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Table of Contents

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

(MARK ONE)

 

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

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021

 

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

For the transition period from                           to   

 

Commission file number 001-38113

 

BOSTON OMAHA CORPORATION

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Delaware

27-0788438

(State or other jurisdiction
of incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

 

1601 Dodge Street, Suite 3300, Omaha, Nebraska

68102

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip Code)

 

Registrants telephone number: (857) 256-0079

 

Securities registered under Section 12(b) of the Exchange Act:  

 

Title of Class

Trading Symbol(s)

Name of Exchange on Which Registered

Class A common stock, $0.001 par value per share

BOMN

The New York Stock Exchange

 

Securities registered under Section 12(g) of the Exchange 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 Exchange 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 every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐ 

 

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

 

Large accelerated filer

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

Smaller reporting company

   
 

Emerging growth company

 

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

 

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

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management's assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit

report. ☐

 

State the aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold, or the average bid and ask price of such common equity, as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter: $615,761,428.

 

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the registrant’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date: 28,642,801 shares of Class A common stock and 1,055,560 shares of Class B common stock as of March 28, 2022.

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

None.

 

 

 

 

 

BOSTON OMAHA CORPORATION

 

INDEX

 

 

Page

Part I

 

Item 1. Business.

1

Item 1A. Risk Factors.

15

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

40

Item 2. Properties.

40

Item 3. Legal Proceedings.

40

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

40

Part II

 

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

40

Item 6. Selected Financial Data.

41

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

42

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.

58

Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.

58

Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure.

58

Item 9A. Controls and Procedures.

59

Item 9B. Other Information.

60

Part III

 

Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance.

60

Item 11. Executive Compensation.

67

Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters.

70

Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence.

71

Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services.

75

Part IV

 

Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules.

76

Item 16. Form 10-K Summary.

76

Exhibit Index

77

Signatures

80

 

 

 

 

CAUTIONARY NOTE CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This Report contains certain statements that are, or may be deemed to be, “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 (the “Exchange Act”), or by Public Law 104-67. All statements included in this Report, other than statements that relate solely to historical fact, are “forward-looking statements.” Such statements include, but are not limited to, any statement that may predict, forecast, indicate or imply future results, performance, achievements or events, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, or any statement that may relate to strategies, plans or objectives for, or potential results of, future operations, financial results, financial condition, business prospects, growth strategy or liquidity, and are based upon management’s current plans and beliefs or current estimates of future results or trends. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by phrases such as “believes,” “expects,” “potential,” “continues,” “may,” “should,” “seeks,” “predicts,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “projects,” “estimates,” “plans,” “could,” “designed,” “should be” and other similar expressions that denote expectations of future or conditional events rather than statements of fact.

 

Forward-looking statements include certain statements made under the caption, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” under Item 7 of this Report, but also forward-looking statements that appear in other parts of this Report. Forward-looking statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on certain assumptions and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from trends, plans, or expectations set forth in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties may include the risks and uncertainties described elsewhere in this Report, including under the caption “Risk Factors,” under Item 1A of this Report. Additionally, there may be other factors not presently known to us or which we currently consider to be immaterial that may cause our actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements.

 

This Report also contains statistical and other industry and market data related to our business and industry that we obtained from industry publications and research, surveys and studies conducted by us and third parties as well as our estimates of potential market opportunities. Industry publications, third-party and our own research, surveys and studies generally indicate that their information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, although they do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information. This market data includes projections that are based on a number of assumptions. If these assumptions turn out to be incorrect, actual results may differ from the projections based on these assumptions. As a result, our markets may not grow at the rates projected by this data, or at all. The failure of these markets to grow at these projected rates may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and the market price of our common stock.

 

Summary of Risk Factors

 

Some of the factors that could materially and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, cash flow, the market price of shares of our Class A common stock or our prospects include, but are not limited to, the following. You should read this summary together with the more detailed description of each risk factor contained in this  Item 1A “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and the other reports and documents filed or furnished by us with the SEC for a more detailed discussion of the principal risks (as well as certain other risks) that you should carefully consider before deciding to invest in our securities.

 

Risks Related To Acquisitions and Operations of Our Business

 

 

We have incurred losses from operations since inception and we anticipate that we will continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future;

 

 

We may be unable to identify and successfully complete acquisitions and, even if acquisitions are identified and completed, we may fail to successfully operate acquired properties;

 

 

Our business strategy relies on the successful acquisition and integration of diverse companies and operations, and expansion of current business lines or entering into new industries could negatively impact our operating income;

 

 

We are currently subject to an agreement prohibiting us from reselling the Class A common stock and warrants we hold in Sky Harbour Group Corporation until certain conditions are met and may continue to be limited in the amount of these shares we can resell after the expiration of the applicable lock-up period;

 

 

As we enter new business segments, members of our senior management may have limited or no experience in the industries we operate, and we will be reliant on key personnel. The departure of any of our key personnel could materially and adversely affect us; and

 

 

The continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could result in increased claims made against our surety insurance bond business, reduce demand for our other services, and adversely impact our operating results.

 

 

 

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness

 

 

Our ability to borrow may be limited in case of adverse changes within the credit market; and

 

 

Any failure in the future to comply with the covenants set forth in our Credit Agreement could result in the loan balance immediately due and payable;

 

Risks Related to Access to Capital and Raising Additional Capital

 

 

We may not be able to generate sufficient cash to service all of our operations and may be forced to take actions to fund our operations such as debt financing, refinancing current indebtedness, or future equity issuances of our capital stock, any or all of which may not be successful; and

 

 

We may raise additional equity capital through additional public or private placements, any of which could substantially dilute your investment.

 

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Securities

 

 

The market price and trading volume of our common stock may be volatile and negatively impacted by broad market fluctuations;

 

 

Provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws and Delaware law might discourage, delay or prevent a change of control of our company or changes in our management and, as a result, depress the trading price of our common stock;

 

 

Certain of our executive officers and directors are now, and all of them may in the future become, affiliated with entities engaged in business activities similar to those intended to be conducted by us and, accordingly, may have conflicts of interest in determining to which entity a particular business opportunity should be presented;

 

 

We do not intend to pay dividends on our common stock and, consequently, the ability of investors to achieve a return on their investment will depend on appreciation in the price of our common stock;

 

 

Our investments in securities of other companies involve a substantial degree of risk; 

 

 

Certain of our stockholders have registered 9,698,705 shares of our Class A common stock; and

 

Regulatory Risks

 

 

Dependent on the price of certain publicly-traded securities we currently hold, including our ownership of DFH Class A common stock and Sky Class A common stock, we could become subject to registration and regulation under the Investment Company Act;

 

 

Our business segments are subject to complex federal, state and local laws and regulations that could adversely affect the cost, manner or feasibility of conducting our operations or expose us to significant liabilities; and

 

 

Changes in laws or regulations governing our operations or our failure to comply with those laws or regulations may affect us.

 

 

 

PART I

Item 1.

Business.

 

Our Company

 

Boston Omaha Corporation, which we refer to as “the Company,” “our Company,” “we,” “us” or “our,” commenced its current business operations in June 2015 and currently operates three separate lines of business: outdoor billboard advertising, surety insurance and related brokerage activities and broadband services businesses. In addition, we hold minority investments in commercial real estate management and brokerage services, a bank focused on servicing the automotive loan market, a homebuilding company, and served as the sponsor of Yellowstone Acquisition Company ("Yellowstone"), a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company ("SPAC"), which in January 2022 consummated a business combination with Sky Harbour, LLC, a developer of private aviation infrastructure focused on building, leasing and managing business aviation hangars.

 

Outdoor Billboards

 

In June 2015, we commenced our billboard business operations through acquisitions by our wholly-owned subsidiary, Link Media Holdings, LLC, which we refer to as "Link," of smaller billboard companies located in the Southeast United States and Wisconsin. During July and August 2018, we acquired the membership interest or assets of three larger billboard companies which increased our overall billboard count to approximately 2,900 billboards. In addition, we have made additional billboard acquisitions on a smaller scale since that date. We believe that we are a leading outdoor billboard advertising company in the markets we serve in the Midwest. As of December 31, 2021, we operate approximately 3,900 billboards with approximately 7,400 advertising faces. One of our principal business objectives is to continue to acquire additional billboard assets through acquisitions of existing billboard businesses in the United States when they can be made at what we believe to be attractive prices relative to other opportunities generally available to us.

 

We are attracted to the outdoor display market due to a number of factors, including high regulatory barriers to building new billboards in some states, growing demand, low maintenance capital expenditures for static billboards, low cost per impression for customers, and the potential opportunity to employ more capital in existing assets at reasonable returns in the form of perpetual easements and digital conversions. In addition, unlike other advertising industries, the internet has not had a material adverse impact on outdoor advertising revenues. The billboard industry’s three largest companies are estimated to account for more than 50% of the industry’s total revenues, and several industry sources and our experience suggest that there are a large number of other companies serving the remainder of the market, providing a potentially significant source of billboards which may be acquired in the future.

 

Surety Insurance

 

In September 2015, we established an insurance subsidiary, General Indemnity Group, LLC, which we refer to as “GIG,” designed to own and operate insurance businesses generally handling high volume, lower policy limit commercial lines of property and casualty insurance. In April 2016, our surety insurance business commenced with the acquisition of a surety insurance brokerage business with a national internet-based presence. In December 2016, we completed the acquisition of United Casualty and Surety Insurance Company, which we refer to as "UCS," a surety insurance company, which at that time was licensed to issue surety bonds in only nine states. UCS now has licenses to operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, over the last four years, we have also acquired additional surety insurance brokerage businesses located in various regions of the United States. We may in the future expand the reach of our insurance activities to other forms of insurance which may have similar characteristics to surety, such as high volume and low average policy premium insurance businesses which historically have similar economics.

 

Broadband Services

 

In March 2020, our subsidiary, FIF AireBeam LLC, which we refer to as "AireBeam," acquired substantially all of the business assets of FibAire Communications, LLC, which we refer to as "FibAire," a rural broadband internet provider. AireBeam provides over 7,000 subscribers in communities in southern Arizona with a high-speed fixed wireless internet service and is building an all fiber-to-the-home network in select Arizona markets. AireBeam operates in underserved communities in Arizona that need higher speed and greater internet capacity. In December 2020, our subsidiary, FIF Utah LLC, which we refer to as "FIF Utah," and which conducts business as "Utah Broadband," acquired substantially all of the business assets of Utah Broadband, LLC, which we refer to as "UBB," an internet provider that provides broadband services to over 10,000 subscribers throughout Utah. In September 2021, we announced the launch of Fiber Fast Homes, LLC ("FFH"), which partners with builders, developers and build-to-rent communities to build fiber-to-the-home infrastructure and provide fiber internet service to residents. We hope to continue to expand in Arizona, Utah, and other locales.

 

 

1

 

Minority Investments

 

Since 2015, we have made minority investments in several different industries.

 

 

Since September 2015, we have made a series of investments in commercial real estate, a commercial real estate management, brokerage and related services business as well as an asset management business. We currently own 30% of Logic and approximately 49.9% of 24th Street Holding Co., both directly and indirectly through our ownership in Logic. In addition, we have invested, through one of our subsidiaries, an aggregate of $6 million in 24th Street Fund I, LLC and 24th Street Fund II, LLC. These funds are managed by 24th Street Asset Management, LLC, a subsidiary of 24th Street Holding Co. and focus on opportunities within secured lending and direct investments in commercial real estate.

 

 

In December 2017, we invested $10 million in common units of Dream Finders Holdings LLC, which we refer to as "DFH," the parent company of Dream Finders Homes, LLC, a national home builder with operations in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and northern Virginia. In addition to its homebuilding operations, DFH's subsidiaries provide mortgage loan origination and title insurance services to homebuyers. On January 25, 2021, Dream Finders Homes, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of DFH, completed its initial public offering and Dream Finders Homes, Inc. became a holding company and sole manager of DFH. Upon completion of the initial public offering, our outstanding common units in DFH were converted into 4,681,099 shares of Class A Common Stock of Dream Finders Homes, Inc., and one of our subsidiaries purchased an additional 120,000 shares of Class A common stock in the initial public offering. At December 31, 2021, we held 2,868,037 shares of DFH Class A common stock. Since DFH’s initial public offering through March 25, 2022, we have sold 2,737,848 shares of DFH Class A common stock for gross proceeds of approximately $51 million.

 

 

In May 2018, through one of our subsidiaries, we invested approximately $19 million through the purchase of common stock of CB&T Holding Corporation, which we refer to as "CB&T," the privately-held parent company of Crescent Bank & Trust, Inc., which we refer to as "Crescent." Our investment represents 14.99% of CB&T’s outstanding common stock. Crescent is located in New Orleans and generates the majority of its revenues from indirect subprime automobile lending across the United States.

 

 

In October 2020, our subsidiary BOC Yellowstone LLC, which we refer to as "BOC Yellowstone," served as sponsor for the underwritten initial public offering of a special purpose acquisition company named Yellowstone. Yellowstone sold in its public offering 13,598,898 units at a price of $10.00 per unit, each unit consisting of one share of Class A common stock and a redeemable warrant to purchase one-half of a share of Class A common stock at an exercise price of $11.50 per share. Between August and November 2020, we invested, through BOC Yellowstone, approximately $7.8 million through the purchase of 3,399,724 shares of Class B common stock and 7,719,779 non-redeemable private placement warrants, each warrant entitling us to purchase one share of Class A common stock at $11.50 per share.

 

 

On August 1, 2021, Yellowstone entered into a business combination agreement with Sky Harbour LLC, which we refer to as "SHG," a developer of private aviation infrastructure focused on building, leasing and managing business aviation hangars. The business combination with SHG, which we refer to as the "Sky business combination,"  was completed on January 25, 2022 and Yellowstone changed its name to Sky Harbour Group Corporation, which we refer to as “Sky.” Sky’s Class A common stock trades on the NYSE American under the symbol “SKYH” and its warrants to purchase Class A Common Stock trade under the symbol “SKYH.WS”. We invested in Sky based upon a number of factors including but not limited to our belief that Sky helps address a large demand by business jet owners for modern hangar space and related services and amenities, limited space for hangar facilities reducing the number of hangars which can service an airport, the experience of the Sky management team, Sky’s receipt of over $160 million of long-term private activity bond financing at attractive rates and payment terms, and the agreement by the existing Sky equity holders prior to the business combination to convert all of their equity interests in Sky for equity interests in the combined entity.

 

 

In August 2021, through one of our subsidiaries, we agreed to invest $55 million directly into SHG and received Series B preferred units ("Sky Series B Preferred Units"). On September 14, 2021, we completed the $55 million transaction, purchasing the Sky Series B Preferred Units. Upon the successful consummation of the Sky business combination, this investment converted into 5,500,000 shares of Sky's Class A common stock, valued at $10.00 per share. In December 2021, we agreed to provide Sky an additional $45 million through the purchase of 4,500,000 shares of Class A common stock upon the closing of the Sky business combination.

 

 

We recently established a subsidiary within Boston Omaha Asset Management, LLC (“BOAM”) to operate a proposed business, which we refer to as “build for rent,” in which we would develop and own single family detached and/or townhomes for long term rental. We have recently bought parcels of land in Nevada which we hope to develop or repurpose for other uses. We are currently providing 100% of the financing for the initial stages of these projects but may consider a range of financing options in the future, such as raising third party capital to be invested alongside our capital. Once completed and stabilized, we expect that these properties will be financed with long term fixed rate debt capital. In addition to developing and managing these properties, we would also expect to provide broadband services to these homes, providing us a second or third source of potential revenue from these developments. 

