22% of the Company's total revenues in fiscal 2015, 24% in 2014, 35% in 2013, 56% in 2012 and 58% in 2011. Most of these revenues were generated by (i) notices published in the Company’s newspapers, (ii) commissions and similar fees received from other publications in which the advertising was placed and (iii) service fees generated when filing notices with government agencies.

 

Trustee sales legal advertising revenues alone represented about 6% of the Company’s total revenues in fiscal 2015, 7% in 2014, 17% in 2013, 56% in 2012 and 58% in 2011. For several years, these revenues were driven by the large number of foreclosures in California and Arizona, for which public notice advertising is required by law, but the number of foreclosures has continued to decline. In addition, in many states, including California and Arizona, legislatures have considered various proposals which would result in the elimination or reduction of the amount of public notice advertising required by statute. There is a risk that such laws could change in a manner that would have a significant adverse impact on the Company's public notice advertising revenues.

 

Other revenues are attributable to service fees from users of an online foreclosure/fictitious business name database, fees from attorneys taking continuing legal education “courses” published in the Company’s publications and other miscellaneous fees.

 

Journal Technologies

 

Journal Technologies provides case management software and related services to courts and other justice agencies. Its operations constituted about 57% of the Company’s total revenues in fiscal 2015, 53% in 2014, 37% in 2013, 9% in 2012 and 9% in 2011 (with the 2011-2012 numbers reflecting Sustain only). Journal Technologies earns revenue from license and maintenance fees paid by customers to use its software products; consulting fees paid by customers for installation, implementation and training services; and fees generated by the use of secure websites through which the general public can pay traffic citations.  Journal Technologies has the following main products:

 

eCourt®, eProsecutor, eDefender and eProbation — browser-based case processing systems that can be used by courts and other justice agencies for all case types because its screens, data elements, business rules, work queues, searches and alerts are highly configurable.  Journal Technologies also supports its prior generation Justice Edition software, which is a Windows-based system that also provides for customizable configurability. 

 

JustWare® — a family of case management software products for use by courts and other justice agencies.  JustWare® provides a standardized case management system that includes business rules to automate tasks, document and report generation, digital signatures and shortcuts to speed data input.  Journal Technologies also licenses its JusticeWeb® public access software, which allows the public to view certain case information, provides a means to create permission-based access for sensitive data, allows pro se litigants and attorneys to e-file documents and includes a way for case participants to make payments online. 

 

ICMS™ — a court case management system, which was acquired as part of the acquisition of the ISD assets. Journal Technologies also licenses CASE™ — an automated probation case management system, including juvenile hall detention management features.

 

 
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 eFile™ — a browser-based interface that allows attorneys and the general public to electronically file documents with the court from a personal computer using the Internet at any time.

 

ePayIt™ — a service for the online payment of traffic citations.  Users can pay traffic citations using the Internet at any time with a credit card, and can obtain traffic school and other information.

 

Almost all of Journal Technologies’ customers are government agencies, and most new software installation and licensing projects are subject to competitive bidding procedures. Accordingly, the ability of Journal Technologies to get new customers is highly unpredictable. In addition, budget constraints, especially during stressful economic times, could force governmental agencies to defer or forgo consulting services or even to stop paying their annual software maintenance fees. As a technology-based company, Journal Technologies’ success depends on the continued improvement of its products, which is why the costs to update and upgrade them consistently constitute such a significant portion of the Company’s expenses.

 

The Company’s revenues from Journal Technologies’ foreign customers were $278,000 in fiscal 2015, $332,000 in fiscal 2014, and $301,000 in fiscal 2013. All of the Company’s other revenues in those years were attributable to the United States.

 

Materials and Postage

 

After personnel costs (included in “Salaries and employee benefits” and in “Outside services” in the accompanying consolidated statements of comprehensive income (loss)), postage and paper costs are typically the Company's next two largest expenses. Paper and postage accounted for approximately 6% of our traditional publishing segment's operating costs in fiscal 2015, 7% in 2014, 7% in 2013, 6% in 2012 and 6% in 2011. Paper prices may fluctuate substantially in the future, and periodic postal rate increases could significantly impact income from operations. Further, we may not be able to pass on such increases to our customers.

 

An adequate supply of newsprint and other paper is important to the Company's operations. The Company currently does not have a contract with any paper supplier. The Company has always been able to obtain sufficient newsprint for its operations, although in the past, shortages of newsprint have sometimes resulted in higher prices. The price of paper remained unchanged during fiscal 2015. We anticipate the price of paper will remain unchanged at least through June 2016.

 

We use the U.S. Postal Service for distribution of a majority of our newspapers.  During the past several years, the Company has instituted changes in an attempt to mitigate higher postage costs. These changes have included contracting for hand delivery in selected sections of the San Francisco Bay area and in Santa Clara, Alameda, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles counties, delivering pre-sorted newspapers to the post office on pallets, which facilitates delivery and improves service, and implementing a method of bundling newspapers which reduces the per piece charges. In addition, the Company has an ink jet labeler which eliminates paper labels and enables the Company to receive bar code discounts from the postal service on some of its newspapers.

 

Postal rates are dependent on the operating efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service and on legislative mandates imposed upon the U.S. Postal Service. During the past several years, the U.S. Postal Service has increased postal rates. There were decreases in the Company’s postage costs during fiscal 2015 primarily due to fewer subscribers.

 

 
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Marketing

 

The Company actively promotes its individual newspapers and its multiple newspaper network as well as its other publications. The Company's staff includes a number of employees whose primary responsibilities include attracting new subscribers and advertisers. The specialization of each publication creates both target subscribers and target advertisers. Subscribers are likely to be attracted because of the nature of the information carried by the particular publication, and likely advertisers are those interested in reaching such consumer groups. In marketing products, the Company also focuses on its ancillary products which can be of service to subscribers, such as its specialized information services.

 

The Company receives, on a non-exclusive basis, public notice advertising from a number of agencies. Such agencies ordinarily receive a commission of 15% to 25% on their sales of advertising in Company publications. Commercial advertising agencies also place advertising in Company publications and receive commissions for advertising sales.

 

Journal Technologies’ staff includes employees who provide marketing and consulting services which may also result in additional consulting projects and the licensing of products. Most of Journal Technologies’ new projects come from existing customers or from a competitive bidding process.

 

Competition

 

Competition for readers and advertisers is very intense, both by established publications and by new entries into the market. The Daily Journals face aggressive competition, including amazingly low prices for multiple copy subscriptions, from law-oriented newspapers in Los Angeles and San Francisco. All of the Company's business publications and products face strong competition from other publications and service companies. Readers of specialized newspapers focus on the amount and quality of general and specialized news, amount and type of advertising, timely delivery and price. The Company designs its newspapers to fill niches in the news marketplace that are not covered as well by major metropolitan dailies. The in-depth news coverage which the Company's newspapers provide along with general news coverage attracts readers who, for personal or professional reasons, desire to keep abreast of topics to which a major newspaper cannot devote significant news space. Other newspapers do provide some of the same subject coverage as does the Company, but the Company believes its coverage, particularly that of The Daily Journals, is more complete and therefore attracts more readers. The Company believes that The Daily Journals are the most important newspapers serving California lawyers on a daily basis.

 

The Company's court rules publications face competition in both the Southern California and Northern California markets from online court rules services and the courts themselves. Subscriptions to the multi-volume Court Rules and Local Rules volumes continued to decline during fiscal 2015. The Company's Judicial Profile services have direct competition and also indirect competition, because some of the same information is available through other sources, including the courts.

 

 
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The steady decline in recent years in the number of subscriptions to The Daily Journals and the Company’s court rule publications is likely to continue and will certainly impact the Company’s future revenues. The pricing of the Company's products is reviewed every year. Subscription price increases have in recent years exceeded inflation, as have advertising rate increases.

 

In attracting commercial advertisers, the Company competes with other newspapers and magazines, television, radio and other media, including electronic and online systems for employment-related classified advertising. Factors which may affect competition for advertisers are the cost for such advertising compared with other media, and the size and characteristics of the readership of the Company's publications.

 

Internet sites devoted to recruitment have become significant competitors of our newspapers and web sites for classified advertising. In addition, there has been a steady consolidation of companies serving the legal marketplace, resulting in an ever-smaller group of companies placing display advertising. Consequently, retaining advertising revenues remains a challenge.

 

The Company competes with anywhere from one serious competitor to many competing newspapers for public notice advertising revenue in all of its markets. Large metropolitan general interest newspapers normally do not carry a significant amount of legal advertising, although recently they too have solicited certain types of public notice advertising. CNSB, the Company’s commission-earning selling agent, faces competition from a number of companies based in California, some of which specialize in placing certain types of notices.

 

There is significant competition among a limited number of companies to provide services and software to the courts and other justice agencies, and some of these companies are much larger and have greater access to capital and other resources than Journal Technologies. Others provide services for a limited number of customers. As part of the competitive bidding process, many customers will express a preference for, or even require, larger vendors.

 

Many customers desire Internet-based solutions to centralize operations, facilitate electronic filing and other interfaces with other justice partners and the public, and publish certain information from case management systems. Journal Technologies’ product lines provide versions of these services, but there are many uncertainties in the process of courts and other agencies migrating to newer Internet-based systems, including whether Journal Technologies’ versions of case management systems will find general acceptance and whether the update, upgrade and modification of such systems can be done in a cost effective manner. The Company competes on a variety of factors, including price, technological capabilities and services to accommodate the individual requirements of each customer.

 

Employees

 

The Company has approximately 320 full-time employees and contractors and about 30 part-time employees and contractors as of September 30, 2015. This includes about 150 full-time employees and contractors and 20 part-time employees and contractors of Journal Technologies. The Company is not a party to any collective bargaining agreements. Certain benefits, including medical insurance, are provided to all full-time employees. Management considers its employee relations to be good.

 

The Company relies heavily on Gerald Salzman, who serves as president, chief executive officer, chief financial officer, treasurer and assistant secretary. If Mr. Salzman’s services were no longer available to the Company, it is unlikely that the Company could find a single replacement to perform all of the duties now handled by him, and it could have a significant adverse effect on the Company’s business. The Company does not carry key man life insurance, nor has it entered into an employment agreement with Mr. Salzman.

 

 
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Working Capital

 

Traditionally, the Company has generated sufficient cash flow from operations to cover all its needs without significant borrowing. To a considerable extent, the Company benefits from the fact that subscriptions and some licenses, maintenance and consulting fees are paid in advance. In addition, the aggregate market value of the securities owned by the Company has increased significantly in recent years (although fiscal 2015 was an exception), providing the Company with even more working capital, subject, of course, to the normal risks associated with owning stocks and bonds. In December 2012, the Company borrowed $14 million from its investment margin account to purchase all of the outstanding stock of New Dawn, and in September 2013, it borrowed another $15.5 million to acquire substantially all of the operating assets and liabilities of ISD, in each case pledging its marketable securities to obtain favorable financing.

 

The Company believes it has sufficient cash and marketable securities for the foreseeable future. If the Company’s overall cash needs exceed cash flow from operations and its current working capital, the Company may still have the ability to borrow against its marketable securities on favorable terms as it did for the New Dawn and ISD acquisitions, or it may attempt to secure additional financing which may or may not be available on acceptable terms.

 

The Company extends unsecured credit to most of its advertising customers. The Company maintains a reserve account for estimated losses resulting from the inability of these customers to make required payments, but if the financial conditions of these customers were to deteriorate or the Company’s judgments about their abilities to pay are incorrect, additional allowances might be required, and the Company’s cash flows and results of operations could be materially affected.

 

Inflation

 

The effects of inflation are not significantly any more or less adverse on the Company's businesses than they are on other publishing and software companies. The Company has experienced the effects of inflation primarily through increases in costs of personnel, newsprint, postage and services. These costs have generally been offset by periodic price increases for advertising and subscription rates, but with frequent exceptions during several years when the Company has experienced substantial increases in postage and newsprint expenses and additional costs related to acquisitions.

 

Access to Our Information

 

We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). These filings are not available on our website, www.dailyjournal.com, which is generally dedicated to the content of our publications. We will, however, provide these filings in electronic or paper format free of charge upon request addressed to our Secretary at our principal executive offices. Our SEC filings are also available to the public over the Internet at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. The public may also read and copy any document we file at the SEC’s public reference room located at 100 F Street N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information on the operation of the public reference room.

 

 
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Item 1A. Risk Factors

 

The foregoing business discussion and the other information included in this Form 10-K should be read in conjunction with the following risks, trends and uncertainties, any of which, either individually or in the aggregate, could materially and adversely affect our business, operating results or financial condition.

 

Risks Associated with The Traditional Business

 

A continuing reduction in the number of residential foreclosures in California and Arizona will result in fewer trustee sale notices being published in the Company’s newspapers.

 

For several years, the revenues of The Traditional Business were driven by the large number of foreclosures in California and Arizona, for which public notice advertising is required by law. The number of foreclosures continued to decline in 2015 and is expected to continue to decline in 2016. Along with improvements in the economy, the California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights imposed new requirements effective January 1, 2013 that have contributed to the slowdown in foreclosures. We expect this trend to continue, and it will significantly impact the earnings of The Traditional Business because it will be impractical for the Company to offset the revenue loss with expense reductions.

 

Changes in the legal requirement to publish public notice advertising or in the legal ability of our newspapers to publish those notices would have a significant adverse impact on The Traditional Business.

 

From time to time, the legislatures in California and Arizona (and elsewhere) have considered various proposals that would result in the elimination or reduction of the amount of public notice advertising in printed newspapers required by statute. These proposals typically focus on the availability of alternative means of providing public notices, such as via the Internet. Some proposals also question the need for public notices at all. Should any of these proposals become law, particularly in California, they would materially affect the revenues of The Traditional Business.

 

In addition, if the adjudication, which is what gives publishers the legal ability to publish public notice advertising, of one or more of the Company’s newspapers was challenged and revoked, those newspapers would no longer be eligible to publish public notice advertising, and it could materially affect the revenues of The Traditional Business.

 

The Traditional Business faces strong competition in each of its markets.

 

Competition for readers and advertisers is very intense, both from established publications and from new entrants into the market. The Daily Journals face aggressive competition, including amazingly low prices for multiple copy subscriptions from law-oriented newspapers in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Company’s court rules publications face competition in both Northern and Southern California from online court rules services and the courts themselves. The steady decline in recent years in the number of subscriptions to The Daily Journals and the court rule publications is likely to continue and will certainly impact The Traditional Business’ future revenues.

 

 
12

 

 

The Traditional Business also competes with anywhere from one serious competitor to many competing newspapers for public notice advertising in all of its markets. As the amount of this advertising has decreased due to the reduction in the number of foreclosures discussed above, the competition to publish the remaining public notices has intensified and may result in a further decline in The Traditional Business’ public notice advertising revenues.

 

The Traditional Business continues to experience challenges in maintaining its commercial advertising and circulation revenues, particularly due to the growth of Internet sites.

 

Internet sites devoted to recruitment have become significant competitors of our newspapers and web sites for classified advertising. In addition, there has been a steady consolidation of companies serving the legal marketplace, resulting in an ever-smaller group of companies placing display advertising. Furthermore, newspapers like ours have been struggling to compete for display advertising generally, given the many other forums (including Internet sites) that compete for advertising dollars. These trends are expected to continue and will adversely affect The Traditional Business.

 

Circulation revenues have continued to decline as more and more information has become available from the internet. Law firm mergers have also reduced the number of firms that purchase multiple subscriptions of our newspapers. It is not practical to assume that we will be able to offset the decline in subscriptions with increases in the subscription rate, and we expect that our circulation revenues will continue to decline.

 

The Traditional Business is exposed to risks associated with fluctuations in postage and paper costs.

 

After personnel costs, postage and paper costs are typically the Company’s next two largest expenses. An adequate supply of newsprint and other paper is important to the operations of The Traditional Business. The Company currently does not have a contract with any paper supplier, and in the past, shortages of newsprint have sometimes resulted in higher prices. The price of paper has remained unchanged since fiscal year 2013, and we expect it to remain unchanged at least through June 2016.

 

The Traditional Business uses the U.S. Postal Service for distribution of a majority of its newspapers and magazine. Postal rates are dependent on the operating efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service and on legislative mandates imposed upon the U.S. Postal Service. During the past several years, postal rates have increased. Postal rates and fees may increase more in the future. Further, we may not be able to pass on increases in paper and postage costs to our customers.

 

Risks Associated with Journal Technologies

 

The success of Journal Technologies depends in large part on the technological update and upgrade of its software products.

 

Journal Technologies’ success depends on the continued improvement of its products, and the costs to update and upgrade those products consistently represent a large portion of Journal Technologies’ expenses. There are many uncertainties in the process of courts and other justice agencies migrating to newer case management systems, including whether Journal Technologies’ versions of these systems will find general acceptance and whether the modification of such systems can be done in a cost effective manner. The costs to update and upgrade Journal Technologies’ products are expensed as incurred and will impact earnings at least through the foreseeable future.

 

 
13

 

 

Journal Technologies faces significant competition from other case management software vendors.

 

There is significant competition among a limited number of companies to provide services and software to courts and other justice agencies, and some of these companies are much larger and have greater access to capital and other resources than Journal Technologies. Normally, the vendor is selected through a bidding process, and often the customers will express a preference for, or even require, larger vendors. An inability to successfully compete in this difficult market could materially affect the earnings of Journal Technologies.

 

The customers of Journal Technologies are public sector entities, which create special issues and risks.

 

Substantially all of the customers of Journal Technologies are courts, justice agencies, and other government entities. Accordingly, we face special risks associated with governmental budget constraints, especially during stressful economic times, which could force government entities to defer or forego consulting services or even stop paying their annual software license and maintenance fees. In addition, we encounter risks related to a longer and more complicated sales cycle than exists for commercial customers; political issues related to resource allocation, administration turnover and preferences for internal case management solutions or for a particular vendor; complicated bidding procedures; and fluctuations in the demand for information technology products and services.

 

Journal Technologies generally recognizes revenues for software installations only upon completion of the applicable services and customer acceptance of the software system.

 

In most cases, the fees paid to Journal Technologies for installation services and software licenses are at risk until the customer has indicated its satisfaction with the installed system and it has “gone live”. Also, we utilize the completed contract method of accounting because the customer’s acceptance is typically unpredictable and reliable estimates of the progress towards completion cannot be made. Accordingly, we do not recognize revenues for installation services or licenses or for most other consulting services until after the services have been performed, and there are significant risks associated with our ability to complete our services to the satisfaction of our customers and to fulfill the requirements that entitle us to be paid. An inability to realize payment for services performed could materially affect the earnings of Journal Technologies.