 

2

 

Additional Opportunities for Growth

 

In addition to our activities in outdoor billboards, surety insurance, broadband services and the various industries in which we have made minority investments, we will also consider other industries which offer the potential for predictable and attractive returns on invested capital. We expect to continue to be opportunistic in exploring other opportunities which meet our investment criteria.

 

Our objective is to grow intrinsic value per share at an attractive rate by retaining capital to reinvest in the productive capabilities of our current subsidiaries, make opportunistic investments, and/or invest in new, anticipated durable earnings streams. Each of these options for capital will be compared to one another on a regular basis, and capital will be deployed according to our management’s judgment as to where it believes allocated capital has the potential to achieve the best long-term return.

 

Our History

 

Boston Omaha Corporation was originally incorporated as REO Plus, Inc., which we refer to as “REO,” on August 10, 2009. On March 16, 2015, we reincorporated as a Delaware corporation, adopted new bylaws and changed our name to Boston Omaha Corporation. Our principal business address is 1601 Dodge Street, Suite 3300, Omaha, Nebraska 68102, and our telephone number is 857-256-0079. We registered as a reporting company under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which we refer to as the “Exchange Act,” on November 9, 2016. In 2016, we were listed for trading on the OTCQX under the trading symbol “BOMN,” and in June 2017, in connection with our 2017 public offering, we transferred and uplisted to the NASDAQ Capital Market under the trading symbol “BOMN.”  On January 14, 2022, we transferred our listing to the New York Stock Exchange and now trade under the trading symbol “BOC”.

 

On February 13, 2015, Magnolia Capital Fund, L.P., which we refer to as “MCF,” and Boulderado Partners, LLC, which we refer to as “BP,” acquired shares of the Company’s common stock representing approximately 95% of the Company’s issued and outstanding shares at the time. MCF is managed by The Magnolia Group, LLC, which we refer to as “Magnolia,” and BP is managed by Boulderado Capital, LLC and Boulderado Group, LLC, which we collectively refer to as “Boulderado.” Magnolia is managed by Adam K. Peterson, one of our Co-Chairmen and Co-Chief Executive Officers. Boulderado is managed by Alex B. Rozek, one of our Co-Chairmen and Co-Chief Executive Officers.

 

On June 18, 2015, we amended and restated our certificate of incorporation and effected a 7:1 reverse stock split of our Class A common stock. We also created an additional series of our stock now named Class B common stock, par value $0.001 per share. Each share of Class B common stock is identical to the Class A common stock in liquidation, dividend and similar rights. The only differences between our Class B common stock and our Class A common stock is that each share of Class B common stock has 10 votes for each share held, while the Class A common stock has a single vote per share, and certain actions cannot be taken without the approval of the holders of the Class B common stock. There are currently 1,055,560 shares of our Class B common stock outstanding, which shares are owned in equal amounts by each of MCF and BP.

 

Since 2015, we have raised capital through private investments, public offerings and a bank term loan entered into by Link with a commercial lender.

 

Between February 2015 and May 2017, we raised $66,872,500 in equity financing, of which $43,305,577 and $11,305,595 were invested by MCF and BP, respectively. We raised these funds primarily in three separate rounds of financing, each of which coincided with pending or anticipated acquisitions.

 

In June 2017, we commenced an underwritten public offering for 6,538,462 shares of our Class A common stock at $13.00 per share, which we refer to as the “2017 public offering,” that raised gross proceeds of $97,049,446. In the 2017 public offering, MCF and BP invested $44,999,994 and $2,500,004, respectively. We received aggregate net proceeds from the offering of approximately $91,432,110 after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses payable by us.

 

On February 22, 2018, we entered into a Class A Common Stock Purchase Agreement, which we refer to as the “2018 private placement,” pursuant to which the Company issued and sold to Magnolia BOC I, LP, which we refer to as “MBOC I,” Magnolia BOC II, LP, which we refer to as “MBOC II,” and Boulderado BOC, LP, which we refer to as “BBOC,” $150,000,000 in unregistered shares of Class A common stock at a price of $23.30, a slight premium to the closing price of shares of Class A common stock of $23.29 on the NASDAQ Capital Market on the date of the Class A Common Stock Purchase Agreement. MBOC I is currently managed by Magnolia. MBOC II and BBOC distributed all of their shares of Class A common stock to their partners. The Class A Common Stock Purchase Agreement was approved by an independent special committee of our Board of Directors with the advice of independent legal counsel and an independent investment banking firm which provided a fairness opinion to the special committee. The financing took place in two tranches in March and May 2018.

 

3

 

In February 2018, we filed a shelf Registration Statement on Form S-3 (File No. 333-222853) that was declared effective on February 9, 2018, relating to the offering of Class A common stock, preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share (which we refer to as “preferred stock”), debt securities and warrants of the Company for up to $200,000,000. On March 2, 2018, we entered into a Sales Agreement with Cowen, pursuant to which the Company sold from time to time in an “at the market” offering, a total of $49,999,625 of shares of Class A common stock through Cowen as sales agent. Sales under the “at the market” offering were made pursuant to a prospectus supplement, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which we refer to as the “SEC” or the “Commission,” on March 2, 2018, to our shelf Registration Statement on Form S-3. Cowen received a commission equal to 3.0% of the gross sales proceeds of the shares sold through Cowen under the Sales Agreement, and we provided Cowen with customary indemnification and contribution rights.

 

On August 13, 2019, we entered into a second Sales Agreement with Cowen, relating to the sale of additional shares of our Class A common stock to be offered. In accordance with the terms of the second Sales Agreement, we could offer and sell from time to time up to $75,000,000 of shares of our Class A common stock through Cowen acting as our agent. The compensation to Cowen for sales of Class A common stock sold pursuant to the Sales Agreement was an amount equal to 3% of the gross proceeds of any shares of Class A common stock sold under the Sales Agreement. From August 21, 2019 through December 31, 2019, we sold through Cowen 448,880 shares of our Class A common stock under the second “at the market” offering, resulting in gross proceeds to us of $9,450,789 and net proceeds of $9,122,227, after offering costs of $328,562. During fiscal year 2020, we sold through Cowen 40,455 shares of our Class A common stock under the second “at the market” offering, resulting in gross proceeds to us of $669,751 and net proceeds of $649,659, after offering costs of $20,092. Following a public offering of our Class A common stock in May 2020, we subsequently suspended future sales under the Sales Agreement and the S-3 registration statement filed in February 2018 expired in February 2021.

 

On March 18, 2020, our Board of Directors authorized and approved a share repurchase program for us to repurchase up to $20,000,000 worth of shares of our Class A common stock, which we refer to as the “Repurchase Program.” Under the Repurchase Program, we could repurchase shares, from time to time, in solicited or unsolicited transactions in the open market, privately-negotiated transactions, or transactions pursuant to a Rule 10b5-1 plan. The Repurchase Program did not obligate us to purchase any particular number of shares and ran through June 30, 2021. Due to improving market conditions following our establishment of the Repurchase Program, we did not repurchase any shares.

 

On May 28, 2020, we entered into an underwriting agreement (the “2020 Underwriting Agreement”) with Wells Fargo Securities, LLC (“WFS”) and Cowen and Company, LLC, as joint lead book-running managers for a public offering of 3,200,000 shares, which we refer to as the “2020 firm shares,” of our Class A common stock at a public offering price of $16.00 per share. Under the terms of the underwriting agreement, we granted the underwriters an option, exercisable for 30 days, to purchase up to an additional 480,000 shares of Class A common stock at the public offering price less underwriting discounts and commissions, which we refer to as the “2020 option shares.” Adam Peterson and Alex Rozek, our Co-Chairmen, together with another member of our board of directors and another employee, purchased, directly or through their affiliates, an aggregate of 39,375 shares of Class A common stock in the offering at the public offering price.  On June 2, 2020we announced the completion of the public offering in which we sold a total of 3,680,000 Class A shares, including both the 2020 firm shares and all of the 2020 option shares issued as a result of the underwriters’ exercise in full of their over-allotment option, resulting in total gross proceeds to us of $58,880,000. The shares were sold in the offering pursuant to the Company’s shelf registration statement on Form S-3, as supplemented by a prospectus supplement dated May 28, 2020.

 

On March 31, 2021, we entered into an underwriting agreement (the “2021 Underwriting Agreement”) with WFS for a public offering of 2,300,000 shares, which we refer to as the “2021 firm shares,” of our Class A common stock, of which 2,000,000 shares were sold by Boston Omaha and 300,000 shares were sold by a selling stockholder, at a public offering price of $25.00 per share. Under the terms of the 2021 Underwriting Agreement, we granted the underwriters an option, exercisable for 30 days, to purchase up to an additional 345,000 shares of Class A common stock at the public offering price less underwriting discounts and commissions, which we refer to as the “2021 option shares.” On April 6, 2021, we announced the completion of the public offering consisting of 2,345,000 shares, including both the 2021 firm shares and all of the 2021 option shares issued as a result of the underwriters’ exercise in full of their over-allotment option, resulting in total gross proceeds to us of $58,625,000. We raised this capital to fund the planned expansion of our fiber-to-the-home broadband business, to seek to grow our Link billboard business through the acquisitions of additional billboard businesses, and for general corporate purposes. Although we do not have any binding material commitments at this time, we continue to pursue acquisitions in these markets. The shares were sold in the offering pursuant to the Company’s universal shelf registration statement on Form S-3ASR (File No. 333-254870) that was declared effective on March 30, 2021 (the “2021 Shelf Registration Statement”). 

 

On September 29, 2021, we entered into an at the market equity offering program (the “ATM Program”) pursuant to a Sales Agreement (the “Sales Agreement”) by and between us and WFS. This ATM Program is consistent with our historical practice of having available to management the option to issue stock from time to time in order to continue to fund the growth of its fiber to the home rural broadband business, acquire additional billboards, and make other such investments in assets as needed to seek to grow intrinsic value per share. Our general preference is always to have options available to us from a capital allocation perspective which includes, but is not limited to, having a regularly filed ATM program as well as an authorized share repurchase program.

 

The Sales Agreement authorized us to sell, from time to time, shares (collectively, the “Placement Shares”) of our Class A common stock, with an aggregate sales price of up to $100 million through WFS, in transactions that are deemed to be at the market offerings as defined in Rule 415 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). As of the date of this Report, we have sold 122,246 shares of our Class A common stock resulting in gross proceeds of $4,225,213.

 

4

 

Our Relationship with Magnolia and Boulderado

 

In their roles as general partners of MCF, MBOC I and BP, Magnolia and Boulderado, through their ownership of Class A common stock and all of our Class B common stock, control approximately 48% of the aggregate voting power and, as a result, will for the foreseeable future likely be able to continue to control the election of our directors, determine our corporate and management policies and determine, without the consent of our other stockholders, the outcome of any corporate transaction or other matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, including potential mergers or acquisitions, asset sales and other significant corporate transactions. Adam K. Peterson, our Co-Chief Executive Officer and one of our directors, is a principal in Magnolia and Alex B. Rozek, our other Co-Chief Executive Officer and a director of the Company, is a principal in Boulderado.

 

The interests of these funds managed by Magnolia and Boulderado may not coincide with the interests of other holders of our Class A common stock. Mr. Peterson and Mr. Rozek also receive compensation from Magnolia and Boulderado for their roles as managers of Magnolia and Boulderado, respectively. Additionally, these funds are in the business of making investments in companies and may, from time to time, acquire and hold interests in businesses that compete directly or indirectly with us.

 

MCF is a private investment partnership in Omaha, Nebraska, which commenced operations in August 2014. MBOC I is a private investment partnership in Omaha, Nebraska, which commenced operations in February 2018. Adam K. Peterson is the sole manager of Magnolia, an investment adviser registered with the SEC. Magnolia is the general partner and the manager of MCF and MBOC I. BP is a private investment partnership in Boston, Massachusetts, formed in June 2007. Alex B. Rozek is the Managing Member of Boulderado Group, LLC, the management company of Boulderado Partners, LLC. On February 6, 2019, BP returned all outside capital and is continuing operations to manage family investments only. As a result of these distributions, BBOC distributed all of its shares of Class A common stock and was subsequently dissolved. On June 18, 2021, MBOC II distributed all shares of Class A common stock to its limited partner and was subsequently dissolved.

 

Our Acquisitions and Equity Investments

 

Since June 2015, we have expended over $435 million in the acquisition of businesses in outdoor billboard advertising, surety insurance and brokerage operations, broadband services, and in the purchase of minority equity interests in various businesses. We anticipate seeking further acquisitions in these business areas and possibly expanding into other businesses that we believe have the potential for durable profitability in a very competitive world.

 

Link Media Holdings. Since June 2015, through 20 acquisitions, several asset purchases, and one exchange, we have acquired numerous billboard structures, many with multiple faces, related easements, and rights in some instances to construct additional billboards. These billboards are located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. We paid a combined purchase price of over $225 million for these billboards and related assets. As of March 25, 2022, we operated approximately 3,900 billboard structures containing approximately 7,400 advertising faces, of which 80 are digital displays.

 

General Indemnity. Since September 2015, through six acquisitions, we have acquired one insurance company (UCS) and five insurance brokerage firms. We paid a combined purchase price of approximately $21.7 million. Additionally, we have contributed approximately $16.3 million in statutory capital to UCS. UCS is authorized to issue surety insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, is approved by the United States Department of Treasury, and rated "A-" (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company.

 

Broadband. On March 10, 2020, AireBeam acquired substantially all the business assets of FibAire, a rural broadband internet provider. AireBeam provides over 7,000 subscribers in communities in southern Arizona with a high-speed fixed wireless internet service and is building an all fiber-to-the-home network in select Arizona markets. AireBeam currently operates in certain underserved Arizona communities that need higher speed and greater internet capacity. We acquired AireBeam for $12.3 million in cash and issued to FibAire’s co-founder and chief executive, 10% of the equity in the newly formed entity. In June 2021, we purchased the 10% equity stake in AireBeam from FibAire's co-founder and chief executive for $664,414. On December 29, 2020, FIF Utah acquired substantially all of the business assets of UBB, a rural broadband internet provider. UBB provides high-speed internet to over 10,000 subscribers in Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, Provo and surrounding communities. We acquired UBB for $21.3 million in cash and issued to Alpine Networks, Inc., UBB’s member, 20% of the equity in the newly formed entity. Mr. McGhie, the president of Alpine Networks, Inc. serves as president of FIF Utah and was recently appointed as chief executive officer of FIF.

 

5

 

Minority Investments. Since 2015, we have made minority investments in several different industries.

 

 

Since September 2015, we have made a series of investments in commercial real estate, a commercial real estate management, brokerage and related services business as well as an asset management business. We currently own 30% of Logic and approximately 49.9% of 24th Street Holding Co., both directly and indirectly through our ownership in Logic. In addition, we have invested, through one of our subsidiaries, an aggregate of $6 million in 24th Street Fund I, LLC and 24th Street Fund II, LLC. These funds are managed by 24th Street Asset Management, LLC, a subsidiary of 24th Street Holding Co. and focus on opportunities within secured lending and direct investments in commercial real estate.

 

 

In December 2017, we invested $10 million in common units of DFH, the parent company of Dream Finders Homes, LLC, a national home builder with operations in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and northern Virginia. In addition to its homebuilding operations, DFH's subsidiaries provide mortgage loan origination and title insurance services to homebuyers. In May 2019, we invested, through one of our subsidiaries, an additional $12 million in DFH through the purchase of preferred units with a mandatory preferred return of 14%. These preferred units were subsequently redeemed by DFH in 2020. On January 25, 2021, Dream Finders Homes, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of DFH, completed its initial public offering and implemented an internal reorganization (the “Merger”) pursuant to which Dream Finders Homes, Inc. became a holding company and sole manager of DFH. Upon completion of the Merger, our outstanding common units in DFH were converted into 4,681,099 shares of Class A Common Stock of Dream Finders Homes, Inc., and one of our subsidiaries purchased an additional 120,000 shares of Class A common stock in the initial public offering. Prior to its initial public offering, we loaned DFH $20,000,000 to assist it in financing an acquisition which was consummated prior to its initial public offering. This loan was repaid in full with interest in early 2021. Our lockup of the shares ended in July 2021 and since that date we have sold a portion of our DFH shares realizing gross proceeds of over $51 million.