 

Risks Associated with Our Holdings of Marketable Securities

 

A large portion of the Company’s assets is held in publicly traded securities, and the prices of those securities may decline.

 

As of September 30, 2015, the Company held marketable securities worth approximately $166,041,000, with an unrealized gain for financial statement purposes of $111,498,000. While this portfolio has enabled the Company to borrow on very favorable terms for the New Dawn and ISD acquisitions and to better compete for case management software opportunities that are usually limited to “large” firms, it is unusual for a public company to invest a significant amount of its available cash in the marketable securities of other public companies. The value of these securities could decline, which would adversely affect shareholders’ equity.

 

 
14

 

 

Also, as of September 30, 2015, the Company’s holdings of marketable securities were concentrated in just seven companies and included two based in foreign currencies. Accordingly, a significant decline in the market value and unfavorable changes in the foreign exchange rates of one or more of the Company’s holdings may not be offset by hypothetically better performance of other holdings. This concentration of risk may result in a more pronounced effect on shareholders’ equity.

 

In certain circumstances, the Company may be required to recognize losses in a particular security for financial statement purposes even though the Company has not actually sold the security.

 

Even if the Company’s marketable securities as a whole perform extraordinarily well, for accounting reasons, an “other than temporary impairment” in a particular security may result in the need to recognize a loss with respect to that security in the Company’s income statement in a particular period. This has happened this fiscal year and in the other two previous fiscal years prior to last year, and it may happen again in the future with respect to the same securities or other securities owned by the Company. This requirement to recognize a loss could have a material effect on the Company’s earnings in a particular period. Also, at times, the Company may hold marketable securities denominated in currencies other than the United States Dollar. When it does, the Company may be at risk for significant fluctuations in the applicable foreign currency exchange rates, which would affect the profitability of such marketable securities.

 

General Corporate Risks

 

The Company relies heavily on the services of Gerald Salzman.

 

Gerald Salzman, 76, serves as the Company’s president, chief executive officer, chief financial officer, treasurer and assistant secretary. He is also the president, chief executive officer, chief financial officer and secretary of Journal Technologies. If Mr. Salzman’s services were no longer available to the Company, it is unlikely that the Company could find a single replacement to perform all of the duties now handled by him, and it could have a significant adverse effect on the Company’s business. The Company does not carry key man life insurance, nor has it entered into an employment agreement with Mr. Salzman.

 

Changes in accounting guidance could have a significant effect on the Company’s reported financial results.

 

Preparing consolidated financial statements requires the Company’s management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amount of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. These estimates and assumptions are affected by management’s application of accounting policies and the prevailing accounting guidance. The Company considers fair value measurement and disclosures, revenue recognition, accounting for software costs, accounting for business combinations, testing for goodwill and intangible impairments and income taxes to be critical accounting policies and estimates. A change in the accounting guidance with respect to one or more of these areas could materially affect the Company’s reported financial results.

 

 
15

 

 

We cannot be sure that customer information and systems are fully protected against security breaches. 

 

Journal Technologies’ software processes and stores customer information in the conduct of its business, including in some cases by utilizing a cloud-based system supplied by a third-party vendor.  Despite our efforts to maintain up-to-date security controls, it is possible that our system could be improperly used to access or misappropriate customer systems or information, including personally identifiable or other confidential information.  A material security breach of this nature could harm our reputation, cause us to lose current and potential customers, require us to allocate more resources to information security, or subject us or our customers to liability, resulting in increased costs, loss of revenue, or both.  The Traditional Business also operates certain websites that process and, in certain cases, store customer information.  A minor security breach was discovered on a website operated by The Traditional Business in early fiscal 2015, and although it was remediated, there can be no assurance that there will not be more material breaches in the future.  Also, our insurance may not cover all of the costs that we may incur as a result of a material security breach.    

 

The Company has identified certain material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting.

 

The Company has identified certain material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting. The Company’s internal control over financial reporting has been designed to provide management and the Board of Directors with reasonable assurance regarding the preparation and fair presentation of the Company’s consolidated financial statements. As a small company, we have eight experienced employees in the accounting department and three in the IT department. Accordingly, we are not able to segregate duties to the extent we could if we had more people, and we have not sufficiently designed and documented controls that support an effective assessment of our internal controls relating to the prevention of fraud and possible management override of controls. Further, the Company does not have sufficient technical expertise in assessing and applying accounting standards to complex and/or non-routine transactions, reviewing the quarterly and annual tax analysis and provision, and assessing the adequacy of disclosures in the quarterly and annual consolidated financial statements.

 

We believe that our overall internal control environment is sufficient for a company of our size. However, the existence of material weaknesses means that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. This may result in legal, operational, financial and regulatory issues. For more information regarding the material weaknesses, the mitigating controls used by the Company and certain remedial steps being taken or considered, please see Part II. Item 9A Controls and Procedures.

 

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

 

None. 

 

 
16

 

 

Item 2. Properties

 

The Company owns office and printing facilities in Los Angeles and office space in Logan, Utah and leases space for its other offices under operating leases which expire at various dates through 2020.

 

The main Los Angeles property is comprised of a two-story, 34,000 square foot building constructed in 1990, which is fully occupied by the Company. Approximately 75% of the building is devoted to office space and the remainder to printing and production equipment and facilities. In 2003, the Company finished building an adjacent 37,000 square foot building and parking facilities on properties it acquired in 1996 and 1998. This building provides additional office, production and storage space. The Company and Journal Technologies occupy this building’s first floor and will complete the build-out of the second floor as needed.

 

In November 2015, the Company purchased a 30,700 square foot office building constructed in 1998 on about 3.6 acres in Logan, Utah that had been previously leased for Journal Technologies.

 

The Company leases approximately 6,200 square feet of office space (expiring in October 2019) in San Francisco. Journal Technologies leases about 7,100 square feet of office space (expiring in March 2017) in Corona, California. In addition, the Company rents facilities in each of the remaining cities where its staff is located on a month-to-month basis or pursuant to leases generally of no longer than three years’ duration. The Company believes that it has adequate office space.

 

See Note 4 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for information concerning rents payable under leases.

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

 

From time to time, the Company is subject to litigation arising in the normal course of its business. While it is not possible to predict the results of such litigation, management does not believe the ultimate outcome of these types of matters will have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial position or results of operations or cash flows.

 

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

 

Not applicable.

 

 
17

 

 

Part II

 

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

The following table sets forth the sales prices of the Company’s common stock for the periods indicated. Quotations are as reported by the NASDAQ Capital Market.

 

   

High

   

Low

 

Fiscal 2015

               

Quarter ended December 31, 2014

  $ 280.51     $ 173.97  

Quarter ended March 31, 2015

    253.25       168.90  

Quarter ended June 30, 2015

    222.50       183.61  

Quarter ended September 30, 2015

    224.17       183.67  
                 

Fiscal 2014

               

Quarter ended December 31, 2013

  $ 191.85     $ 134.06  

Quarter ended March 31, 2014

    194.87       154.12  

Quarter ended June 30, 2014

    219.68       161.17  

Quarter ended September 30, 2014

    210.00       168.07  

 

 

As of December 2, 2015, there were approximately 540 holders of record of the Company’s common stock, and the last trade was at $212.54 per share.

 

The Company did not declare or pay any dividends during fiscal 2015, 2014 or 2013. A determination by the Company whether or not to pay dividends in the future will depend on numerous factors, including the Company’s earnings, cash flow, financial condition, capital requirements, future prospects, acquisition opportunities, and other relevant factors. The Board of Directors does not expect that the Company will pay any dividends or other distributions to shareholders in the foreseeable future.

 

The Company does not have any equity compensation plans, and it did not sell any securities, whether or not registered under the Securities Act of 1933, during the past three fiscal years.

 

From time to time, the Company has repurchased shares of its common stock and may continue to do so. The Company maintains a common stock repurchase program that was implemented in 1987 in combination with the Company’s Management Incentive Plan. See Note 2 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for more information. The Company’s stock repurchase program remains in effect, but the Company did not repurchase any shares during fiscal 2015 or 2014.

 

 
18

 

 

The following graph shows a five-year comparison of cumulative total return on the Company’s common stock, Standard & Poor’s 500 Composite Index, Standard & Poor’s Publishing MidCap Index and Standard & Poor’s Software & Services Select Industry Index, assuming $100 was invested on September 30, 2010, and all dividends were reinvested. The Company has not declared a dividend in any of the fiscal years shown.

 

Daily Journal Corporation

Total Cumulative Shareholder Return for Five Years Ended September 30, 2015

 

 
 
19

 

 

Item 6. Selected Financial Data

 

The following sets forth selected financial data for the Company as of, and for each of the five years ended September 30, 2015. Such data should be read in conjunction with, and is qualified in its entirety by reference to, the Company’s consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” each included herein.