 

 

In May 2018, through one of our subsidiaries, we invested approximately $19 million through the purchase of common stock of CB&T Holding Corporation, the privately-held parent company of Crescent Bank & Trust, Inc. Our investment represents 14.99% of CB&T’s outstanding common stock. Crescent is located in New Orleans and generates the majority of its revenues from indirect subprime automobile lending across the United States.

 

 

In October 2020, our subsidiary BOC Yellowstone, served as sponsor for the underwritten initial public offering of a special purpose acquisition company named Yellowstone. Yellowstone sold in its public offering 13,598,898 units at a price of $10.00 per unit, each unit consisting of one share of Class A common stock and a redeemable warrant to purchase one-half of a share of Class A common stock at an exercise price of $11.50 per share. Between August and November 2020, we invested, through BOC Yellowstone, approximately $7.8 million through the purchase of 3,399,724 shares of Class B common stock and 7,719,779 non-redeemable private placement warrants, each warrant entitling us to purchase one share of Class A common stock at $11.50 per share. On August 1, 2021, Yellowstone entered into a business combination agreement with Sky Harbour LLC ("SHG"), a developer of private aviation infrastructure focused on building, leasing and managing business aviation hangars. The business combination was completed on January 25, 2022 and Yellowstone changed its name to Sky Harbour Group Corporation, which we refer to as “Sky”. Sky’s Class A common stock trades on the NYSE American under the symbol “SKYH” and its warrants to purchase Class A Common Stock trade under the symbol “SKYH.WS”.

 

 

In August 2021, through one of our subsidiaries, we agreed to invest $55 million directly into SHG and received Series B preferred units . On September 14, 2021, we completed the $55 million transaction, purchasing the Sky Series B Preferred Units. Upon the successful consummation of the Sky business combination, this investment converted into 5,500,000 shares of Sky’s Class A common stock based upon an assumed value of $10.00 per share. In December 2021, we agreed to provide Sky an additional $45 million through the purchase of 4,500,000 shares of Class A common stock upon the closing of the Sky business combination.

 

 

We recently established a subsidiary within BOAM to operate a proposed build for rent business in which we would develop and own single family detached and/or townhomes for long term rental. We have recently bought parcels of land in Nevada which we hope to develop or repurpose for other uses. We are currently providing 100% of the financing for the initial stages of these projects but may consider a range of financing options in the future, such as raising third party capital to be invested alongside our capital. Once completed and stabilized, we expect that these properties will be financed with long term fixed rate debt capital. In addition to developing and managing these properties, we would also expect to provide broadband services to these homes, providing us a second or third source of potential revenue from these developments. 

 

6

 

Industry Background

 

We currently operate outdoor billboard advertising services, provide broadband services, and sell surety insurance products and have made minority investments in several commercial real estate management and brokerage companies, a homebuilding company and a bank holding company focused on servicing the automotive loan market.

 

Outdoor Billboard Advertising. We currently own and operate approximately 3,900 billboard structures in the Southeast and Midwest United States containing approximately 7,400 advertising faces, of which 80 are digital displays. In addition, we hold options to build additional billboards in a few of these states. Over 95% of our billboards reside on leased parcels of property. In 2021, we acquired over 900 additional billboard structures in the Midwest containing approximately 1,800 advertising faces and continue to seek to acquire additional billboards. The site lease terms generally range from one to 20 years and often come with renewal options. Many of our leases contain options to extend the lease so as to allow continuous operation for many years or exist in areas where we believe that regulations make it probable a new lease will be signed prior to expiration on similar economic terms to existing leases. Bulletins are large advertising structures consisting of panels, called faces, on which advertising copy is displayed. On traditional billboards, the customer’s advertising copy is printed with computer-generated graphics on a single sheet of vinyl and wrapped around the billboard face.  Bulletins are usually located on major highways and target vehicular traffic. Advertising contracts are typically short-term to medium-term (e.g., one week to three years). We generally lease individually selected bulletin space to advertisers for the duration of the contract.  In addition to the traditional displays described above, we also have digital ad displays which generally come with shorter term ad contracts (one to twelve months). Outdoor billboards were estimated as a $4.7 billion market in the U.S. in 2020 based on industry trade journals.  Other outdoor advertising solutions, including street furniture (for example, bus shelters and benches), transit and other new alternative advertising signs at sports stadiums, malls, airports and other locations account for approximately an additional estimated $1.4 billion in revenues in 2020 according to industry sources. There is no concentration of industries to which we lease billboard space.

 

Insurance Services. Suretyship insurance occurs when one party guarantees payment or performance by another party for an obligation or undertaking.  Many obligations are guaranteed through surety bonds. Common types of surety bonds include commercial surety bonds and contract surety bonds.  Suretyship is an integral part of the functioning of government and commerce. In many complex endeavors involving risk, a need exists to have a third party assure the performance or obligations of one party to another party. Surety companies are the “third parties” that provide such financial assurances in return for premium payments.  Surety bonds are provided in government bidding and contracting processes as well as for individuals obtaining various government licenses and for individuals and businesses entering into apartment and office lease rentals.  Various types of bonds are designed to insure that when a contractor bids on a project, and is awarded the project, that the project is completed for the amount of the bid, and that the contractors pay their subcontractors and suppliers.

 

Surety bonds are regulated by state insurance departments. Surety insurance companies operate on a different business model than traditional casualty insurance. Surety is designed to prevent a loss.  Though some losses do occur, surety premiums do not contain large provisions for loss payment. The surety takes only those risks which its underwriting experience indicates are reasonable to assume based on its underlying experience. This service is for qualified individuals or businesses whose affairs require a guarantor.  The surety views its underwriting as a form of credit, much like a lending arrangement, and places its emphasis on the qualifications of the prime contractor or subcontractor to fulfill its obligations successfully, examining the contractor’s credit history, financial strength, experience, work in progress and management capability. After the surety assesses such factors, it makes a determination as to the appropriateness and the amount, if any, of surety credit.

 

Surety insurers are highly regulated and scrutinized, through legal requirements for regular financial, market conduct and operational audits, and other means, in order to conduct business in the estimated $6.9 billion surety market, based on 2020 industry reports. Most surety companies, in turn, distribute surety bonds through licensed surety bond producers, licensed business professionals who have specialized knowledge of surety products, the surety market, and the business strategies and underwriting differences among sureties. A bond producer can serve as an objective, external resource for evaluating a construction firm’s capabilities and, where necessary, can suggest improvements to help the construction firm meet a surety company’s underwriting requirements.  Bond producers compete based on their experience, reputation, and ability to issue bonds on behalf of sureties. In addition to acquiring UCS, we have acquired five surety brokerage firms, The Warnock Agency, Inc., which we refer to as “Warnock,” Surety Support Services, Inc., which we refer to as “SSS,” Freestate Bonds, Inc., which we refer to as “Freestate,” South Coast Surety Insurance Services, LLC, which we refer to as “SCS,” and American Contracting Services, Inc., which we refer to as “ACS.” UCS and these brokerage firms provide us with both premium and commission revenue streams.

 

Broadband Services. Our AireBeam, Utah Broadband and FFH businesses provide fiber connectivity to homes, business and community organizations in certain markets in Arizona, Utah and other locales. Driven by the rising demand for higher bandwidth and faster speed connections for a variety of industrial and residential purposes, fiber optic transmission is becoming more and more common in modern society. Fiber optic cables have a much greater bandwidth than metal cables. The significantly higher amount of information that can be transmitted per unit time of fiber over other transmission media is its most significant advantage.  Also, an optical fiber offers low power loss, which allows for longer transmission distances. Fiber optic is generally less susceptible to electromagnetic interference, has greater capacity and weighs less than traditional metal wire connections. Also, fiber optic is made of glass, which can provide certain cost advantages over traditional copper wire. Optical fiber is more difficult and expensive to install than copper wire and special equipment is required to test optical fiber. Fiber optic is also highly susceptible to becoming cut or damaged during installation or construction activities. We believe that the demand for broadband services has increased significantly since the COVID pandemic began and that this demand will continue to grow as more businesses and consumers rely on remote connectivity for work, learning, telehealth and other connectivity needs and as new technologies expand the ability to digitally share information and services.

 

7

 

Business Overview and Strategy

 

Since present management took over in February 2015, we have engaged in (i) acquisitions and minority investments in outdoor billboard advertising, surety insurance, broadband service providers, commercial real estate services, homebuilding and a bank holding company, (ii) purchases of publicly traded equity securities and (iii) in October 2020 served as the sponsor for an initial public offering for Yellowstone and its subsequent business combination with Sky in January 2022. Our strategy focuses on investing in companies and lines of business that have consistently demonstrated earnings power over time, with attractive pre-tax historical returns on tangible equity capital, and that we believe are available at a reasonable price.

 

 

Since present management took over in 2015 and as of December 31, 2021, our acquisitions and operations have been funded by equity investments, including our 2017 public offering, our two “at the market” offerings and our 2020 public offering pursuant to our shelf registration statement, private placements, and debt conversions totaling over $482 million.

 

 

In addition, in August 2019, our Link subsidiary entered into a bank term loan and revolving credit agreement under which Link and its subsidiaries borrowed approximately $18 million secured by the assets of Link and its subsidiaries and may borrow additional sums under the agreement. In August 2020, additional sums in the amount of $5.5 million were committed under the loan agreement and in August 2021 the term loan was increased to $30 million.

 

 

We have used a portion of these proceeds from these financings to acquire outdoor billboard assets in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. We expect to continue to seek additional acquisitions in out-of-home advertising when they can be made at what we believe to be attractive prices relative to other opportunities generally available to us. We believe the billboard business offers the potential to provide a durable and growing cash flow stream over time.  In addition, we believe multiple opportunities could exist in time for the industry at large including but not limited to: supply limitations, demand growth, opportunity to convert static billboard faces to digital applications when the economics are favorable, opportunity to purchase perpetual easements or land beneath our structures, and the low relative cost per impression of the advertising medium. 

 

 

We have also used the proceeds of these financings to organize GIG and to complete the acquisitions of Warnock, SSS, Freestate, SCS and ACS, all surety insurance brokerage firms, and to complete the acquisition of UCS, a surety insurance company.

 

 

In March 2020, we acquired substantially all of the assets of FibAire, a broadband service provider located in Arizona, and in December 2020 we acquired substantially all of the assets of UBB, a broadband service provider located in Utah.

 

 

To date, we have invested $19 million in the parent company of Crescent, a bank providing retail and business banking services in the subprime automobile lending market.

 

 

We have previously invested $22 million in equity financing in DFH, of which $12 million was in preferred stock which was redeemed in 2020. DFH is a national homebuilder that also provides related services and completed an IPO in January 2021.

 

 

We have also made an investment in a commercial real estate management services company headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, a related real estate asset management company, and shorter-term investments in a Nevada company that invests in commercial retail centers and two residential real estate development projects in Colorado.

 

 

In 2020, we sponsored and invested approximately $7.8 million in Yellowstone in common stock and warrants and subsequently invested an additional $100 million through the purchase of shares of Class A common stock of Sky in connection with the Sky business combination.

 

 

In addition, from time to time, we invest a portion of our available cash in public equity securities and shorter-term debt securities. In addition to our existing business lines, we are actively reviewing opportunities to acquire businesses in new fields which have the potential to provide durable revenues, broad customer bases and where ideally the target's business benefits from some business, legal or financial barriers to entry from future competitors.

 

We source acquisitions both internally via phone calls, research or mailings, business relationships developed over time and also by receipt of target acquisition opportunities from a number of brokers and other professionals. We seek acquisitions consistent with our growth strategy, but there can be no assurance that we will consummate acquisitions pursuant to outstanding letters of intent or acquire any additional billboard assets, surety brokerage firms, broadband service providers, or minority investments in any other businesses. Furthermore, our acquisitions are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including as to when, whether, and to what extent the anticipated benefits and cost savings of a particular acquisition will be realized. We are also seeking opportunities to acquire other businesses or a significant interest in existing businesses. We look to acquire businesses in their entirety that have consistently demonstrated earnings power over time, with attractive pretax historical returns on tangible equity capital, and that are available at a reasonable price.  However, we may consider minority positions and stock issuances when the economics are favorable. In certain circumstances, we may enter lines of business directly when the opportunities and economics of doing so are favorable in comparison to acquisitions.

 

8

 

Outdoor Billboard Advertising. We seek to capitalize on our growing network and diversified geographical and product mix to grow revenues. We believe the outdoor advertising business offers attractive industry fundamentals which we hope to utilize and leverage as we plan to continue to grow our presence in the United States. We hope that our growing presence will be an attractive tool in identifying and attracting both local and national advertisers. We work with our customers to enable them to better understand how our billboards can successfully reach their target audiences and promote their advertising campaigns. Our long-term strategy for our outdoor advertising businesses includes pursuing digital display opportunities where appropriate, while simultaneously utilizing traditional methods of displaying outdoor advertisements, and with a goal of consolidating fragmented markets where applicable.

 

Digital displays offer the opportunity to link electronic displays through centralized computer systems to change advertising copy instantaneously and simultaneously on a large number of displays. The ability to change copy by time of day and quickly change messaging based on advertisers’ needs creates additional flexibility for our customers. However, digital displays require more capital to construct and maintain compared to traditional bulletins and increase the supply of advertising faces in a market. We currently deploy 80 digital billboards.

 

Our local production staffs provide many of our customers a range of services required to create and install advertising copy. Production work includes creating the advertising copy design and layout, coordinating its printing with outside printing firms and installing the copy on the billboard face.  We provide creative services to smaller advertisers and to advertisers not represented by advertising agencies.  National advertisers often use preprinted designs that require only installation.  Our creative and production personnel typically develop new designs or adapt copy from other media for use on our inventory.  Our creative staff also can assist in the development of marketing presentations, demonstrations, and strategies to attract new clients.

 

We typically own the physical structures on which our clients’ advertising copy is displayed. We acquire new structures from third parties on sites we either lease or own or for which we have acquired permanent easements. We generally have limited or no responsibilities to maintain the land on which the billboard is sited. The site lease terms generally range from one to 20 years and often come with renewal options or exist in areas where we believe that regulations make it probable a new lease will be signed prior to expiration on similar economic terms to existing leases.  In addition to the site lease, we usually need to obtain a permit to build and operate the sign. Permits are typically issued in perpetuity by the state or local government and typically are transferable or renewable for a minimal or no fee. Traditional bulletin and poster advertising copy is printed with computer generated graphics to form a single sheet of vinyl.  These advertisements are then transported to the site and wrapped around the face of the structure. Our billboard lease costs in 2021 and 2020 were $6,458,703 and $6,119,523respectively.

 

Insurance Operations. UCS has specialized in providing surety bonds since 1989. UCS is an authorized insurance carrier rated A- (“Excellent”) by A.M. Best and is approved by the United States Department of the Treasury (570 Circular). UCS is currently licensed to conduct business in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to issuing traditional construction bonds for contractors and subcontractors, UCS offers a wide array of miscellaneous, license and permit bonds that protect consumers from the business activities of our customers or provide assurance to counterparties that our insureds will fulfill licensure requirements or faithfully remit monies owed.  We also operate ACS, SCS and Warnock, brokers with clients nationwide, and SSS, another surety insurance brokerage with clients concentrated in several Midwestern states.

 

We seek to reduce our risk by limiting policy amounts, following extensive underwriting processes, reviewing dashboards of critical metrics, and purchasing reinsurance coverage. Our underwriting process considers a number of factors, including the financial health of the customer, the customer’s operating history, the type of obligation, the geographic territory where the contract is being issued, the language of the bond and the subject contract, and, if appropriate, a customer’s pledge of collateral to reduce the risk in the event of a default. Historically, claims on surety bonds are limited by the extensive underwriting analysis undertaken before a risk is agreed to, forms of security provided upon the bond’s issuance, and by the legal ability to pursue the customer obtaining the surety bond for recovery of amounts paid due to a claim. A significant portion of our business in 2019 and 2020 was selling bonds securing rental payments due to landlords, primarily in the greater New York city area.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we suspended issuing these surety bonds. A surety’s right of indemnification contrasts with property and casualty, or life insurance coverages, where no such recovery right exists. Unlike other insurance, surety insurance losses are commonly limited by the indemnity obligations of the insured, collateral provided by the insured at the time of issuance, or the insurance company’s contractual right to uncollected funds from construction projects on which it has issued a bond and steps in for the insured.

 

Broadband Services. We seek to capitalize on the growing demand for rural internet access and increased bandwidth capacity as the economy shifts towards increased consumer demand and telecommuting work arrangements. AireBeam and Utah Broadband operate in several underserved communities in Arizona and Utah that need higher speed and greater internet capacity. Our strategy is to grow our presence in the rural broadband business as we expect many more communities to demand increasingly more bandwidth to their homes and businesses than their current service offering can reliably provide. Within certain markets, we believe that fiber-to-the-home has the potential to be a long-lived asset that fits into our objective to invest in what we believe are durable businesses that have the potential to achieve favorable after-tax returns on invested capital. Recent studies suggest that a large proportion of homes in the United States have not connected to high-speed broadband services as their communities lack all-fiber connectivity. We believe that the combination of the rural broadband business models of FibAire and Utah Broadband we acquired together with our stronger balance sheet provides a competitive platform to bring fiber-to-the-home to additional communities in Arizona and Utah and other similarly situated communities in other states. We have already entered into contracts with home builders to bring fiber-to-the-home in large residential developments currently under construction and expect to expand this to additional developments in the future. We believe that the fiber-to-the-home market shares similar qualities with our billboard and surety insurance markets in providing a diversified customer base in markets which impose some obstacles to competitors. We also believe that many broadband systems are owned by a significant number of small operators which may be interested in being acquired, providing us the potential for continued future growth in the broadband internet provider market.

 

9

 

Competition

 

Outdoor Billboard Advertising. The outdoor advertising industry in the United States consists of several large companies, and three companies, Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc., Outfront Media, Inc. and Lamar Advertising Company, own a majority of all outdoor billboards.  These companies are estimated to generate more than 50% of the industry’s total revenues and several industry sources estimate that there are many other smaller companies serving the remainder of the market, providing a potentially significant source of billboards which may be acquired in the future. Part of our strategy is to acquire certain of the smaller and medium sized competitors in markets we deem desirable to advertisers. We also compete with other advertising media in our respective markets, including broadcast and cable television, radio, print media, direct mail, online and other forms of advertisement. Outdoor advertising companies compete primarily based on their ability to reach consumers, which is driven by location of the display.

 

Insurance Operations. Our insurance business operates in an environment that is highly competitive and very fragmented. We compete with other global insurance and reinsurance providers, including but not limited to Travelers, Liberty Mutual, Zurich Insurance Group, Lloyds, and CNA Insurance Group, as well as numerous specialist, regional and local firms in almost every area of our business. These companies may market and service their insurance products through intermediaries, or directly without the assistance of brokers or agents. We also compete with other businesses that do not fall into the categories above that provide risk-related services and products.

 

Broadband Services. Our broadband services businesses provide high-speed internet connectivity and are aimed at rural and other underserved communities that need higher speed and greater internet capacity. In the future, leading cable operators, such as Comcast, Charter Communications and Altice USA, and other competitors may seek to enter the markets we serve.  In addition, we may face competition from 5G in the home and other services incorporating new technologies. Technological changes are further intensifying and may challenge existing business models. Our internet services are expected to compete with wireless phone companies, satellite and other broadband providers as well as wireline phone companies and other providers of wireline internet service and others seeking to build fiber-based network infrastructure.

 

Employees

 

As of March 1, 2022, we had 256 employees, of which 90 were in billboard operations, 112 were in broadband operations, 49 were in insurance services and five were in administrative or corporate related activities. Of the 256 employees, four employees in broadband operations, two employees in insurance services, and one employee in administrative or corporate related activities were part time. The rest of our employees were full time. None of our employees are subject to collective bargaining agreements. We believe that our relationship with our employees is good.

 

Information Systems

 

We rely on our information systems to manage our daily business activities, interact with customers and vendors, manage our digital billboard displays, and market our services. We have outsourced certain technology and business process functions to third parties and may increasingly do so in the future. We have also hired individuals responsible for maintaining and improving our information systems and for developing systems to protect both our information and that of our customers. In order to reduce the risk of unintended disclosure of customer information, our separate business groups operate different information systems for their customer interactions. Our outsourcing of certain technology and business process functions to third parties and our reliance on our use of our information systems may expose us to increased risk related to data security, service disruptions or the effectiveness of our control system. We also maintain certain levels of insurance designed to provide some coverage in the event of any damages arising from a breach of our computer security systems.

 

10

 

Regulation of Our Advertising Business

 

The outdoor advertising industry in the United States is subject to governmental regulation at the federal, state and local levels. These regulations may include, among others, restrictions on the construction, repair, maintenance, lighting, upgrading, height, size, spacing and location and permitting of and, in some instances, content of advertising copy being displayed on outdoor advertising structures. We generally do not incur material costs related to compliance with environmental laws in our advertising business.

 

From time to time, legislation has been introduced attempting to impose taxes on revenue from outdoor advertising or for the right to use outdoor advertising assets. Several jurisdictions have imposed such taxes as a percentage of our outdoor advertising revenue generated in that jurisdiction.  In addition, some jurisdictions have taxed our personal property and leasehold interests in advertising locations using various valuation methodologies.  In certain circumstances, such as our current Tampa operations, when we lease space from a governmental authority, we may enter into revenue sharing agreements with the authority, and in other circumstances we will manage third party billboards in connection with revenue sharing agreements.  We expect jurisdictions to continue to try to impose such taxes and other fees as a way of increasing revenue.  In recent years, outdoor advertising also has become the subject of targeted taxes and fees.  These laws may affect prevailing competitive conditions in our markets in a variety of ways.  Such laws may reduce our expansion opportunities or may increase or reduce competitive pressure from other members of the outdoor advertising industry.  No assurance can be given that existing or future laws or regulations, and the enforcement thereof, will not materially and adversely affect the outdoor advertising industry. 

 

In the United States, federal law, principally the Highway Beautification Act, which we refer to as the “HBA,” regulates outdoor advertising on Federal-Aid Primary, Interstate and National Highway Systems roads within the United States, which we refer to as “controlled roads.” The HBA regulates the size and placement of billboards, requires the development of state standards, mandates a state’s compliance program, promotes the expeditious removal of illegal signs and requires just compensation for takings.

 

To satisfy the HBA’s requirements, all states have passed billboard control statutes and regulations that regulate, among other things, construction, repair, maintenance, lighting, height, size, spacing and the placement and permitting of outdoor advertising structures.  We are not aware of any state that has passed control statutes and regulations less restrictive than the prevailing federal requirements on the federal highway system, including the requirement that an owner remove any non-grandfathered, non-compliant signs along the controlled roads, at the owner’s expense and without compensation.  Local governments generally also include billboard control as part of their zoning laws and building codes regulating those items described above and include similar provisions regarding the removal of non-grandfathered structures that do not comply with certain of the local requirements. 

 

As part of their billboard control laws, state and local governments regulate the construction of new signs.  Some jurisdictions prohibit new construction, some jurisdictions allow new construction only to replace or relocate existing structures and some jurisdictions allow new construction subject to the various restrictions discussed above.  In certain jurisdictions, restrictive regulations also limit our ability to relocate, rebuild, repair, maintain, upgrade, modify or replace existing legal non-conforming billboards.

 

U.S. federal law neither requires nor prohibits the removal of existing lawful billboards, but it does mandate the payment of compensation if a state or political subdivision compels the removal of a lawful billboard along the controlled roads.  In the past, state governments have purchased and removed existing lawful billboards for beautification purposes using federal funding for transportation enhancement programs, and these jurisdictions may continue to do so in the future. From time to time, state and local government authorities use the power of eminent domain and amortization to remove billboards.  Amortization is the required removal of legal non-conforming billboards (billboards which conformed with applicable laws and regulations when built, but which do not conform to current laws and regulations) or the commercial advertising placed on such billboards after a period of years. Pursuant to this concept, the governmental body asserts that just compensation is earned by continued operation of the billboard over that period of time. Although amortization is prohibited along all controlled roads, amortization has been upheld along non-controlled roads in limited instances where permitted by state and local law. 

 

We may expand the deployment of digital billboards in markets and in specific locations we deem appropriate and where the placement of these digital displays is permitted by government agencies regulating their locations. We are aware of some existing regulations in the U.S. that restrict or prohibit these types of digital displays.  However, since digital technology for changing static copy has only recently been developed and introduced into the market on a large scale, and is in the process of being introduced more broadly, existing regulations that currently do not apply to digital technology by their terms could be revised to impose greater restrictions. These regulations, or actions by third parties, may impose greater restrictions on digital billboards due to alleged concerns over aesthetics or driver safety.

 

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 Regulation of Our Insurance Business

 

GIG and its subsidiaries transact their insurance business in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia and are subject to regulation in the various states and jurisdictions in which they operate. The extent of regulation varies, but generally derives from statutes that delegate regulatory, supervisory and administrative authority to a department of insurance in each state and jurisdiction. The regulation, supervision and administration relate, among other things, to standards of solvency that must be met and maintained, the licensing of insurers and their agents, the nature of and limitations on investments, premium rates, restrictions on the size of risks that may be insured under a single policy, reserves and provisions for unearned premiums, losses and other obligations, deposits of securities for the benefit of policyholders, approval of policy forms and the regulation of market conduct, including the use of credit information in underwriting as well as other underwriting and claims practices. State insurance departments also conduct periodic examinations of the financial condition and market conduct of insurance companies and require the filing of financial and other reports on a quarterly and annual basis.  Nebraska, the state of domicile for UCS, may also limit the payment of dividends from UCS to GIG and us and, as a result, to our stockholders if and when we declare a dividend from the operations of UCS and/or GIG and its other operating subsidiaries.

 

GIG and its subsidiaries and/or certain of our designated employees must be licensed to act as agents, brokers and intermediaries by state regulatory authorities in the locations in which we conduct business. Regulations and licensing laws vary by individual state location and are often complex. The applicable licensing laws and regulations in all states are subject to amendment or reinterpretation by regulatory authorities, and such authorities are vested in most cases with relatively broad discretion as to the granting, revocation, suspension and renewal of licenses. We endeavor to monitor the licensing of GIG, its subsidiaries and our employees, but the possibility exists that GIG and its subsidiaries and/or certain of our designated employees could be excluded or temporarily suspended from carrying on some or all of our activities or could otherwise be subjected to penalties by a particular jurisdiction.

 

Rate and Rule Approvals. GIG’s domestic insurance subsidiaries are subject to each state’s laws and regulations regarding rate, form, and rule approvals. The applicable laws and regulations generally establish standards to ensure that rates are not excessive, inadequate, unfairly discriminatory or used to engage in unfair price competition. An insurer’s ability to adjust rates and the relative timing of the process is dependent upon each state’s requirements. Many states have enacted variations of competitive ratemaking laws, which allow insurers to set certain premium rates for certain classes of insurance without having to obtain the prior approval of the state insurance department.

 

Requirements for Exiting Geographic Markets and/or Canceling or Nonrenewing PoliciesSeveral states have laws and regulations which may impact the timing and/or the ability of an insurer to either discontinue or substantially reduce its writings in that state. These laws and regulations typically require prior notice, and in some instances insurance department approval, prior to discontinuing a line of business or withdrawing from that state, and they allow insurers to cancel or non-renew certain policies only for certain specified reasons.

 

Insurance Regulatory Information SystemThe National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which we refer to as “NAIC,” developed the Insurance Regulatory Information System, which we refer to as “IRIS,” to help state regulators identify companies that may require regulatory attention. Financial examiners review annual financial statements and the results of key financial ratios based on year-end data with the goal of identifying insurers that appear to require immediate regulatory attention. Each ratio has an established “usual range” of results. A ratio result falling outside the usual range, however, is not necessarily considered adverse; rather, unusual values are used as part of the regulatory early monitoring system. Furthermore, in some years, it may not be unusual for financially sound companies to have several ratios with results outside the usual ranges. Generally, an insurance company may become subject to regulatory scrutiny or, depending on the company’s financial condition, regulatory action if certain of its key IRIS ratios fall outside the usual ranges and the insurer’s financial condition is trending downward.

 

Risk-Based Capital RequirementsThe NAIC has a risk-based capital, which we refer to as “RBC,” requirement for most property and casualty insurance companies, which determines minimum capital requirements and is intended to raise the level of protection for policyholder obligations. UCS is subject to these NAIC RBC requirements based on laws that have been adopted by individual states. These requirements subject insurers having policyholders’ surplus less than that required by the RBC calculation to varying degrees of regulatory action, depending on the level of capital inadequacy.

 

Investment Regulation. Insurance company investments must comply with applicable laws and regulations which prescribe the kind, quality and concentration of investments. In general, these laws and regulations permit investments in federal, state and municipal obligations, corporate bonds, certain preferred and common equity securities, mortgage loans, real estate and certain other investments, subject to specified limits and certain other qualifications. If certain investments fail to meet these criteria, these investments may be excluded or limited in calculating our compliance in meeting these and other testing criteria.

 

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Regulation of Our Broadband Business

 

Many but not all of our services and networks are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, which we refer to as the “FCC”, and by state and local governments. Whether our networks or our services are regulated or unregulated depends on numerous factors, including but not limited to whether we offer telecommunications service, as defined in state and federal laws, or cable service. The construction and maintenance of our fiber optic networks may face local regulation that can adversely impact the timing or our deployment.  Certain of our services that are provided via wireless transmission require FCC licenses and our local video and other services often require local government franchises, which we refer to as "franchises." The local franchises often impose certain obligations to build out the network and require payment of fees to the local government, which fees are often are based on a percentage of gross revenues. In private communities and mobile home parks, we may be required to obtain the consent of the homeowners association or other property owners to provide services, and we often have to pay a fee to obtain access to the property and provide our services. Finally, to deploy our networks, we frequently must obtain agreements from local power utilities to use their poles and in some cases easements from landowners.

 

Acquisition and Financing Strategy

 

Acquisition Selection. Our management will have broad discretion in identifying and selecting prospective target acquisitions.  In evaluating a prospective target acquisition, our management will consider, among other factors, the following:  

 

 

Management’s understanding of the business and its competitive environment;

 

 

Management’s view of the business durability, capital intensity, and prospective returns on the capital employed over time;

 

 

Management’s assessment of the financial attractiveness of a particular target relative to other available targets; and

 

 

Capital requirements and management’s assessment of the ability to finance a particular target.