 

   

Fiscal Year Ended September 30

 
   

2015

   

2014

   

2013

   

2012

   

2011

 
   

(Dollar amounts in thousands,

except share and per share amounts)

 

Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income (Loss):

                                 

Revenues

                                       

Advertising, net

  $ 10,502     $ 11,435     $ 14,472     $ 19,221     $ 21,337  

Circulation

    5,915       6,038       6,346       6,530       6,767  

Advertising service fees and other

    2,703       2,800       3,012       3,205       3,428  

Licensing and maintenance fees

    13,984       12,987       9,942       2,205       2,167  

Consulting fees

    4,704       4,002       3,406       713       814  

Other public service fees

    6,170       6,161       498       ---       ---  
      43,978       43,423       37,676       31,874       34,513  

Costs and expenses

                                       

Salaries and employee benefits

    26,010       25,262       19,236       13,592       13,473  

Outside services

    3,524       3,212       3,086       2,956       3,168  

Postage and delivery costs

    1,318       1,281       1,328       1,375       1,437  

Newsprint and printing expenses

    1,225       1,221       1,307       1,321       1,382  

Depreciation and amortization

    5,531       5,516       2,441       503       535  

Other general and administrative expenses

    9,882       9,121       6,489       3,445       3,716  
      47,490       45,613       33,887       23,192       23,711  

(Loss) income from operations

    (3,512 )     (2,190 )     3,789       8,682       10,802  

Other income and expenses

                                       

Dividends and interest income

    3,829       3,001       2,541       1,967       1,233  

Other income

    65       97       54       ---       ---  

Interest expenses on margin loans

    (224 )     (230 )     (97 )     ---       ---  

Interest and penalty (expense) expense reversal accrued for uncertain and unrecognized tax benefits

    (96 )     (537 )     ---       100       (36 )

Gains on sales of capital assets

    4       ---       1       7       1  

Other-than temporary impairment losses on investment

    (376 )     ---       (1,719 )     (2,855 )     ---  

Income (loss) before taxes

    (310 )     141       4,569       7,901       12,000  

Benefit from (provision for) income taxes

    1,120       490       (790 )     (2,360 )     (4,160 )

Net income

  $ 810     $ 631     $ 3,779     $ 5,541     $ 7,840  

Weighted average number of common shares outstanding – basic and diluted

    1,380,746       1,380,746       1,380,746       1,380,746       1,380,746  

Basic and diluted net income per share

  $ 0.59     $ 0.46     $ 2.74     $ 4.01     $ 5.68  
                                         
Comprehensive                                        

Net income

  $ 810     $ 631     $ 3,779     $ 5,541     $ 7,840  

Net change in unrealized appreciation of investments (net of taxes)

    (8,811 )     22,393       21,292       15,085       (3,627 )

Reclassification adjustment of other-than-temporary impairment losses recognized in net income

    230       ---       1,051       1,720       ---  

Net change in comprehensive income (loss)

  $ (7,771 )   $ 23,024     $ 26,122     $ 22,346     $ 4,213  

 

 

   

September 30

 
   

2015

   

2014

   

2013

   

2012

   

2011

 

Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:

                                       

Total assets

  $ 228,196     $ 243,877     $ 203,063     $ 120,964     $ 90,816  

Shareholders’ equity

    128,600       136,371       113,347       87,225       64,879  

 

 

 
20

 

 

Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

Results of Operations

 

The Company continues to operate as two different businesses: (1) The Traditional Business, being the business of newspaper publishing and related services that the Company had before 1999 when it purchased a majority interest in Sustain, and (2) Journal Technologies, Inc. (“Journal Technologies”), a wholly-owned subsidiary, which includes as of October 1, 2014, the combined operations of Sustain Technologies, Inc. (“Sustain”), a wholly-owned subsidiary since 2008; New Dawn Technologies, Inc. (“New Dawn”), acquired in December 2012; and ISD Technologies, Inc. (“ISD”), acquired in September 2013. Journal Technologies supplies case management software systems and related products to courts, prosecutor and public defender offices, probation departments and other justice agencies, including administrative law organizations, city and county governments and bar associations. These organizations use the Journal Technologies family of products to help manage cases and information electronically, to interface with other critical justice partners and to extend electronic services to bar members and the public, including a website to pay traffic citations online. These products are licensed to more than 500 organizations in 41 states and internationally.

 

Fiscal 2015 compared to fiscal 2014

 

 

Overall Results

 

During fiscal 2015, consolidated pretax loss was $310,000 as compared to a profit of $141,000 in the prior year. The Traditional Business segment’s pretax income decreased by $2,037,000 (65%) to $1,082,000 from $3,119,000, primarily resulting from decreases in trustee sale notice and related service fee revenues of $881,000, commercial advertising revenues of $237,000 and circulation revenues of $123,000, and increased expenses of $884,000 primarily for increased personnel costs and legal, accounting and tax fees. Journal Technologies’ business segment pretax loss decreased by $1,156,000 (20%) to $4,690,000 from $5,846,000 primarily resulting from increased licensing and maintenance fees and consulting fees of $1,699,000 (10%), partially offset by increased personnel costs of $524,000. The Company’s non-operating income, net of expenses, increased by $430,000 (15%) to $3,298,000 primarily because of additional dividends and interest income from the Company’s marketable securities. There were pretax other than temporary impairment losses on investments of $376,000 in fiscal 2015 and none in fiscal 2014.

 

 
21

 

 

Additional detail about each of the Company’s reportable segments, and its corporate income and expenses, is set forth below:

 

Overall Financial Results (000)

For the twelve months ended September 30

 

   

Reportable Segments

                                 
   

Traditional

Business

   

Journal

Technologies

   

Corporate

income and expenses

   

Total

 
   

2015

   

2014

   

2015

   

2014

   

2015

   

2014

   

2015

   

2014

 

Revenues

                                                               

Advertising

  $ 10,502     $ 11,435     $ ---     $ ---     $ ---     $ ---     $ 10,502     $ 11,435  

Circulation

    5,915       6,038       ---       ---       ---       ---       5,915       6,038  

Advertising service fees and other

    2,703       2,800       ---       ---       ---       ---       2,703       2,800  

Licensing and maintenance fees

    ---       ---       13,984       12,987       ---       ---       13,984       12,987  

Consulting fees

    ---       ---       4,704       4,002       ---       ---       4,704       4,002  

Other public service fees

    ---       ---       6,170       6,161       ---       ---       6,170       6,161  

Total revenues

    19,120       20,273       24,858       23,150       ---       ---       43,978       43,423  

Expenses

                                                               

Salaries and employee benefits

    9,750       9,526       16,260       15,736       ---       ---       26,010       25,262  

Amortization of intangible assets

    12       ---       4,895       4,866       ---       ---       4,907       4,866  

Others

    8,276       7,628       8,297       7,857       ---       ---       16,573       15,485  

Total operating expenses

    18,038       17,154       29,452       28,459       ---       ---       47,490       45,613  

Income (loss) from operations

    1,082       3,119       (4,594 )     (5,309 )     ---       ---       (3,512 )     (2,190 )
                                                                 

Other income (net), primarily dividends and interest income

    ---       ---       ---       ---       3,674       2,868       3,674       2,868  

Other-than-temporary impairment Losses on investments

    ---       ---       ---       ---       (376 )     ---       (376 )     ---  

Interest and penalty expenses accrued for uncertain and unrecognized tax benefits

    ---       ---       (96 )     (537 )     ---       ---       (96 )     (537 )

Pretax income (loss)

  $ 1,082     $ 3,119     $ (4,690 )   $ (5,846 )   $ 3,298     $ 2,868     $ (310 )   $ 141  

 

At September 30, 2015, the aggregate fair market value of the Company’s marketable securities was $166,041,000. These securities had approximately $111,498,000 of unrealized gains before taxes of $43,278,000 and generated approximately $3,829,000 in dividends and interest income during the year, which lowers the Company’s effective income tax rate because of the dividends received deduction.

 

Consolidated revenues were $43,978,000 and $43,423,000 for fiscal 2015 and 2014, respectively. This increase of $555,000 (1%) was primarily from additional Journal Technologies licensing and maintenance and consulting revenues of $1,699,000, partially offset by the reduction in The Traditional Business’s trustee sale notice and related service fee revenues of $881,000, commercial advertising revenues of $237,000 and circulation revenues of $123,000. The Company’s revenues derived from Journal Technologies’ operations constituted about 57% and 53% of the Company’s total revenues for fiscal 2015 and 2014, respectively.

 

Consolidated operating costs and expenses increased by $1,877,000 (4%) to $47,490,000 from $45,613,000, primarily resulting from additional expenses for Journal Technologies. Total personnel costs increased by $748,000 (3%) to $26,010,000 from $25,262,000 including additional personnel costs for Journal Technologies of $524,000. Other general and administrative expenses increased by $761 (8%) to $9,882 from $9,121 mainly because of increased travel for installation services and selling expenses.

 

 
22

 

  

There was net income per share of $0.59 for fiscal 2015 as compared with $0.46 per share in the prior year.