 

Issuance of senior and additional securities. To the extent that our Board of Directors determines to obtain additional capital, it may issue debt or equity securities.  Existing stockholders have no preemptive rights to common or preferred stock issued in any securities offering by us, and any such offering might cause a dilution of a stockholder’s investment in our Company. 

 

We have raised over $410 million in net proceeds through underwritten public offerings conducted in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021, our 2018 Private Placement, and through at the market offerings conducted between 2018 and 2021.

 

Borrowing of money. On August 12, 2019, Link entered into a Credit Agreement (the “Credit Agreement”) with First National Bank of Omaha (the “Lender”) under which Link could borrow up to $40 million (the “Credit Facility”). The Credit Agreement provided for an initial term loan (“Term Loan 1”), an incremental term loan (“Term Loan 2”) and a revolving line of credit. Link initially borrowed approximately $18 million under Term Loan 1 and $5.5 million under Term Loan 2. On December 6, 2021, Link entered into a Fourth Amendment to Credit Agreement (the "Fourth Amendment"), which modified the Credit Agreement by increasing the borrowing limit to $30 million and combining the outstanding balances under Term Loan 1 and Term Loan 2 as well as any incremental borrowings into a term loan ("Term Loan"). The Term Loan is secured by all assets of Link and its operating subsidiaries, including a pledge of equity interests of each of Link’s subsidiaries. In addition, each of Link’s subsidiaries has joined as a guarantor to the obligations under the Credit Agreement. These loans are not guaranteed by Boston Omaha or any of our non-billboard businesses.

 

Principal amounts under the Term Loan are payable in monthly installments according to a 15-year amortization schedule with principal payments commencing on January 1, 2022. The Term Loan is payable in full on December 6, 2028. During the first three years of the Term Loan, Link may prepay up to 10% of the loan principal in each year without paying any prepayment penalty. Otherwise, there is a prepayment penalty ranging between 3.0% and 0.5%. After three years, there is no prepayment penalty. The Term Loan has a fixed interest rate of 4.00% per annum.

 

The revolving line of credit loan facility has a $5 million maximum availability. Interest payments are based on the U.S. Prime Rate minus an applicable margin ranging between 0.65% and 1.15% dependent on Link’s consolidated leverage ratio. The revolving line of credit is due and payable on August 12, 2023.

 

Long-term debt included within our consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2021 consists of Link’s Term Loan borrowings of $30,000,000, of which $1,490,427 is classified as current. There were no amounts outstanding related to the revolving line of credit as of December 31, 2021.  

 

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Under the Term Loan, Link is required to comply with the following financial covenants: A consolidated leverage ratio for any test period ending on the last day of any fiscal quarter of Link (a) beginning with the fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2021 of not greater than 3.50 to 1.00, (b) beginning with the fiscal quarter ending December 31, 2022 of not greater than 3.25 to 1.00 and (c) beginning with the fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2023 and thereafter of not greater than 3.00 to 1.00. A minimum consolidated fixed charge coverage ratio of not less than 1.15 to 1.00 measured quarterly, based on rolling four quarters. The Company was in compliance with these covenants as of December 31, 2021.

 

The Credit Agreement includes representations and warranties, reporting covenants, affirmative covenants, negative covenants, financial covenants and events of default customary for financings of this type. Upon the occurrence of an event of default the Lender may accelerate the loan. Upon the occurrence of certain insolvency and bankruptcy events of default the loan will automatically accelerate.

 

As of December 31, 2021, we had approximately $73 million in unrestricted cash and $88 million in short-term treasury securities. We also expect to continue to sell additional shares of our Class A common stock in the “at the market” offering if we deem the pricing attractive relative to our potential uses of capital. We currently expect that our current cash will be sufficient to fund existing operations for at least the next 12 months. Depending on the amount of significant acquisitions and investments we make, we may need to raise additional financing to make additional acquisitions and/or investments and expect to file a new shelf registration statement.

 

We may in the future use a number of different sources to finance our acquisitions and operations, including cash flows from operations, seller financing, private financings (such as bank credit facilities, which may or may not be secured by our assets), additional common or preferred equity issuances or any combination of these sources, to the extent available to us, or other sources that may become available from time to time, which could include asset sales and issuance of debt securities. Any debt that we incur may be recourse or non-recourse and may be secured or unsecured. We also may take advantage of joint venture or other partnering opportunities as such opportunities arise in order to acquire properties that would otherwise be unavailable to us.

 

We may use the proceeds of any future borrowings to acquire assets or for general corporate purposes. We expect to use leverage on terms we find attractive, assessing the appropriateness of new equity or debt capital based on market conditions, including assumptions regarding future cash flow, the creditworthiness of customers and future rental rates.  Our certificate of incorporation, which, as amended from time to time, we refer to as our “certificate of incorporation” and bylaws, which, as amended from time to time, we refer to as our “bylaws,” do not limit the amount of debt that we may incur. Our Board of Directors has not adopted a policy limiting the total amount of debt that we may incur. Our Board of Directors will consider a number of factors in evaluating the amount of debt that we may incur. If we adopt a debt policy, our Board of Directors may from time to time modify such policy in light of then-current economic conditions, relative costs of debt and equity capital, market values of our properties, general conditions in the market for debt and equity securities, fluctuations in the market price of our common stock if then trading on any exchange, growth and acquisition opportunities and other factors.  Our decision to use leverage in the future to finance our assets will be at our discretion and will not be subject to the approval of our stockholders, and we are not restricted by our governing documents or otherwise in the amount of leverage that we may use.

 

Purchase and sale (or turnover) of acquired businesses. We do not currently intend to dispose of any of our properties in the near future as our strategy is to acquire assets which have the potential to generate significant cash flow over an extended period of time.  However, we reserve the right to do so if, based upon management’s periodic review of our portfolio, our Board of Directors determines that such action would be in our best interest.

 

Offering of securities in exchange for property. We may in the future issue shares of common stock in connection with acquisitions of other businesses.  For issuances of shares in connection with acquisitions, our Board of Directors will determine the timing and size of the issuances.  Our Board of Directors intends to use its reasonable business judgment to fulfill its fiduciary obligations to our then existing stockholders in connection with any such issuance, including its determination of whether the issuance is accretive to intrinsic value. Nonetheless, future issuances of additional shares could cause immediate and substantial dilution to the net tangible book value of shares of our Class A common stock issued and outstanding immediately before such transaction. In addition, we may have sellers rollover a portion of their equity holdings into an equity holding in the newly acquired business. In those situations, we may provide the seller with an option to put its holding to us and similarly, we may have an option to purchase the rollover equity stake. Any future decrease in the net tangible book value of such issued and outstanding shares could materially and adversely affect the market value of shares of our Class A common stock

 

Available Information

 

You can find more information about us at our Internet website located at www.bostonomaha.com. Our Annual Report on Form 10-K, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to those reports are available free of charge through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish such material to, the SEC. The contents of our website are not deemed to be part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any of our other filings with the SEC.

 

We file annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and other information with the SEC. The SEC also maintains a website that contains these reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers, including us, that file electronically with the SEC. The address of that site is https://www.sec.gov.

 

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Item 1A. Risk Factors.

 

An investment in shares of our common stock is highly speculative and involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider all of the risks discussed below, as well as the other information contained in this Annual Report. If any of the following risks or uncertainties actually occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flow and prospects could be materially adversely affected. Additional risks or uncertainties not currently known to us, or that we deem immaterial, may also have a material adverse effect on our business financial condition, results of operations or prospects. We cannot assure you that any of the events discussed in the risk factors below will not occur. In that case, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline and you may lose all or a part of your investment.

 

Risks Related to the Company and Our Business

 

We have incurred losses from operations since inception and we anticipate that we will continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future.

 

We have incurred losses from operations in each year since our formation in 2009. Our net loss from operations for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020 was $23.8 million and $5.0 million, respectively. We have funded our operations to date principally from the sale of securities. In addition, as we acquire other businesses, we incur ongoing depreciation and amortization charges, which are typically spread over a number of years, as well as the costs of completing such acquisitions, which are expensed as incurred. For these reasons, we may continue to incur significant losses. These losses, among other things, have had and will continue to have an adverse effect on our stockholders’ equity and working capital and we cannot assure you that we will be able to be successful in implementing our business strategy.

 

Our failure to successfully identify and complete future acquisitions of assets or businesses could reduce future potential earnings, reduce available cash and slow our anticipated growth.

 

The acquisition of assets or businesses that we believe to be valuable to our business is an important component to our business strategy. Our experience in acquiring companies has been relatively limited to date. We believe that a wide variety of acquisition opportunities may arise from time to time, and that any such acquisition could be significant. At any given time, discussions with one or more potential sellers may be at different stages, including negotiations following the execution of nonbinding letters of intent. However, any such discussions, including the execution of nonbinding letters of intent, may not result in the consummation of an acquisition transaction, and we may not be able to identify or complete any acquisitions. The costs and benefits of future acquisitions are uncertain. In addition, the market and industry reception to our acquisitions, or lack thereof, may not be positive, and is out of our control. We cannot predict the effect, if any, that any announcement or consummation of an acquisition would have on the trading price of our Class A common stock. If we identify appropriate acquisition targets, we may be unable to acquire businesses on terms that we consider acceptable due to a variety of factors, including competition from other strategic buyers or financial buyers, some of which may have more experience or more access to capital than we do.

 

Our business is capital intensive and any such transactions could involve the payment by us of a substantial amount of cash. We may need to raise additional capital through public or private debt or equity financings to execute our growth strategy and to fund acquisitions. Adequate sources of capital may not be available when needed on acceptable terms, or at all. If we raise additional capital by issuing additional equity securities, existing stockholders may be diluted. Acquisitions could also result in us incurring additional debt and contingent liabilities and fluctuations in quarterly results and expenses. If our capital resources are insufficient at any time in the future, we may be unable to fund acquisitions, take advantage of business opportunities or respond to competitive pressures, any of which could harm our business.

 

Any future acquisitions could present a number of risks, including but not limited to the risk of using management time and resources to pursue acquisitions that are not successfully completed, the risk of incorrect assumptions regarding future results of acquired operations, and the risk of diversion of management’s attention from existing operations or other priorities. Future acquisitions can also be expected to generate additional depreciation and amortization charges which may contribute to losses. Acquisitions may never meet our expectations.

 

If we are unsuccessful in identifying and completing acquisitions of other operations or assets, our financial condition could be adversely affected and we may be unable to implement an important component of our business strategy successfully.

 

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We may have difficulty integrating the operations of companies or businesses that we may acquire and may incur substantial costs in connection therewith.

 

A significant component of our growth strategy is the acquisition of other operations. The process of integrating the operations of an acquired company may create unforeseen operating difficulties and expenditures. The key areas where we may face risks and uncertainties include:

 

 

disruption of ongoing business, diversion of resources and of management time and focus from operating our business to acquisitions and integration challenges;

 

 

our ability to achieve anticipated benefits of acquisitions by successfully marketing the service offerings of acquired businesses to our existing partners and customers, or by successfully marketing our existing service offerings to customers and partners of acquired businesses;

 

 

the negative impact of acquisitions on our results of operations as a result of large one-time charges, substantial debt or liabilities acquired or incurred, litigation, amortization or write down of amounts related to deferred compensation, goodwill and other intangible assets, or adverse tax consequences, substantial depreciation or deferred compensation charges;

 

 

the inability to generate sufficient revenue to offset acquisition costs;

 

 

the need to ensure that we comply with all regulatory requirements in connection with and following the completion of acquisitions;

 

 

the possibility of acquiring unknown or unanticipated contingencies or liabilities;

 

 

retaining employees and clients and otherwise preserving the value of the assets of the businesses we acquire;

 

 

the need to integrate each acquired business’s accounting, information technology, human resource and other administrative systems to permit effective management; and

 

 

the need to implement or remediate appropriate controls, procedures and policies at companies that, prior to the acquisition, lacked these controls, procedures and policies.

 

In order to achieve the growth we seek, we may acquire numerous smaller market participants, which could require significant attention from management and increase risks, costs and uncertainties associated with integration. The businesses and other assets we acquire in the future may not achieve sufficient revenue or profitability to justify our investment, and any difficulties we may encounter in the integration process could interfere with our operations and reduce operating margins. We may need to make substantial capital and operating expenditures which may negatively impact our results in the near term, and the acquisitions may never meet our expectations.

 

Some members of our executive management team have limited experience in the day-to-day operations of the industries in which our businesses operate.

 

Some members of our executive management team have been involved in the day-to-day operation of companies in the outdoor billboard and insurance industries for only six to seven years and in the fiber to the home business for only one to two years. In addition, we may have limited or no operational experience in other industries and markets which we may choose to enter. Our management team relies on the knowledge and talent of the employees in our operating subsidiaries to successfully operate these businesses on a day-to-day basis. We may not be able to retain, hire or train personnel as quickly or efficiently as we need or on terms that are acceptable to us.  An inability to efficiently operate our businesses would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.

 

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Increased operating expenses associated with the expansion of our business may negatively impact our operating income.

 

Increased operating expenses associated with any expansion of our business may negatively impact our income as we, among other things:

 

 

seek to acquire related businesses or expand the products being offered;

 

 

expand geographically;

 

 

make significant capital expenditures to support our ability to provide services in our existing businesses;

 

 

incur significant depreciation and amortization charges in connection with acquired businesses; and

 

 

incur increased general and administrative expenses as we grow.

 

As a result of these factors, we may not achieve, sustain or increase our profitability on an ongoing basis.

 

We could suffer losses due to asset impairment charges for goodwill and other intangible assets.

 

We annually test goodwill for impairment and did so as of October 1, 2021. Based on our review at October 1, 2021, no impairment charge was required. We continue to assess whether factors or indicators become apparent that would require an interim impairment test between our annual impairment test dates. For example, if our market capitalization is below our equity book value for a period of time without recovery, we believe there is a strong presumption that would indicate a triggering event has occurred and it is more likely than not that the fair value of one or more of our reporting units are below their carrying amount. This would require us to test the reporting units for impairment of goodwill. If this presumption cannot be overcome a reporting unit could be impaired under ASC 350, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets and a non-cash charge would be required. Any such charge could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition and results of operations.

 

We may raise additional equity capital through additional public or private placements, any of which could substantially dilute your investment.

 

We may need significant additional capital in the future to continue our planned acquisitions. No assurance can be given that we will be able to obtain such funds upon favorable terms and conditions, if at all. Failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business. To the extent we raise additional capital by issuing equity securities, our stockholders may experience substantial dilution. We may sell Class A common stock, convertible securities or other equity or convertible securities in one or more transactions that may include voting rights (including the right to vote as a series on particular matters), preferences as to dividends and liquidation, antidilution, and conversion and redemption rights, subject to applicable law, and at prices and in a manner we determine from time to time.

 

Such issuances and the exercise of any convertible securities will dilute the percentage ownership of our stockholders and may affect the value of our capital stock and could adversely affect the rights of the holders of such stock, thereby reducing the value of such stock. Moreover, any exercise of convertible securities may adversely affect the terms upon which we will be able to obtain additional equity capital, since the holders of such convertible securities can be expected to exercise them at a time when we would, in all likelihood, not be able to obtain any needed capital on terms more favorable to us than those provided in such convertible securities.

 

We may also raise additional capital pursuant to future shelf registration statements or additional public or private placements based on our capital needs. If we sell shares or other equity securities in one or more other transactions, or issue stock or stock options pursuant to any future employee equity incentive plan, investors may be materially diluted by such subsequent issuances.

 

We are currently subject to an agreement prohibiting us from reselling the Class A common stock we hold in Sky Harbour Group Corporation until certain conditions are met and may continue to be limited in the number of these shares we can resell after the expiration of the applicable lock-up period.  