 

The Traditional Business

 

The Traditional Business segment advertising revenues, which declined by $933,000 (8%) to $10,502,000 from $11,435,000, are very much dependent on the number of California and Arizona foreclosures for which public notice advertising is required by law. The number of foreclosure notices published by the Company decreased by 21% during fiscal 2015 as compared to the prior year and accounted for almost all of the decline in revenues. Because this slowing is expected to continue, there will be fewer foreclosure notice advertisements and declining revenues in fiscal 2016, and the Company’s print-based earnings will also likely decline significantly because it will be impractical for the Company to offset all revenue loss by expense reduction. The Company's smaller newspapers, those other than the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals ("The Daily Journals"), accounted for about 92% of the total public notice advertising revenues in fiscal 2015. Public notice advertising revenues and related advertising and other service fees constituted about 22% and 24% of the Company's total revenues for fiscal 2015 and 2014, respectively. Because of this concentration, the Company’s revenues would be significantly affected if California (and to a lesser extent Arizona) eliminated the legal requirement to publish public notices in adjudicated newspapers of general circulation, as has been proposed from time to time. Also, if the adjudication of one or more of the Company’s newspapers was challenged and revoked, those newspapers would no longer be eligible to publish public notice advertising, and it could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s revenues. Commercial advertising revenues decreased by $237,000 (6%) to $3,611,000 from $3,848,000 because of the continuing challenges in the commercial advertising business.

 

The Daily Journals accounted for about 87% of the Company's total circulation revenues, which declined by $123,000 (2%) to $5,915,000 from $6,038,000. The court rule and judicial profile services generated about 10% of the total circulation revenues, with the other newspapers and services accounting for the balance. Advertising service fees and other are Traditional Business segment revenues, which include primarily (i) agency commissions received from outside newspapers in which the advertising is placed and (ii) fees generated when filing notices with government agencies.

 

The Traditional Business segment operating expenses increased by $884,000 (5%) to $18,038,000 from $17,154,000 primarily due to increased personnel costs of $224,000 and additional legal, accounting and tax fees of $387,000.

 

Journal Technologies

 

Journal Technologies’ revenues increased by $1,708,000 (7%) to $24,858,000 from $23,150,000 in the prior year. Licensing and maintenance fees increased by $997,000 (8%) to $13,984,000 from $12,987,000. Consulting fees increased by $702,000 (18%) to $4,704,000 from $4,002,000. In most cases, revenues from new installation projects will only be recognized, if at all, upon completion and acceptance of the services by the various customers. Deferred revenues on installation contracts primarily represent the fair value of advances from customers of Journal Technologies for software licenses and installation services. After a customer’s acceptance of the completed project, the advances are generally no longer at risk of refund and are therefore considered earned. Deferred revenues on license and maintenance contracts represent prepayments of annual license and maintenance fees and are recognized ratably over the maintenance period.

 

 
23

 

 

Journal Technologies’ operating expenses, which included the amortization of intangible assets of $4,895,000 and $4,866,000 in fiscal 2015 and 2014, respectively, increased by $993,000 (3%) to $29,452,000 from $28,459,000 primarily due to increased personnel costs of $524,000 and travel expenses of $576,000. Identifiable intangible assets, including customer relationships and developed technology, are being amortized on a straight-line basis over five years due to the short life cycle of technology that customer relationships depend on and over 15 years for tax purposes. Goodwill, which is not amortized for financial statement purposes, is amortized over a 15-year period for tax purposes. Goodwill represents the expected synergies in expanding the Company’s software business. Goodwill is evaluated for impairment annually, or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the value may not be recoverable. Considered factors for potential goodwill impairment evaluation include the current year’s business profitability before intangible amortization, fluctuations of revenues, changes in the market place, the status of installation contracts and new business, among other things. The Company is continuing to update and upgrade its software products. These costs are expensed as incurred and will impact earnings at least through the foreseeable future.

 

Taxes

 

The Company recorded an income tax benefit of $1,120,000 on pretax loss of $310,000 in fiscal 2015. The effective tax rate was lower than the statutory rate primarily due to the dividends received deduction, the domestic production activity deduction and a discrete benefit of approximately $400,000 related to the California Enterprise Zone hiring credits which resulted from the Company’s filing amended California tax returns for fiscal 2010 through fiscal 2013.  A benefit of this tax credit was recognized in the fiscal 2014 amended tax return. On pretax income of $141,000 for fiscal 2014, the Company recorded a tax benefit of $490,000. The Company’s effective tax rate was 361% and -348% for fiscal 2015 and 2014, respectively. 

 

At September 30, 2015, the Company had an accrued liability of approximately $2,991,000 for uncertain and unrecognized tax benefits relating to an acquisition in fiscal 2013, after a reduction of $253,000 resulting from the recognition of deferred revenues and from the amortization of goodwill for tax purposes.  The Company does not anticipate a significant increase or decrease in this liability in the next twelve months.  If recognized, it is expected that these unrecognized tax benefits would not have a significant impact on the Company’s effective tax rate.  At September 30, 2014, the Company evaluated a tax position taken on its prior year tax return and determined that the position did not meet the more likely than not criteria because that position taken was in contrary to the one accounted for in purchase accounting. The Company thus accrued a liability of approximately $3,244,000 for uncertain and unrecognized tax benefits at September 30, 2014. There was no such an accrual in fiscal 2013.

 

During fiscal 2015, 2014 and 2013, interest expense of approximately $96,000, $537,000 and $0, respectively, was recorded as “interest and penalty expense accrued for uncertain and unrecognized tax benefits” in the consolidated statements of comprehensive income (loss). The Company files federal income tax returns in the United States and with various state jurisdictions and is no longer subject to examinations for fiscal years before fiscal 2012 with regard to federal income taxes and fiscal 2011 for state income taxes. 

 

 
24

 

 

Fiscal 2014 compared to fiscal 2013

 

During fiscal 2014, consolidated pretax income decreased by $4,428,000 (97%) to $141,000 from $4,569,000 in the prior year. The Traditional Business segment’s pretax income decreased by $4,855,000 (61%) to $3,119,000 from $7,974,000, primarily resulting from a reduction in trustee sale notice and related service fee revenues of $2,825,000 and commercial advertising revenues of $423,000. Dividends and interest income increased by $460,000. There were pretax other than temporary impairment losses on investments of $1,719,000 in fiscal 2013 but none in fiscal 2014. Journal Technologies’ business segment pretax loss increased by $1,611,000 (39%) primarily because of the two acquisitions as further discussed below. (Journal Technologies included 12 months of operations for Sustain, New Dawn and ISD in fiscal 2014, and 12 months for Sustain, less than 10 months for New Dawn and 1 month for ISD in fiscal 2013.)

 

Consolidated revenues were $43,423,000 and $37,676,000 for fiscal 2014 and 2013, respectively. This increase of $5,747,000 (15%) was primarily from the additional Journal Technologies’ revenues of $9,304,000, partially offset by the reduction in trustee sale notice and related service fee revenues of $2,825,000 and commercial advertising revenues of $423,000. The Company’s revenues derived from Journal Technologies’ operations constituted about 53% and 37% of the Company’s total revenues for fiscal 2014 and 2013, respectively.

 

Consolidated operating costs and expenses increased by $11,726,000 (35%) to $45,613,000 from $33,887,000, primarily for Journal Technologies. Total personnel costs increased by $6,026,000 (31%) to $25,262,000 from $19,236,000 including additional personnel costs for Journal Technologies of $4,645,000 and a reduced decrease of $1,740,000 in the expenses related to the Company’s Management Incentive Plan (“Incentive Plan”). The reduced decrease in Incentive Plan expense consisted of a reduction of $840,000 in the long-term Incentive Plan accrual during fiscal 2014 due to reduced estimated current and future consolidated pretax income before this accrual versus a reduction of $2,580,000 in the prior comparable year. This reduction occurred because the Incentive Plan is based primarily on the pretax income of the Company before adjustment for certain items. Depreciation and amortization costs increased by $3,075,000 (126%) to $5,516,000 mainly resulting from the additional amortization of Journal Technologies’ intangible costs of $3,001,000. Other general and administrative expenses also increased by $2,632,000 (41%) primarily resulting from additional rent, sales and marketing expenses for Journal Technologies and increased professional fees, including those associated with the acquisitions of New Dawn and ISD described below and the fiscal 2013 audit.

 

The Traditional Business segment advertising revenues declined by $3,037,000 (21%) to $11,435,000 from $14,472,000. The number of foreclosure notices published by the Company decreased by 51% during fiscal 2014 as compared to fiscal 2013. The Company's smaller newspapers, those other than the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals ("The Daily Journals"), accounted for about 96% of the total public notice advertising revenues in fiscal 2014. Public notice advertising revenues and related advertising and other service fees constituted about 24% of the Company's total revenues in fiscal 2014. Commercial advertising revenues declined by $423,000 (10%) to $3,848,000 from $4,271,000.

 

The Daily Journals accounted for about 86% of the Company's total circulation revenues, which declined by $308,000 (5%) to $6,038,000 from $6,346,000. The court rule and judicial profile services generated about 11% of the total circulation revenues, with the other newspapers and services accounting for the balance.

 

 
25

 

 

The Traditional Business segment operating costs and expenses increased by $1,298,000 (8%) to $17,154,000 from $15,856,000 primarily due to annual salary adjustments and a reduced decrease of $1,740,000 in expenses related to the Incentive Plan.

 

Journal Technologies’ revenues increased by $9,304,000 (67%) to $23,150,000 from $13,846,000 in the prior year, primarily due to the acquisitions of New Dawn and ISD. Licensing and maintenance fees increased by $3,045,000 (31%) to $12,987,000 from $9,942,000. Consulting fees increased by $596,000 (17%) to $4,002,000 from $3,406,000. Other public service fees increased by $5,663,000 from $498,000 (1 month only as ISD was acquired in September 2013 and accounts for most of these fees) to $6,161,000.

 

Journal Technologies’ operating expenses increased by $10,428,000 (58%) to $28,459,000 from $18,031,000 in the prior year primarily due to the two acquisitions, and included an increase in the amortization costs of $3,001,000.

 

The Company recorded an income tax benefit of $490,000 on pretax income of $141,000 in fiscal 2014.  The income tax benefit was higher than the amount computed using the statutory rate because of the dividends received deduction and the domestic production activity deduction. On pretax income of $4,569,000 for fiscal 2013, the Company recorded a tax provision of $790,000 which was lower than the amount computed using the statutory rate primarily because of the dividends received deduction and the domestic production activity deduction. The Company’s effective tax rate was -348% and 17% for fiscal 2014 and 2013, respectively. 

 

At September 30, 2014, the Company accrued a liability of approximately $3,244,000 for uncertain and unrecognized tax benefits relating to an acquisition in fiscal 2013.  This was a result of the Company’s evaluation of the tax position taken in its prior year tax return resulting in the conclusion that the tax position did not meet more likely than not criteria. The prior year’s income tax return which was filed in July 2014 reflected an income tax position contrary to the one accounted for in purchase accounting in fiscal 2013. Interest and penalties of approximately $537,000 were recorded as “interest and penalty expense accrued for uncertain and unrecognized tax benefits” in the statement of comprehensive income.

 

At September 30, 2013 and 2012, there were no unrecognized tax benefits for the uncertain tax positions as the Company settled the previously claimed research and development credits in its tax returns for the fiscal 2002 to 2007 years with the Internal Revenue Service in March 2012.   

 

Net income per share decreased to $0.46 from $2.74.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

 

 
26

 

 

 

     Comprehensive income (loss) includes net income and unrealized net (losses) gains on investments, net of taxes, as summarized below:

 

Comprehensive (Loss) Income

 
   

Fiscal Year Ended September 30

 
                         
   

2015

   

2014

   

2013

 
                         

Net income

  $ 810,000     $ 631,000     $ 3,779,000  

Net (decrease) increase in unrealized appreciation of investments (net of taxes)

    (8,811,000 )     22,393,000       21,292,000  

Reclassification adjustment of other-than-temporary impairment losses recognized in net income (net of taxes)

    230,000       ---       1,051,000  
    $ (7,771,000 )   $ 23,024,000     $ 26,122,000  

 

 
27

 

 

                                     The Company’s Traditional Business is one reportable segment and the other is Journal Technologies. Additional detail about each of the reportable segments is set forth below:

 

Reportable Segments

 

   

Reportable Segments

                 
   

Traditional

Business

   

Journal

Technologies

   

Corporate income

and expenses

   

Total

 

Fiscal 2015

                               

Revenues

                               

Advertising, net

  $ 10,502,000     $ ---     $ ---     $ 10,502,000  

Circulation

    5,915,000       ---       ---       5,915,000  

Advertising service fees and other

    2,703,000       ---       ---       2,703,000  

Licensing and maintenance fees

    ---       13,984,000       ---       13,984,000  

Consulting fees

    ---       4,704,000       ---       4,704,000  

Other public service fees

    ---       6,170,000       ---       6,170,000  

Operating expenses

    18,038,000       29,452,000       ---       47,490,000  

Income (loss) from operations

    1,082,000       (4,594,000 )     ---       (3,512,000 )

Dividends and interest income

    ---       ---       3,829,000       3,829,000  

Other income and capital gains

    ---       ---       69,000       69,000  

Interest expense on margin loans

    ---       ---       (224,000 )     (224,000 )

Interest expense accrued for uncertain and unrecognized tax benefits

    ---       (96,000 )     ---       (96,000 )

Other-than-temporary impairment losses on investments

    ---       ---       (376,000 )     (376,000 )

Pretax income (loss)

    1,082,000       (4,690,000 )     3,298,000       (310,000 )

Income tax benefit (expense)

    (70,000 )     1,580,000       (390,000 )     1,120,000  

Net income (loss)

    1,012,000       (3,110,000 )     2,908,000       810,000  

Total assets

    15,047,000       47,108,000       166,041,000       228,196,000  

Capital expenditures

    425,000       140,000       ---       565,000  

Amortization of intangible assets

    12,000       4,895,000       ---       4,907,000  

 

   

Reportable Segments

                 
   

Traditional

Business

   

Journal

Technologies

   

Corporate income

and expenses

   

Total

 

Fiscal 2014

                               

Revenues

                               

Advertising, net

  $ 11,435,000     $ ---     $ ---     $ 11,435,000  

Circulation

    6,038,000       ---       ---       6,038,000  

Advertising service fees and other

    2,800,000       ---       ---       2,800,000  

Licensing and maintenance fees

    ---       12,987,000       ---       12,987,000  

Consulting fees

    ---       4,002,000       ---       4,002,000  

Other public service fees

    ---       6,161,000       ---       6,161,000  

Operating expenses

    17,154,000       28,459,000       ---       45,613,000  

Income (loss) from operations

    3,119,000       (5,309,000 )     ---       (2,190,000 )

Dividends and interest income

    ---       ---       3,001,000       3,001,000  

Other income and capital gains

    ---       ---       97,000       97,000  

Interest expenses

    ---       ---       (230,000 )     (230,000 )

Interest expense accrued for uncertain and unrecognized tax benefits

    ---       (537,000 )     ---       (537,000 )

Pretax income (loss)

    3,119,000       (5,846,000 )     2,868,000       141,000  

Income tax benefit (expense)

    (1,460,000 )     2,350,000       (400,000 )     490,000  

Net income (loss)

    1,659,000       (3,496,000 )     2,468,000       631,000  

Total assets

    18,228,000       51,973,000       173,676,000       243,877,000  

Capital expenditures

    110,000       325,000       ---       435,000  

Amortization of intangible assets

    ---       4,866,000       ---       4,866,000  

 

 

 
28

 

 

   

Reportable Segments

                 
   

Traditional

Business

   

Journal

Technologies*

   

Corporate income

and expenses

   

Total

 

Fiscal 2013*

                               

Revenues

                               

Advertising, net

  $ 14,472,000     $ ---     $ ---     $ 14,472,000  

Circulation

    6,346,000       ---       ---       6,346,000  

Advertising service fees and other

    3,012,000       ---       ---       3,012,000  

Licensing and maintenance fees

    ---       9,942,000       ---       9,942,000  

Consulting fees

    ---       3,406,000       ---       3,406,000  

Other public service fees

    ---       498,000       ---       498,000  

Operating expenses

    15,856,000       18,031,000       ---       33,887,000  

Income (loss) from operations

    7,974,000       (4,185,000 )     ---       3,789,000  

Dividends and interest income

    ---       ---       2,541,000       2,541,000  

Other income and capital gains

    ---       ---       55,000       54,000  

Interest expenses

    ---       ---       (97,000 )     (97,000 )

Other-than-temporary impairment losses on investments

    ---       ---       (1,719,000 )     (1,719,000 )

Pretax income (loss)

    7,974,000       (4,185,000 )     780,000       4,569,000  

Income tax benefit (expense)

    (3,301,000 )     2,263,000       248,000       (790,000 )

Net income (loss)

    4,673,000       (1,922,000 )     1,028,000       3,779,000  

Total assets

    18,458,000       47,611,000       136,994,000       203,063,000  

Capital expenditures

    96,000       184,000       ---       280,000  

Amortization of intangible assets

    ---       1,865,000       ---       1,865,000  

 

 

*

Includes (i) New Dawn’s financial results from December 5, 2012 through September 30, 2013 with revenues of $10,403,000 and expenses of $10,625,000 (including intangible amortization expenses of $1,587,000), and (ii) ISD’s September 2013 financial results with revenues of $784,000 and expenses of $694,000 (including intangible amortization expenses of $278,000).

 

 
29

 

 

Disclosure of Contractual Obligations

 

The following table sets forth certain contractual obligations as of September 30, 2015:

 

    Contractual Obligations (000)  
   

Less than

1 year

   

1-3 years

   

3-5 years

   

More than

5 years

   

Total

 

Obligations under operating leases

  $ 629     $ 779     $ 319     $ ---     $ 1,727  

Long-term accrued liabilities *

    ---       15       ---       32       47  
    $ 629     $ 794     $ 319     $ 32     $ 1,774  

 

* The long-term accrued liabilities are discounted to the present value using a discount rate of 6%.

 

In addition, during fiscal 2013 the Company borrowed $29,493,000 from its investment margin account for the acquisitions of New Dawn and ISD. These investment margin account borrowings do not mature. The interest rate for these investment margin account borrowings fluctuates based on the Federal Funds Rate plus 50 basis points with interest only payable monthly. The interest rate as of September 30, 2015 was 0.75%, and there has been no fluctuation in the interest rate since December 2012. The Company also accrued a liability of approximately $2,991,000 for uncertain and unrecognized tax benefits relating to one of the acquisitions in fiscal 2013.