 

In 2020, we acted as the sponsor for the initial public offering of Yellowstone, a SPAC. We purchased Yellowstone Class B common stock and private placement warrants at a cost of approximately $7.8 million. On August 1, 2021, Yellowstone entered into an equity purchase agreement with Sky Harbour LLC by which Sky Harbour LLC unitholders would acquire a majority interest in the combined businesses following the completion of a business combination. As part of the equity purchase agreement, and immediately prior to the completion by Sky Harbour LLC of a private activity bond financing raising $160 million in proceeds in September 2021, we purchased Class B Preferred Units in Sky Harbour LLC for a purchase price of $55 million, which Class B Preferred Units converted to 5,500,000 shares of Sky Harbour Group Corporation (“Sky”) Class A common stock upon the closing of the Sky business combination on January 25, 2022. Also, upon the closing of the Sky business combination in January 2022, we purchased an additional 4,500,000 shares of Sky Class A common stock for a purchase price of $45 million. Upon the closing of the Sky business combination, our Class B common stock converted to Class A common stock of Sky and our private placement warrants are now exercisable to purchase 7,719,779 shares of Class A common stock of Sky (the “Sky Warrants”). Each Sky Warrant is exercisable for one share of Class A common stock at a price of $11.50 per share, subject to adjustment, with each Sky Warrant being exercisable commencing on the date Sky registers the shares underlying these warrants with Sky being required to use its reasonable best efforts to have such registration statement declared effective by April 9, 2022. Our Sky Class A common stock (other than the 4,500,000 shares of Class A common stock purchased on January 25, 2022 and the Sky Warrants and the shares underlying the Sky Warrants) remain subject to a lockup, which we refer to as the "Sky Lockup Period," for a period of at least the first to occur of (A) January 25, 2023, (B) if the last sale price of SHG Corporation’s Class A common stock equals or exceeds $12.00 per share (as adjusted for stock splits, stock dividends, reorganizations, recapitalizations and the like) for any 20 trading days within any 30-trading day period commencing at least 150 days after January 25, 2022, or (C) the date on which Sky completes a liquidation, merger, capital stock exchange, reorganization or other similar transaction that results in all of the Sky stockholders having the right to exchange their shares of Class A common stock for cash, securities or other property.  Subsequent to the closing of the Sky business combination, we are distributing 75,000 shares of Sky Class A common stock to the outside directors of Yellowstone and 206,250 shares of Sky Class A common stock to an investor in the Yellowstone IPO.

 

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To date, we have invested a total of $107.8 million in Sky. In addition to the lock-up restrictions described above, our ownership of Sky Class A common stock and Sky Warrants are currently unregistered. Under the terms of various registration rights agreements with Sky, Sky is required to use its reasonable best efforts to register the Sky Class A common stock and the Sky Warrants we acquired upon the termination of the Sky Lockup Period. Depending upon a number of factors, we could be deemed to be an affiliate of Sky for purposes of Rule 144, and our ability to liquidate all or a portion of our holdings in Sky, if we are deemed to be an affiliate and in the absence of an effective registration statement for our shares, would be subject to the volume trading limitations contained in Rule 144, which generally limits our ability to sell shares in any one quarter to the greater of 1% of the issued and outstanding shares of Class A common stock or the average weekly trading volume of such shares over the four weeks preceding the date of the sale.

 

Our investments in publicly traded securities involve a substantial degree of risk.

 

In addition to our investments in privately-held companies and our investment in the Class A common stock and warrants we hold in Sky and the Class A common stock we hold in DFH, we may purchase publicly traded common stock and other equity securities, including warrants and corporate bonds. Although equity securities have historically generated higher average total returns than fixed-income securities over the long term, equity securities have also generally experienced significantly more volatility in those returns. The publicly traded securities we acquire may fail to appreciate and may decline in value or become worthless. Investments in equity securities involve a number of significant risks, including the risk of further dilution as a result of additional issuances, inability to access additional capital and failure to pay current distributions. Investments in preferred securities and corporate bonds involve special risks, such as the risk of deferred distributions, credit risk, illiquidity, changes in value based upon interest rates changes and other macroeconomic factors and limited voting rights. At December 31, 2021, we held approximately $71 million in investments in publicly traded securities. On January 25, 2021, DFH completed its initial public offering and our $10 million investment in DFH common units was converted into 4,681,099 shares of Class A common stock of DFH and one of our subsidiaries purchased an additional 120,000 shares of DFH Class A common stock at $13.00 per share in the initial public offering. At March 25, 2022, our total remaining investment in DFH, based on its closing price on such date, was valued at over $37 million, excluding the $51 million in proceeds we have already realized from the prior sale of a portion of our DFH Class A common stock. At March 25, 2022, our total investment in Sky Class A common stock, based on its closing price on such date, was valued at over $310 million and our total investment in Sky warrants, based on their closing price on such date, was valued at over $15 million. Any decrease in the value of DFH common stock before we can liquidate our holdings in DFH could materially adversely impact our operating results and our stockholders’ equity and any decrease in the value of Sky Class A common stock and Sky warrants before we can liquidate our holdings in Sky could materially adversely impact our operating results and our stockholders’ equity. Under generally accepted accounting principles, we may be required to reflect the value of our securities in publicly-traded companies at their current market value as of the end of each fiscal quarter. As a result, this mark-to-market accounting can change values for these types of securities on our balance sheet as market conditions change. Mark-to-market accounting can become volatile if market prices fluctuate greatly and changes in the fair value of investments could significantly impact our reported results.

 

We run the risk of inadvertently being deemed to be an investment company that is required to register under the Investment Company Act of 1940. 

 

We run the risk of inadvertently being deemed to be an investment company that is required to register under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “Investment Company Act”) because a significant portion of our assets consists of investments in companies in which we own less than a majority interest. The risk varies depending on events beyond our control, such as significant appreciation or depreciation in the market value of certain of our publicly traded holdings, adverse developments with respect to our ownership of certain of our subsidiaries, and transactions involving the sale of certain assets. If we are deemed to be an inadvertent investment company, we may seek to rely on a safe-harbor under the Investment Company Act that would provide us a one-year grace period to take steps to avoid being deemed to be an investment company. In order to ensure we avoid being deemed an investment company, we have taken, and may need to continue to take, steps to reduce the percentage of our assets that constitute investment assets under the Investment Company Act.  These steps have included, among others, selling marketable securities that we might otherwise hold for the long-term and deploying our cash in non-investment assets. We have recently sold marketable securities, including at times at a loss, and we may be forced to sell our investment assets at unattractive prices or to sell assets that we otherwise believe benefit our business in the future to remain below the requisite threshold. We may also seek to acquire additional non-investment assets to maintain compliance with the Investment Company Act, and we may need to incur debt, issue additional equity or enter into other financing arrangements that are not otherwise attractive to our business. Any of these actions could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. Moreover, we can make no assurance that we would successfully be able to take the necessary steps to avoid being deemed to be an investment company in accordance with the safe-harbor. If we were unsuccessful, then we would have to register as an investment company, and we would be unable to operate our business in its current form. We would be subject to extensive, restrictive, and potentially adverse statutory provisions and regulations relating to, among other things, operating methods, management, capital structure, indebtedness, dividends, and transactions with affiliates. If we were deemed to be an investment company and did not register as an investment company when required to do so, there would be a risk, among other material adverse consequences, that we could become subject to monetary penalties or injunctive relief, or both, that we would be unable to enforce contracts with third parties, and/or that third parties could seek to obtain rescission of transactions with us undertaken during the period in which we were an unregistered investment company.

 

18

 

The existing and future indebtedness incurred by our billboard business may adversely affect our ability to obtain additional funds and may increase our vulnerability to economic or business downturns. Failure to comply with the terms of this indebtedness could result in a default by our billboard business that could have material adverse consequences for us.

 

Link, which operates our billboard businesses, entered into a credit agreement in August 2019 with a commercial bank which provides Link and its subsidiaries the opportunity to borrow through a combination of long-term debt and a line of credit. Link's current borrowings under the bank credit facility as of December 31, 2021 totaled $30,000,000, all of which represents a term loan. In addition, Link may incur additional indebtedness in the future. Accordingly, Link is subject to the risks associated with significant indebtedness, including:

 

 

Link must dedicate a portion of its cash flows from operations to pay principal and interest and, as a result, it may have less funds available for operations and other purposes;

 

 

Link may find it more difficult and expensive to obtain additional funds through financings, if available at all;

 

 

Link is more vulnerable to economic downturns, less able to withstand competitive pressures and less flexible in reacting to changes in the billboard industry and general economic conditions;

 

 

if Link defaults under the credit facility, including failing to pay the outstanding principal when due, and if the lender demands payment of a portion or all of the indebtedness, it may not have sufficient funds to make such payments;

 

 

if Link is unable to refinance indebtedness on its properties at maturity due to business and market factors, including: disruptions in the capital and credit markets; the estimated cash flows of Link's properties and other assets; the value of Link's properties and other assets; and financial, competitive, business and other factors, including factors beyond Link's control;

 

 

if refinanced, the terms of a refinancing may not be as favorable as the original terms of the related indebtedness; and

 

 

if Link borrows any sums under the line of credit, the interest rate it pays on such debt will be subject to changes in interest rates.

 

The occurrence of any of these events could materially adversely affect Link, which would adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition and adversely affect our stock price.

 

Furthermore, a failure to comply with the obligations contained in the loan agreements governing Link's indebtedness could result in an event of default under such agreements which could result in an acceleration of debt under other instruments evidencing indebtedness that contains cross-acceleration or cross-default provisions. If Link's indebtedness were to be accelerated, there can be no assurance that its future cash flow or assets would be sufficient to repay in full such indebtedness.

 

We may in the future rely in part on Link to provide us with the funds necessary to make distributions to us to meet our financial obligations. The leverage on Link's assets may affect the funds available to us if the terms of the debt impose restrictions on the ability of Link to make distributions to us. In addition, Link will generally have to service its debt obligations before making distributions to us or any of our other subsidiaries and any such distributions may require the consent of the lender. Leverage may also result in a requirement for liquidity, which may force the sale of assets at times of low demand and/or prices for such assets.

 

We may also incur indebtedness under future credit facilities.

 

If we are unable to refinance our indebtedness on acceptable terms, or at all, we may need to dispose of one or more of our properties or other assets under disadvantageous terms. In addition, prevailing interest rates or other factors at the time of refinancing could increase our interest expense, and if we grant a security interest in any of our properties, or the properties of our subsidiaries to secure payment of indebtedness and are unable to make loan payments, the lender could foreclose upon such property.

 

19

 

Restrictive covenants in Link's indebtedness may limit management’s discretion with respect to certain business matters.

 

Instruments governing Link's indebtedness contain restrictive covenants limiting Link's discretion with respect to certain business matters. These covenants could place significant restrictions on, among other things, Link's ability to create liens or other encumbrances, to make distributions to us or make certain other payments, investments, loans and guarantees and to sell or otherwise dispose of assets and merge or consolidate with another entity. Covenants also require Link to meet certain financial ratios and financial condition tests. A failure to comply with any such covenants could result in a default which, if not cured or waived, could permit acceleration of the relevant indebtedness.

 

If we are unable to manage our interest rate risk effectively, our cash flows and operating results may suffer.

 

Advances under Link's $5 million revolving line of credit bear interest at a variable rate. Although we have not currently borrowed any sums under this line of credit, and this line of credit is currently set to expire in August 2023, we may incur indebtedness under this line of credit in the future. Also, we may be required to refinance our debt at higher rates. Accordingly, increases in interest rates above that which we anticipate based upon historical trends would adversely affect our cash flows and we may not be able to hedge such exposure effectively, if at all.

 

We may raise additional capital pursuant to debt financing, and such debt financing arrangements may contain covenants, which, if not complied with, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.

 

Other than the bank borrowings to Link, to date we have not had a significant debt financing. However, as our operations grow and we achieve certain levels of revenue and cash flows, we may consider utilizing debt to finance additional acquisitions and our operations. Subject to market conditions and availability, we, or our subsidiaries, may incur significant debt through credit facilities (including term loans and/or revolving facilities), structured financing arrangements, public and private debt issuances or otherwise. Future debt financing arrangements may contain various covenants, including restrictive covenants, which, if not complied with, could have a material adverse effect on our ability to meet our debt obligations and our overall financial condition. Additionally, debt financing arrangements may be at the subsidiary level, but could include a guaranty by us, and could require a pledge of all or substantially all of our, and/or our subsidiaries’, assets.

 

The amount of leverage we use will vary depending on our available acquisition investment opportunities, our available capital, our ability to obtain and access financing arrangements with lenders, and the lenders’ and our estimates of the stability of our operating cash flows. Our governing documents contain no limit on the amount of debt we may incur, and we may significantly increase the amount of leverage we utilize at any time without approval of our shareholders. The amount of leverage on individual assets may vary, with leverage on some assets substantially higher than others, including at the subsidiary level. Leverage can enhance our potential returns but can also exacerbate our losses.

 

Incurring additional substantial debt could subject us to many risks that, if realized, would materially and adversely affect us, including the risk that:

 

 

our cash flow from operations may be insufficient to make required payments of principal and interest on the debt or we may fail to comply with covenants contained in our debt instruments, which would likely result in (a) acceleration of such debt (and any other debt arrangements containing a cross default or cross acceleration provision) that we may be unable to repay from internal funds, unable to refinance on favorable terms, or unable to repay at all, (b) our inability to borrow additional amounts under other facilities, even if we are current in payments on borrowings under those arrangements and/or (c) the loss of some or all of our assets to foreclosures or forced sales;

 

 

our debt may increase our vulnerability to adverse economic, market and industry conditions;

 

 

we may be required to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to payments on our debt, thereby reducing funds available for operations, future business opportunities, distributions to our shareholders or other purposes; and

 

 

we may not be able to refinance maturing debts.

 

We cannot be sure that our leverage strategies will be successful.

 

20

 

We may be unable to access capital.

 

Our access to capital depends on a number of factors, some of which we have little or no control over, including:

 

 

general economic, market or industry conditions;

 

 

the market’s view of the quality of our assets;

 

 

the market’s perception of our growth potential;

 

 

our current and potential future earnings and distributions to our shareholders; and

 

 

the value of our securities.

 

We may have to rely on additional equity issuances, which may be dilutive to our shareholders, or on costly debt financings that require a large portion of our cash flow from operations, thereby reducing funds available for our operations, future business opportunities, distributions to our shareholders or other purposes. We cannot be sure that we will have access to such equity or debt capital on favorable terms at the desired times, or at all, which could negatively affect our financial condition and results of operations.

 

We face intense competition, including competition from companies with significantly greater resources than us, and if we are unable to compete effectively with these companies, our market share may decline and our business could be harmed.

 

Outdoor Billboard Advertising. The outdoor billboard industry is highly competitive. There is a concentration in the ownership of billboards in the geographic markets in which we compete and significantly larger companies, such as Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc., Outfront Media, Inc. and Lamar Advertising Company, own the majority of the out-of-home advertising billboards. Such competition may make it difficult to maintain or increase our current advertising revenues.  In addition to competing for advertising revenue with other outdoor advertising businesses, the outdoor advertising market faces competition from other media, including radio, internet based services, print media, television, direct mail, satellite services and other mobile devices.  Our competitors may develop technology, services or advertising media that are equal or superior to those we provide or that achieve greater market acceptance and brand recognition than we achieve.  Also, new competitors may emerge and rapidly acquire significant market share in any of our business segments.  Also, increased competition for advertising dollars may lead to lower advertising rates if we are to retain customers or may cause us to lose customers to our competitors who offer lower rates that we are unable or unwilling to match.

 

Insurance Operations. Our insurance business operates in an environment that is highly competitive and very fragmented. We will likely compete with other global insurance and reinsurance providers, including but not limited to Travelers, Liberty Mutual, Zurich Insurance Group, Lloyds and CNA Insurance Group, as well as numerous specialist, regional and local firms in almost every area of our surety business. Further, new competitors may regularly enter the market. In 2019 and 2020, we derived a substantial portion of our surety insurance revenues from the sale of apartment and commercial lease rental guarantee bonds. We have suspended issuing these bonds due to the current rental environment and other companies may seek to enter that market. In addition to UCS, we also operate several surety insurance brokerage firms, and the surety insurance brokerage industry has relatively low barriers to entry. We may experience significant competition and our competitors may have greater financial, marketing and human resources than us.

 

Broadband Services. Our broadband services compete with other technologies, including traditional cable services as well as satellite services. These markets are highly competitive, and many traditional providers of cable and wireless services have greater financial, marketing and human resources than us and may be able to offer additional products and services to our customers. In addition, new technologies may be developed which would provide an alternative to our fiber to the home services we currently provide. As we seek to expand our broadband services, we may face incumbent service providers which would be able to retain a significant customer base in the communities in which we may seek to enter, making it difficult to achieve a share of the market needed to provide our services profitably.

 

Any additional industries or markets that we may enter through future acquisitions will also likely be occupied by established competitors. Many of our current competitors have substantially greater financial, marketing, product development and human resources than we do. Accordingly, even if there is a large market for our products and services in the industries in which we compete, there can be no assurance that our products and services will be purchased by consumers at a rate sufficient for us to achieve our growth objectives.

 

Our management recognizes that we will, therefore, be forced to compete primarily on the basis of price, location, performance, service, and other factors. Our management believes that our ability to achieve sustained profitability will depend primarily on our ability to consummate acquisitions of assets and businesses in competitive markets, skillfully allocate capital, and establish competitive advantages in each of our businesses. This approach requires that our management perform at a high level and is fraught with risks, many of which are beyond our control or ability to foresee.

 

21

 

Adverse economic conditions could negatively affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

Our results of operations are sensitive to changes in overall economic conditions that impact consumer and commercial spending, including discretionary spending and the financial impact to consumers and businesses from the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation. Future economic conditions such as employment levels, business conditions, interest rates and tax rates could reduce our revenues. A general reduction in the level of business activity could adversely affect our financial condition and/or results of operations. For example, in particular, adverse economic conditions, either regionally or nationally, may result in reduced advertising expenditures that could adversely affect our billboard segment of operations. Adverse economic conditions may result in fewer surety transactions and adversely affect our insurance segment of operations. Adverse economic conditions may also affect our investments in homebuilding, auto lending, and commercial real estate management and services.

 

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has impacted and may materially adversely impact and cause disruption to, and any future outbreak of any other highly infectious or contagious diseases may materially adversely impact and cause disruption to, our business, financial performance and condition, operating results and cash flows. Further, the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak has caused severe disruptions in the U.S. and global economy and financial markets and could potentially create widespread business continuity issues of an as yet unknown magnitude and duration.

 

In December 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) was reported to have surfaced in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 has since spread globally, including to every state in the United States. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and on March 13, 2020, the United States declared a national emergency with respect to COVID-19.

 

The outbreak of COVID-19 has severely impacted global economic activity and caused significant volatility and negative pressure in financial markets. The global impact of the outbreak has been rapidly evolving and many countries, including the United States, have reacted by instituting a wide variety of control measures, including states of emergency, mandatory quarantines, required business and school closures, implementing "shelter in place" orders and restricting travel. Many experts predict that the outbreak will trigger a period of material global economic slowdown or a global recession.

 

COVID-19 disrupted certain portions of our business in 2020 and may have had a material adverse effect on certain of our investments in other businesses, and may continue to materially adversely impact and cause disruption to our business, financial performance and condition, operating results and cash flows. Factors that would negatively impact our ability to successfully operate during COVID-19 or another pandemic include:

 

 

Revenues from our three business lines may be materially impacted due to lessened demand for billboards, surety insurance and internet delivery to homes and businesses;

 

 

We suspended issuance of certain surety bonds, particularly bonds guaranteeing rental payments by both consumers and private businesses, which significantly reduced our revenues at UCS as revenues from our rental guarantee bond program accounted for approximately $5.5 million of UCS revenues in fiscal 2020 and approximately $0.6 million in fiscal 2021. As a result, we increased our loss reserves in our UCS business from approximately $1.2 million at December 31, 2019 to $2.5 million at December 31, 2020, which impacted our fiscal 2020 results. At December 31, 2021, our loss reserves in our UCS business were $1.4 million as many of our rental bond guarantee contracts expired without any claims.

 

 

The market value of our investments in publicly held securities, which was approximately $71 million at December 31, 2021 and over $376 million at March 25, 2022, reflecting primarily our equity stakes in DFH at December 31, 2021 and both DFH and Sky at March 25, 2022, could drop significantly;

 

 

Revenues and operating income of our minority ownership investments in commercial real estate services and consumer auto loan businesses may drop due to the impact of any future pandemic on these businesses, resulting in a decrease in the value of our investments in these companies;

 

 

Certain accounts receivable in our business may be more difficult to collect during any future pandemic if businesses and consumers are unable to pay sums due to us;

 

 

The continued service and availability of personnel, including our executive officers and other leaders that are part of our management team and our ability to recruit, attract and retain skilled personnel to the extent our management or personnel may be impacted in significant numbers or in other significant ways by the outbreak of pandemic or epidemic disease and may not be available or allowed to conduct work;

 

 

Our ability to ensure business continuity may be adversely affected in the event our continuity of operations plan is not effective or improperly implemented or deployed during a disruption; and

 

 

We may experience difficulty accessing debt and equity capital on attractive terms, or at all, and a severe disruption and instability in the global financial markets or deteriorations in credit and financing conditions may affect our access to capital necessary to fund business operations, delay or prevent future acquisitions or adversely affect our ability to address maturing liabilities.

 

The outbreak of COVID-19 may have materially negatively impacted and may continue to materially negatively impact certain portions of our business, financial performance and condition, operating results and cash flows. However, the significance, extent and duration of such impact remains dependent on future developments that cannot be accurately predicted at this time, such as the continued severity, duration, transmission rate and geographic spread of COVID-19 in the United States, the extent and effectiveness of the containment measures taken, and the response of the overall economy, the financial markets and the population, particularly in areas in which we operate, once the current containment measures are lifted.

 

The rapid development and fluidity of this situation over the past two years precludes any prediction as to the ultimate adverse impact of COVID-19 in the future. As a result, while the impact of COVID-19 to this date has not materially adversely affected our business as a whole, we cannot provide an estimate of the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business or certain business units. Nevertheless, COVID-19 presents material uncertainty and risk with respect to our business, financial performance and condition, operating results and cash flows.

 

22

 

Climate change, severe weather, natural disasters, and other external events could significantly impact our business.

 

Severe weather events cannot be predicted and may be exacerbated by global climate change, natural disasters, including hurricanes, flooding and earthquakes, acts of terrorism and other adverse external events. There is continuing uncertainty over what impact these events could have on our surety insurance bond business if claims are made against these bonds due to our customers inability to meet their contractual obligations due to delays caused by any serious health or other natural disaster. Significant storm damage may impact our transmission capabilities for our broadband services and significant damage could result in a loss of service for an extended period of time. Severe weather and natural disasters could affect travel and transportation which could impact the manner of advertising consumption, and severe weather and natural disasters could impact the structural integrity of our billboards. The occurrence of any such event could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. The insurance we maintain against disasters may not be adequate to cover our losses in any particular case, which could require us to expend significant resources to replace any destroyed assets and materially and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and business prospects.

 

Risks associated with foreign sourcing, supply interruption, delays in raw material or component delivery, inflation, and supply shortages may adversely affect the availability of products needed to conduct our business and profitability.

 

We source certain of our materials and components from suppliers outside the U.S., and from suppliers within the U.S. who engage in foreign sourcing. Long lead times or supply interruptions associated with a global supply base may reduce our flexibility and make it more difficult to respond promptly to fluctuations in demand or respond quickly to product quality problems. Changes in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and other currencies and fluctuations in the price of raw materials and components have impacted and may continue to impact the manufacturing costs of our products and affect our profitability. Protective tariffs, unpredictable changes in duty rates, and changes in trade policies, agreements, relations and regulations have made and may continue to make certain foreign-sourced parts no longer competitively priced. Long supply chains may be disrupted by environmental events, public health crises (such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), political or other factors. Raw materials may become limited in availability from certain regions. Port labor issues may delay shipments. We source a large volume and a variety of electronic components for our broadband business, which exposes us to an increased risk of counterfeit components entering our supply chain. If counterfeit components unknowingly become part of our products, we may need to stop delivery and rework our products. We may be subject to warranty claims and may need to recall products. Shortages, delivery delays and price inflation in a wide variety of raw materials and components (including but not limited to electronic components and billboard materials) and labor and other costs and logistical challenges (including but not limited to increased freight costs, shipping container shortages, trucking shortages, ocean, railway and air freight capacity constraints, labor shortages and port delays) may adversely affect the availability of products needed to conduct our business and profitability.

 

We may be unable to employ a sufficient number of key employees and other experienced or qualified workers.

 

The delivery of our services and products requires sales professionals and other personnel with substantial work experience in our lines of business. Workers may choose to pursue employment with our competitors or in fields that offer a more desirable work environment. Our ability to be productive and profitable will depend upon our ability to employ and retain workers with certain backgrounds and experience, such as experienced sales professionals and workers with substantial experience with insurance underwriting and risk and financial analysis. In addition, our ability to further expand our operations according to geographic demand for our services depends in part on our ability to relocate or increase the size of our qualified and experienced labor force. The demand for experienced workers in our areas of operations can be high, the supply may be limited and we may be unable to relocate our employees from areas of lower utilization to areas of higher demand. A significant increase in the wages paid by competing employers could result in a reduction of our workers with required experience, increases in the wage rates that we must pay, or both. Further, a significant decrease in the wages paid by us or our competitors as a result of reduced industry demand could result in a reduction of the available pool of qualified and experienced individuals, and there is no assurance that the availability of such qualified and experienced labor will improve following a subsequent increase in demand for our services or an increase in wage rates. If any of these events were to occur, our capacity and profitability could be diminished and our growth potential could be impaired.

 

We are heavily reliant upon our executive management team.

 

We depend heavily on the efforts and services of our executive officers and other members of our management team to manage our operations, including our Co-Chief Executive Officers and our Chief Financial Officer. The unexpected loss or unavailability of key members of management may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or prospects. Although our Co-Chief Executive Officers devote most of their business time to us and are highly active in our management, they expend part of their time on other business ventures. Among other commitments, our Co-Chief Executive Officers are each managing members of separate investment management entities and are not obligated to devote any specific number of hours to our affairs. These two key employees may not be able to dedicate adequate time to our businesses and operations, and we could experience an adverse effect on our operations due to the demands placed on our management team by their other professional obligations. In addition, these key employees’ other responsibilities could cause conflicts of interest with us.

 

Our executive officers and directors may experience a conflict of interest between their duties to us and to affiliated parties.

 

Our Co-Chief Executive Officers, Adam K. Peterson and Alex B. Rozek, are each managing members of separate investment management entities that collectively own 28.0% of our Class A common stock and all of our Class B common stock. While we have deemed that the outside business endeavors of our management team do not currently constitute a conflict of interest, it is possible that a conflict of interest could arise between the performance of our executive management team and their roles as managing members of entities which together own a majority of our outstanding capital stock. These conflicts may not be resolved in our favor. Such conflicts of interest could have a material adverse effect on our business and operations. Further, the appearance of conflicts of interest created by related party transactions could impair the confidence of our investors. We have the authority to engage various contracting parties, which may be affiliates of ours or of our directors. As such, our directors may have a conflict of interest between their fiduciary duties to manage the business for our benefit and our stockholders and their direct and indirect affiliates’ interests in establishing and maintaining relationships with us and in obtaining compensation for services rendered to us. With respect to such affiliates, there may be an absence of arms’ length negotiations with respect to the terms, conditions and consideration with respect to goods and services provided to or by us. As of December 31, 2021, we had minority investments totaling $701,270 in Logic, $16,452 in 24th Street Holding Co., $2,956,991 in 24th Street Fund I, and $2,984,994 in 24th Street Fund II. Brendan J. Keating, who is one of our directors, is the Manager of both Logic and 24th Street Holding Co. In addition, Alex B. Rozek is a director of Sky.

 

23

 

Disruptions to our information technology systems could disrupt our business operations which could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, results of operations, financial condition and/or cash flows.

 

The operation of our business depends on our information technology systems. We rely on our information technology systems to effectively manage, among other things, our business data, communications, supply chain, inventory management, customer order entry and order fulfillment, processing transactions, summarizing and reporting results of operations, human resources benefits and payroll management, compliance with regulatory, legal and tax requirements and other processes and data necessary to manage our business. Disruptions to our information technology systems, including any disruptions to our current systems and/or as a result of transitioning to additional or replacement information technology systems, as the case may be, could disrupt our business and could result in, among other things, transaction errors, processing inefficiencies, loss of data and the loss of sales and customers, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, results of operations, financial condition and/or cash flows. In addition, our information technology systems may be vulnerable to damage or interruption from circumstances beyond our control, including, without limitation, fire, natural disasters, power outages, systems disruptions, system conversions, security breaches, cyberattacks, phishing attacks, viruses and/or human error. In any such event, we could be required to make a significant investment to fix or replace our information technology systems, and we could experience interruptions in our ability to service our customers. These risks have been and may continue to be exacerbated as a result of remote working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any such damage or interruption could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, results of operations, financial condition and/or cash flows.

 

In addition, as part of our normal business activities, we collect and store certain confidential information, including personal information with respect to customers, consumers and employees, and the success of our operations depends on the secure transmission of confidential and personal data over public networks, including the use of cashless payments. We may share some of this information with vendors who assist us with certain aspects of our business. Moreover, the success of our operations depends upon the secure transmission of confidential and personal data over public networks, including the use of cashless payments. Any failure on our part or our vendors to maintain the security of this confidential data and personal information, including via the penetration of our network security (or those of our vendors) and the misappropriation of confidential and personal information, could result in business disruption, damage to our reputation, financial obligations to third parties, fines, penalties, regulatory proceedings and private litigation, any or all of which could result in our incurring potentially substantial costs. Such events could also result in the deterioration of confidence in us by employees, consumers and customers and cause other competitive disadvantages. In addition, a security or data privacy breach could require us to expend significant additional resources to enhance our information security systems and could result in a disruption to our operations. Furthermore, third parties, such as our suppliers and retail consumers, may also rely on information technology and be subject to such cybersecurity breaches. These breaches may negatively impact their businesses, which could in turn disrupt our supply chain and/or our business operations. Due to the potential significant costs, business disruption and reputational damage that typically accompany a cyberattack or cybersecurity breach, any such event could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, results of operations, financial condition and/or cash flows.

 

Our information technology systems, or those of our third-party service providers, may be accessed by unauthorized users such as cyber criminals as a result of a disruption, cyberattack or other security breach. Cyberattacks and other cybersecurity incidents are occurring more frequently, are constantly evolving in nature, are becoming more sophisticated and are being made by groups and individuals with a wide range of expertise and motives. Such cyberattacks and cyber incidents can take many forms, including cyber extortion, social engineering, password theft or introduction of viruses or malware, such as ransomware through phishing emails. As techniques used by cyber criminals change frequently, a disruption, cyberattack or other security breach of our information technology systems or infrastructure, or those of our third-party service providers, may go undetected for an extended period and could result in the theft, transfer, unauthorized access to, disclosure, modification, misuse, loss or destruction of our, employee, representative, customer, vendor, consumer and/or other third-party data, including sensitive or confidential data and personal information.  We cannot guarantee that our security efforts will prevent breaches or breakdowns of our or our third-party service providers’ information technology systems.