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

During fiscal 2015, the Company's cash and cash equivalents and marketable security positions decreased by $7,428,000 to $181,658,000. After selling marketable securities for $4,044,000 and realizing a pretax gain of approximately $4,000, cash and cash equivalents were used primarily for the purchase of other marketable securities of $10,977,000 and capital assets, including computer software and office equipment of about $565,000. The investments in marketable securities, which had an adjusted cost basis of approximately $54,543,000 and had a market value of about $166,041,000 at September 30, 2015, generated approximately $3,829,000 in dividends and interest income, which lowers the Company’s effective income tax rate because of the dividends received deduction. As of September 30, 2015, there were unrealized investment pretax gains of $111,498,000 as compared to $125,700,000 as of September 30, 2014. Most of the unrealized gains were in the common stocks of three U.S. financial institutions.

 

The cash provided by operating activities of $7,755,000 included decreases in deferred installation contracts, deferred maintenance agreements and others and deferred subscriptions of $932,000. Cash flows from operating activities increased by $3,248,000 during fiscal 2015 as compared to the prior year primarily because of decreases in accounts receivable of $5,145,000 resulting from more collections, partially offset by increases in accrued liabilities of $1,015,000.

 

As of September 30, 2015, the Company had working capital of $122,947,000, including the liabilities for deferred subscriptions and deferred installation contracts and deferred maintenance agreements and others of $18,109,000, which are scheduled to be earned within one year, and the deferred tax liability of $43,278,000 for the unrealized gains described above.

 

The Company believes that it will be able to fund its operations for the foreseeable future through its cash flows from operating activities and its current working capital and expects that any such cash flows will be invested in its businesses. The Company may or may not have the ability to borrow against its marketable securities on favorable terms as it did for prior acquisitions. The Company also may entertain additional business acquisition opportunities. Any excess cash flows could be used to reduce the investment margin account liability or invested as management and the Board of Directors deem appropriate at the time.

 

 
30

 

 

Such investments may include additional securities of the companies in which the Company has already invested, securities of other companies, government securities (including U.S. Treasury Notes and Bills) or other instruments. The decision as to particular investments will be driven by the Company’s belief about the risk/reward profile of the various investment choices at the time, and it may utilize government securities as a default if attractive opportunities for a better return are not available. The Company’s Chairman of the Board, Charles Munger, is also the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which maintains a substantial investment portfolio. The Company’s Board of Directors has utilized his judgment and suggestions, as well as those of J.P. Guerin, the Company’s vice chairman, when selecting investments, and both of them will continue to play an important role in monitoring existing investments and selecting any future investments.

 

As of September 30, 2015, the investments were concentrated in just seven companies. Accordingly, a significant decline in the market value of one or more of the Company’s investments may not be offset by the hypothetically better performance of other investments, and that could result in a large decrease in the Company’s shareholders’ equity and, under certain circumstances, in the recognition of impairment losses in the Company’s income statement (such as the other-than-temporary impairment losses of $376,000 recognized during this year, $1,719,000 recognized in fiscal 2013 and $2,855,000 recognized in fiscal 2012).

 

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

 

The Company’s financial statements and accompanying notes are prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. Preparing financial statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. These estimates and assumptions are affected by management’s application of accounting policies. Management believes that revenue recognition, accounting for software costs, fair value measurement and disclosures (including for the long-term Incentive Plan liabilities), accounting for business combinations, testing for goodwill impairment and income taxes are critical accounting policies and estimates.

 

For the Traditional Business, proceeds from the sale of subscriptions for newspapers, court rule books and other publications and other services are recorded as deferred revenue and are included in earned revenue only when the services are provided, generally over the subscription term. Advertising revenues are recognized when advertisements are published and are net of commissions. An allowance for doubtful accounts for receivable is recorded.

 

Journal Technologies recognizes revenues in accordance with the provisions of Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) ASC 985-605, Software—Revenue Recognition and ASC 605-35 Construction-Type and Production-Type Contracts.   Revenues from leases of software products are recognized over the life of the lease while revenues from software product sales are generally recognized upon delivery, installation or acceptance pursuant to a signed agreement. Revenues from annual license and maintenance agreements generally call for the Company to provide software updates and upgrades to customers and are recognized ratably over the maintenance period. Consulting and other services are recognized upon acceptance by the customers under the completed contract method. The Company elects to use the completed contract method because each customer’s acceptance is unpredictable and reliable estimates of the progress towards completion cannot be made. Only after a customer’s acceptance of a completed project are customer advances generally no longer at risk of refund and are therefore considered earned. Other public service fees, as disclosed in the consolidated statements of comprehensive income (loss), are primarily service fees earned and recognized as revenues at the time when the Company processes credit card payments on behalf of the courts via its ePayIt secure websites through which the general public can pay traffic citations and obtain traffic school information.

 

 
31

 

 

The Company has established Vendor Specific Objective Evidence (VSOE) of the fair value of annual maintenance because a substantial majority of Journal Technologies’ actual maintenance renewals is within a narrow range of pricing as a percentage of the underlying license fees for the legacy contracts and is deemed substantive.

 

ASC 985-20, Accounting for the Costs of Computer Software to be Sold, Leased, or Otherwise Marketed, provides that costs related to the research and development of a new software product are to be expensed as incurred until the technological feasibility of the product is established. Accordingly, costs related to the development of new software products are expensed as incurred until technological feasibility has been established, at which time such costs are capitalized, subject to expected recoverability. In general, “technological feasibility” is achieved when the developer has established the necessary skills, hardware and technology to produce a product and a detailed program design has been (i) completed, (ii) traced to the product specifications and (iii) reviewed for high-risk development issues. The Company believes its process for developing software is essentially completed concurrent with the establishment of technological feasibility, and accordingly, no software development costs have been capitalized to date.

 

ASC 820, Fair Value Measurement and Disclosures, requires the Company to (i) disclose the amounts of transfers in and out of Level 1 and Level 2 fair value measurements and the reasons for the transfers and (ii) present separately information about purchases, sales, issuances and settlements in the reconciliation of Level 3 measurements. This guidance also provides clarification of existing disclosures requiring the Company to determine each class of its investments based on risk and to disclose the valuation techniques and inputs used to measure fair value for both Level 2 and Level 3 measurements. The Company made no transfers in and out of Level 1 and Level 2 measurements in fiscal years 2012, 2013 and 2014. During that time all of the Company’s investments have been quoted on public markets and, therefore, all fair value calculations have been based on Level 1 measurements. The estimated Incentive Plan’s future commitment is calculated using Level 3 inputs, as defined in the fair value hierarchy, based on an average of the current year and the current expectation of fiscal 2015 pretax earnings before certain items, discounted to the present value at 6% since each granted Incentive Plan Unit will expire over its remaining life term of up to 10 years.

 

ASC 805, Business Combinations, requires the use of the purchase method of accounting in connection with the acquisition of businesses. This requires all of the acquired assets and liabilities to be recorded at their fair values and for the purchase price to be allocated accordingly. Furthermore, intangible assets must be categorized and separated into two groups: those with an identifiable remaining useful life and those with an indefinite useful life. The latter is classified as goodwill. In fiscal 2013, the acquisitions of New Dawn and ISD resulted in the Company allocating $13,400,000 to goodwill. The identifiable intangible assets acquired for New Dawn and ISD were based on Level 3 fair value measurements using an income approach discounted to the present value.

 

 
32

 

 

The Company analyzes goodwill for possible impairment under ASC 350, Intangibles – Goodwill and Other, annually or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the value may not be recoverable. Considered factors for potential goodwill impairment evaluation for the reporting units include current year’s business profitability before intangible amortization, fluctuations of revenues, changes in the market place, the status of installation contracts and new business, among other things. In addition, ASC 2011-08, Testing Goodwill for Impairment, allows for the option of performing a qualitative assessment before calculating the fair value of a reporting unit. If it is determined based on qualitative factors that there is no impairment to goodwill, then the fair value of a reporting unit is not needed. If a quantitative analysis is required and the unit’s carrying amount exceeds its fair value, then the second step is performed to measure the amount of potential impairment. The Company’s annual goodwill impairment analysis in 2014 did not result in an impairment charge based on the qualitative assessment using the above-mentioned considered factors for potential goodwill impairment.

 

ASC 740, Income Taxes, establishes financial accounting and reporting standards for the effect of income taxes. The objectives of accounting for income taxes are to recognize the amount of taxes payable or refundable for the current year and the deferred tax liabilities and assets for the future tax consequences of events that have been recognized in the financial statements or tax returns. This accounting guidance also prescribes recognition thresholds and measurement attributes for the financial statements recognition and measurement of a tax position taken or expected to be taken in a tax return. Judgment is required in assessing the future tax consequences of events that have been recognized in the Company’s financial statements or tax returns. Fluctuations in the actual outcome of these future tax consequences could materially impact the Company’s financial position or its results of operations and its deferred tax liabilities related to the net unrealized gains on investments. See Note 3 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

 

ASC 280-10, Segment Reporting, defines operating segments as components of a public entity that has discrete financial information that is evaluated regularly by the Company’s Chief Executive Officer to decide how to allocate resources and to assess performance. In accordance with ASC 280-10, the Company has two reportable business segments which are: (i) Traditional Business and (ii) Journal Technologies.

 

The above discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto included in this report.

 

 
33

 

 

Item 7A. Qualitative and Quantitative Disclosures about Market Risk

 

In December 2012, the Company borrowed from its investment margin account the purchase price of $14 million for the New Dawn acquisition, and in September 2013, it borrowed another $15.5 million for the ISD acquisition, in each case pledging its marketable securities as collateral. The interest rate for these investment margin account borrowings fluctuates based on the Federal Funds Rate plus 50 basis points with interest only payable monthly. The interest rate as of September 30, 2015 was 0.75%, and there has been no fluctuation in the interest rate since December 2012. The Company was not subject to any significant interest rate risk during such period.

 

Foreign Currency Risk

 

The Company holds foreign marketable securities based in South Korean Won and Hong Kong Dollar that are subject to risk associated with changes in the exchange rates of these currencies against the United States Dollar. The fair value of the foreign marketable security held in South Korean Won was $8,694,000, and the adjusted cost was $10,977,000 as of September 30, 2015. The exchange rate of the South Korean Won against the United States Dollar was $0.00095 and $0.00084 at October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015, respectively. The fair value of the foreign marketable security held in Hong Kong Dollar was $26,355,000, and the adjusted cost was $9,697,000 as of September 30, 2015. The exchange rate of the Hong Kong Dollar against the United States Dollar was $0.12877 and $0.12903 at October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015, respectively.

 

Equity Price Risk

 

The Company owns marketable securities and is subject to equity price risk. The following table summarizes our equity securities with significant equity price risk as of September 30, 2015 and 2014. The effects of a hypothetical 30% increase and a 30% decrease in market prices as of those dates are also shown. The selected 30% hypothetical changes do not reflect what could be considered the best or worst case scenarios. Indeed, results could be far better or worse due both to the nature of equity markets and the aforementioned concentration in our equity investment portfolio.

 

 

    Equity Price Risk (000)
   

Fair Value

 

Hypothetical Price Change

 

Estimated Fair Value after Hypothetical Change in Prices

 

Hypothetical Percentage Increase (Decrease) in Shareholders’ Equity

September 30, 2015

                   

Equity securities

  $ 158,705  

30% increase

  $ 206,317  

37% increase

         

30% decrease

    111,094  

37% decrease

September 30, 2014

                   

Equity securities

    165,734  

30% increase

  $ 215,454  

36% increase

         

30% decrease

    116,014  

36% decrease

 

 
34

 

 

Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

 

 

The Board of Directors and Shareholders of Daily Journal Corporation

 

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Daily Journal Corporation as of September 30, 2015 and 2014 and the related consolidated statements of comprehensive income (loss), shareholders’ equity, and cash flows for the years then ended. These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements based on our audits.

 

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements, assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

 

In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Daily Journal Corporation at September 30, 2015 and 2014, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the years then ended, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

 

We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), Daily Journal Corporation’s internal control over financial reporting as of September 30, 2015, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (1992) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) and our report dated December 14, 2015 expressed an adverse opinion thereon.

 

 

/s/ BDO USA, LLP

 

 

Los Angeles, California
December 14, 2015 

 

 
35

 

 

The Board of Directors and Shareholders of Daily Journal Corporation

 

We have audited the accompanying consolidated statements of comprehensive income, shareholders' equity, and cash flows of Daily Journal Corporation for the year ended September 30, 2013. These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements based on our audit.

 

We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. An audit also includes assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

 

In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the consolidated results of operations and cash flows of Daily Journal Corporation for the year ended September 30, 2013, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.

 

 

/s/ Ernst & Young, LLP

 

Los Angeles, California

June 24, 2014

 

 
36

 

 

DAILY JOURNAL CORPORATION

 

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

 

   

September 30

 
   

2015

   

2014

 

ASSETS

               

Current assets

               

Cash and cash equivalents

  $ 15,617,000     $ 15,410,000  

Marketable securities, including common stocks of $158,705,000 and bonds of $7,336,000 at September 30, 2015 and common stocks of $165,734,000 and bonds of $7,942,000 at September 30, 2014

    166,041,000       173,676,000  

Accounts receivable, less allowance for doubtful accounts of $250,000 at September 30, 2015 and 2014

    5,673,000       8,566,000  

Inventories

    48,000       51,000  

Prepaid expenses and other assets

    684,000       983,000  

Income tax receivable

    765,000       2,051,000  

Total current assets

    188,828,000       200,737,000  
                 

Property, plant and equipment, at cost

               

Land, buildings and improvements

    12,773,000       12,814,000  

Furniture, office equipment and computer software

    2,655,000       2,889,000  

Machinery and equipment

    1,864,000       1,864,000  
      17,292,000       17,567,000  

Less accumulated depreciation

    (8,335,000 )     (8,552,000 )
      8,957,000       9,015,000  

Intangibles, net

    12,990,000       17,744,000  

Goodwill

    13,400,000       13,400,000  

Deferred income taxes, net

    4,021,000       2,981,000  
    $ 228,196,000     $ 243,877,000  
                 

LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY

               

Current liabilities

               

Accounts payable

  $ 4,212,000     $ 4,344,000  

Accrued liabilities

    2,919,000       3,118,000  

Deferred subscriptions

    3,474,000       3,381,000  

Deferred installation contracts

    7,820,000       8,896,000  

Deferred maintenance agreements and others

    6,815,000       7,031,000  

Deferred income taxes, net

    40,641,000       46,502,000  

Total current liabilities

    65,881,000       73,272,000  
                 

Long term liabilities

               

Investment margin account borrowings

    29,493,000       29,493,000  

Deferred maintenance agreements

    551,000       180,000  

Income tax payable

    2,991,000       3,244,000  

Accrued interest and penalty for uncertain and unrecognized tax benefits

    633,000       537,000  

Accrued liabilities

    47,000       780,000  

Total long term liabilities

    33,715,000       34,234,000  
                 

Commitments and contingencies (Notes 4 and 5)

    ---       ---  
                 

Shareholders' equity

               

Preferred stock, $.01 par value, 5,000,000 shares authorized and no shares issued

    ---       ---  

Common stock, $.01 par value, 5,000,000 shares authorized; 1,805,053 shares issued, including 424,307 treasury shares, at September 30, 2015 and 2014

    14,000       14,000  

Additional paid-in capital

    1,755,000       1,755,000  

Retained earnings

    59,111,000       58,301,000  

Accumulated other comprehensive income

    67,720,000       76,301,000  

Total shareholders' equity

    128,600,000       136,371,000  
    $ 228,196,000     $ 243,877,000  

 

 

See accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

 

 
37

 

 

DAILY JOURNAL CORPORATION

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME (LOSS)

 

   

2015

   

2014

   

2013

 

Revenues

                       

Advertising, net

  $ 10,502,000     $ 11,435,000     $ 14,472,000  

Circulation

    5,915,000       6,038,000       6,346,000  

Advertising service fees and other

    2,703,000       2,800,000       3,012,000  

Licensing and maintenance fees

    13,984,000       12,987,000       9,942,000  

Consulting fees

    4,704,000       4,002,000       3,406,000  

Other public service fees

    6,170,000       6,161,000       498,000  
      43,978,000       43,423,000       37,676,000  

Costs and expenses

                       

Salaries and employee benefits

    26,010,000       25,262,000       19,236,000  

Outside services

    3,524,000       3,212,000       3,086,000  

Postage and delivery expenses

    1,318,000       1,281,000       1,328,000  

Newsprint and printing expenses

    1,225,000       1,221,000       1,307,000  

Depreciation and amortization

    5,531,000       5,516,000       2,441,000  

Other general and administrative expenses

    9,882,000       9,121,000       6,489,000  
      47,490,000       45,613,000       33,887,000  

(Loss) income from operations

    (3,512,000 )     (2,190,000 )     3,789,000  

Other income (expenses)

                       

Dividends and interest income

    3,829,000       3,001,000       2,541,000  

Other income

    65,000       97,000       54,000  

Interest expense on margin loans

    (224,000 )     (230,000 )     (97,000 )

Interest and penalty expense accrued for uncertain and unrecognized tax benefits

    (96,000 )     (537,000 )     ---  

Gains on sales of marketable securities/capital assets

    4,000       ---       1,000  

Other-than-temporary impairment losses on investments

    (376,000 )     ---       (1,719,000 )

(Loss) income before taxes

    (310,000 )     141,000       4,569,000  

Benefit from (provision for) income taxes

    1,120,000       490,000       (790,000 )

Net income

  $ 810,000     $ 631,000     $ 3,779,000  

Weighted average number of common shares outstanding – basic and diluted

    1,380,746       1,380,746       1,380,746  

Basic and diluted net income per share

  $ 0.59     $ 0.46     $ 2.74  
                         

Comprehensive (loss) income

                       

Net income

  $ 810,000     $ 631,000     $ 3,779,000  

Net change in unrealized appreciation of investments (net of tax benefits of $5,764,000 for fiscal 2015, net of taxes of $14,286,000 and $13,544,000 for fiscal 2014 and 2013, respectively)

    (8,811,000 )     22,393,000       21,292,000  

Reclassification adjustment of other-than-temporary impairment losses recognized in net income (net of taxes of $146,000, $0 and $668,000, respectively)

    230,000       ---       1,051,000  
    $ (7,771,000 )   $ 23,024,000     $ 26,122,000  

 

 
38

 

 

DAILY JOURNAL CORPORATION

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY

 

                                                   

Accumulated

         
                                   

Additional

           

Other

   

Total

 
   

Common Stock

   

Treasury Stock

   

Paid-in

   

Retained

   

Comprehensive

   

Shareholders'