 

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Changes in laws and regulations governing data privacy and data protection could have a material adverse impact on our business.

 

We are subject to data privacy laws and regulations that apply to the collection, transmission, storage and use of personally identifiable information, as well as numerous other countries’, federal and state privacy and breach notification laws. While we continue to assess and address the implications of existing and new regulations relating to data privacy, the evolving regulatory landscape presents a number of legal and operational challenges, and our efforts to comply may be unsuccessful. We may also face audits or investigations by one or more government agencies relating to our compliance with these regulations that could result in the imposition of penalties or fines, significant expenses in facilitating and responding to the investigations, and overall reputational harm or negative publicity. The costs of compliance with, and other burdens imposed by, such laws, regulations and policies that are applicable to us could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Governmental regulations could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, and we may not be successful in maintaining authority to issue surety insurance through UCS.

 

Outdoor Billboard Advertising. Our billboard businesses are regulated by governmental authorities in the jurisdictions in which we operate. These regulations could limit our growth by putting constraints on the number, location and timing of billboards we wish to erect. New regulations and changes to existing regulations may also curtail our ability to expand our billboard business and adversely affect us by reducing our revenues or increasing our operating expenses. For example, settlements between major tobacco companies and all U.S. states and certain U.S. territories include a ban on the outdoor advertising of tobacco products. Alcohol products and other products may be future targets of advertising bans, and legislation, litigation or out-of-court settlements may result in the implementation of additional advertising restrictions that impact our business. Any significant reduction in alcohol-related advertising or the advertising of other products due to content-related restrictions could negatively impact our revenues generated from such businesses and cause an increase in the existing inventory of available outdoor billboard space throughout the industry.

 

Insurance Operations. We are subject to maintaining compliance within the highly regulated insurance industry as we continue our pursuit of opportunities in that market, including the maintenance of certain levels of operating capital and reserves. Generally, the extensive regulations are designed to benefit or protect policyholders, rather than our investors, or to reduce systemic financial risk. Failure to comply with these regulations could lead to disciplinary action, the imposition of penalties and the revocation of our authorization to operate in the insurance industry. Changes to the regulatory environment in the insurance industry may cause us to adjust our views or practices regarding regulatory risk management and necessitate changes to our operations that may limit our growth or have an adverse impact on our business.

 

Broadband ServicesThe building and delivery of our broadband services is subject to regulation by both the FCC and county and local governments. Failure to comply with these regulations could lead to the imposition of fines and ultimately the revocation of our authorization to provide these services. As technology changes continue in this market, new regulations may impose additional regulatory burdens and costs that could have an adverse impact on our business.

 

In addition, certain of the other new markets and industries that we may choose to enter may be regulated by a variety of federal, state and local agencies. Similarly, our investments in other companies, including the home building and consumer auto lending markets, are highly regulated by federal and other governmental agencies.

 

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We are subject to extensive insurance regulation, which may adversely affect our ability to achieve our business objectives. In addition, if we fail to comply with these regulations, we may be subject to penalties, including fines and suspensions, which may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our insurance subsidiary, UCS, is subject to extensive regulation in Nebraska, its state of domicile, and to a lesser degree, the other states in which it operates. Most insurance regulations are designed to protect the interests of insurance policyholders, as opposed to the interests of investors or stockholders. These regulations generally are administered by a department of insurance in each state and relate to, among other things, authorizations to write excess and surplus lines of business, capital and surplus requirements, investment and underwriting limitations, affiliate transactions, dividend limitations, changes in control, solvency and a variety of other financial and non-financial aspects of our business. Significant changes in these laws and regulations could further limit our discretion or make it more expensive to conduct our business. State insurance regulators also conduct periodic examinations of the affairs of insurance companies and require the filing of annual and other reports relating to financial condition, holding company issues and other matters. These regulatory requirements may impose timing and expense constraints that could adversely affect our ability to achieve some or all of our business objectives.

 

In addition, state insurance regulators have broad discretion to deny or revoke licenses for various reasons, including the violation of regulations. In some instances, where there is uncertainty as to applicability, we follow practices based on our interpretations of regulations or practices that we believe generally to be followed by the industry. These practices may turn out to be different from the interpretations of regulatory authorities. If we do not have the requisite licenses and approvals or do not comply with applicable regulatory requirements, state insurance regulators could preclude or temporarily suspend us from carrying on some or all of our activities or could otherwise penalize us. This could adversely affect our ability to operate our business. Further, changes in the level of regulation of the insurance industry or changes in laws or regulations themselves or interpretations by regulatory authorities could interfere with our operations and require us to bear additional costs of compliance, which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business.

 

The NAIC has adopted a system to test the adequacy of capital of insurance companies, known as “risk-based capital.” The risk-based capital formula establishes the minimum amount of capital necessary for a company to support its overall business operations. It identifies property and casualty insurers that may be inadequately capitalized by looking at three major areas: 1) Asset Risk; 2) Underwriting Risk; and 3) Other Risk. Insurers falling below a calculated threshold may be subject to varying degrees of regulatory action, including supervision, rehabilitation or liquidation. Failure to maintain our risk-based capital at the required levels could adversely affect the ability of our insurance subsidiary to maintain regulatory authority to conduct our business. Also, failure to maintain our U.S. Treasury Department listing or our A.M. Best A– (“Excellent”) rating would significantly impact our ability to operate effectively in the surety markets.

 

Because we are a holding company and a significant portion of our operations are conducted by our UCS insurance subsidiary, our ability to pay dividends may depend on our ability to obtain cash dividends or other permitted payments from our insurance subsidiary.

 

Because we are a holding company with no business operations of our own, our ability to pay dividends to stockholders will likely depend in significant part on dividends and other distributions from our subsidiaries, including our insurance subsidiary, UCS. State insurance laws, including the laws of Nebraska, restrict the ability of UCS to declare stockholder dividends and bond rating agencies may also limit our ability to declare dividends if they were to seek to lower our bond rating due to lack of capital. State insurance regulators require insurance companies to maintain specified levels of statutory capital and surplus. Consequently, dividend distribution is limited by Nebraska law. State insurance regulators have broad powers to prevent the reduction of statutory surplus to inadequate levels, and there is no assurance that dividends up to the maximum amounts calculated under any applicable formula would be permitted. Moreover, state insurance regulators that have jurisdiction over the payment of dividends by our insurance subsidiary may in the future adopt statutory provisions more restrictive than those currently in effect. UCS may only declare and pay dividends to us after all of UCS’s obligations and regulatory requirements with the Nebraska Department of Insurance have been satisfied.

 

The declaration and payment of future dividends to holders of our Class A common stock will be at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend on many factors.

 

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We may be unable to obtain reinsurance coverage at reasonable prices or on terms that adequately protect us.

 

We use reinsurance to help manage our exposure to insurance risks. Reinsurance is a practice whereby one insurer, called the reinsurer, agrees to indemnify another insurer, called the ceding insurer, for all or part of the potential liability arising from one or more insurance policies issued by the ceding insurer. The availability and cost of reinsurance are subject to prevailing market conditions, both in terms of price and available capacity, which can affect our business volume and profitability. In addition, reinsurance programs are generally subject to renewal on an annual basis. We may not be able to obtain reinsurance in acceptable amounts and/or on acceptable terms from entities with satisfactory creditworthiness. If we are unable to obtain new reinsurance facilities or to renew expiring facilities, our net exposures would increase. In such event, if we are unwilling to bear an increase in our net exposure, we would have to reduce the level of our underwriting commitments, which would reduce our revenues.

 

Many reinsurance companies have begun to exclude certain coverages from, or alter terms in, the reinsurance contracts. For example, many reinsurance policies now exclude coverage of terrorism. As a result, we, like other direct insurance companies, write insurance policies which to some extent do not have the benefit of reinsurance protection. These gaps in reinsurance protection expose us to greater risk and greater potential losses.

 

The expansion of our UCS insurance business to a nationwide insurance company may create both short-term and long-term constraints on our UCS operations.

 

We have expanded our insurance operations nationwide and seek to continue to grow our revenue, which may create additional burdens on our UCS personnel as we manage potentially significantly larger operations. As a result, we anticipate we will likely need to hire additional personnel to assist the current management team in our expanded surety insurance operations, and we may not be successful in identifying and hiring qualified personnel on a timely basis, if at all.

 

Our insurance employees could take excessive risks, which could negatively affect our financial condition and business.

 

As a business which anticipates it will derive a significant portion of its business from the sale of surety and other insurance products, we are in the business of binding certain risks. The employees who conduct our business, including executive officers and other members of management, underwriters, product managers and other employees, do so in part by making decisions and choices that involve exposing us to risk. These include decisions such as setting underwriting guidelines and standards, product design and pricing, determining which business opportunities to pursue and other decisions. We endeavor, in the design and implementation of our compensation programs and practices, to avoid giving our employees incentives to take excessive risks. However, employees may take such risks regardless of the structure of our compensation programs and practices. Similarly, although we employ controls and procedures designed to monitor employees’ business decisions and prevent them from taking excessive risks, these controls and procedures may not be effective. If our employees take excessive risks, the impact of those risks could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and business operations.

 

If actual insurance claims exceed our claims and claim adjustment expense reserves, or if changes in the estimated level of claims and claim adjustment expense reserves are necessary, our financial results could be materially and adversely affected.

 

As we grow our insurance operations, we will continue to establish loss and loss adjustment expense reserves. These reserves will not represent an exact calculation of liability, but instead will represent management estimates of what the ultimate settlement and administration of claims will cost, generally utilizing actuarial expertise and projection techniques, at a given accounting date. In particular, prior to 2017, UCS was writing business primarily in Massachusetts and has only been writing business outside of Massachusetts for a limited period of time. We do not currently have a long history of national underwriting experience and, as a result, rely on generally available industry data in establishing loss and loss adjustment expense reserves, and our estimates may be materially different from actual losses and adjustments incurred.

 

The process of estimating claims and claim adjustment expense reserves involves a high degree of judgment and is subject to a number of variables. These variables can be affected by both internal and external events, such as:

 

 

changes in claims handling procedures

 

 

adverse changes in loss cost trends

 

 

economic conditions including general inflation

 

 

legal trends and legislative changes

 

 

limited claims experience in newer insurance products, and

 

 

varying judgments and viewpoints of the individuals involved in the estimation process, among others.

 

The impact of many of these items on ultimate costs for claims and claim adjustment expenses will be difficult to estimate. We also expect that claims and claim adjustment expense reserve estimation difficulties will also differ significantly by product line due to differences in claim complexity, the volume of claims, the potential severity of individual claims, the determination of occurrence date for a claim and reporting lags (the time between the occurrence of the policyholder event and when it is actually reported to the insurer). In addition, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we suspended issuing surety bonds insuring landlords against rent payment defaults and established additional loss reserves to cover anticipated claims.  The COVID-19 pandemic and other unforeseen events could result in insurance claims exceeding our loss and loss adjustment expense reserves.

 

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The estimation of claims and claim adjustment expense reserves may also be more difficult during times of adverse or uncertain economic conditions due to unexpected changes in behavior of claimants and policyholders, including an increase in fraudulent reporting of exposures and/or losses, reduced maintenance of insured properties, increased frequency of small claims or delays in the reporting of claims, and the impact of inflation on the cost of services and materials.

 

We will attempt to consider all significant facts and circumstances known at the time claims and claim adjustment expense reserves are established or reviewed. Due to the inherent uncertainty underlying claims and claim adjustment expense reserve estimates, the final resolution of the estimated liability for claims and claim adjustment expenses will likely be higher or lower than the related claims and claim adjustment expense reserves at the reporting date. Therefore, actual paid losses in the future may yield a materially different amount than will be currently reserved.

 

Because of the uncertainties set forth above, additional liabilities resulting from an accumulation of insured events, may exceed the current related reserves. In addition, our estimate of claims and claim adjustment expenses may change. These additional liabilities or increases in estimates, or a range of either, cannot now be reasonably estimated and could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and/or our financial position.

 

Our efforts to develop new insurance products or expand in targeted markets may not be successful and may create enhanced risks.

 

A number of our planned business initiatives in the insurance markets we intend to serve will involve developing new products or expanding existing products in targeted markets. This includes the following efforts, from time to time, to protect or grow market share:

 

 

We may develop products that insure risks we have not previously insured, contain new coverage or coverage terms or contain different commission terms.

 

 

We may refine our underwriting processes.

 

 

We may seek to expand distribution channels.

 

 

We may focus on geographic markets within or outside of the United States where we have had relatively little or no market share.

 

We may not be successful in introducing new products or expanding in targeted markets and, even if we are successful, these efforts may create enhanced risks. Among other risks:

 

 

Demand for new products or in new markets may not meet our expectations.

 

 

To the extent we are able to market new products or expand in new markets, our risk exposures may change, and the data and models we use to manage such exposures may not be as sophisticated or effective as those we use in existing markets or with existing products. This, in turn, could lead to losses in excess of our expectations.

 

 

Models underlying underwriting and pricing decisions may not be effective.

 

 

Efforts to develop new products or markets have the potential to create or increase distribution channel conflict.

 

 

To develop new products or markets, we may need to make substantial capital and operating expenditures, which may also negatively impact results in the near term.

 

If our efforts to develop new products or expand in targeted markets are not successful, our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

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Adverse economic factors, including recession, inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic, periods of high unemployment or lower economic activity could result in the sale of fewer surety policies than expected or an increase in frequency or severity of claims and premium defaults or both, which, in turn, could affect the growth and profitability of our surety insurance business.

 

Factors, such as business revenue, economic conditions, the COVID-19 pandemic and other natural disasters, the volatility and strength of the capital markets and inflation can affect the business and economic environment. These same factors affect our ability to generate revenue and profits. In an economic downturn that is characterized by higher unemployment, declining spending and reduced corporate revenues, the demand for insurance products is generally adversely affected, which directly affects our premium levels and profitability. Negative economic factors may also affect our ability to receive the appropriate rate for the risk we insure with our policyholders and may adversely affect the number of policies we can write, including with respect to our opportunities to underwrite profitable business. In an economic downturn, our customers may have less need for insurance coverage.  A decline in our financial strength rating may adversely affect the amount of business we write.

 

Participants in the insurance industry use ratings from independent ratings agencies, such as A.M. Best, as an important means of assessing the financial strength and quality of insurers. In setting its ratings, A.M. Best uses a quantitative and qualitative analysis of a company’s balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile. This analysis includes comparisons to peers and industry standards as well as assessments of operating plans, philosophy and management. A.M. Best financial strength ratings range from “A++” (Superior) to “F” for insurance companies that have been publicly placed in liquidation. As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, A.M. Best has assigned a financial strength rating of “A-” (Excellent) to our operating subsidiary, UCS.  A.M. Best assigns ratings that are intended to provide an independent opinion of an insurance company’s ability to meet its obligations to policyholders and such ratings are not evaluations directed to investors and are not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold our common stock or any other securities we may issue. A.M. Best periodically reviews our financial strength rating and may revise it downward or revoke it at its sole discretion based primarily on its analysis of our balance sheet strength (including capital adequacy and loss adjustment expense reserve adequacy), operating performance and business profile. Factors that could affect such analysis include but are not limited to:

 

 

if we change our business practices from our organizational business plan in a manner that no longer supports A.M. Best’s rating;

 

 

if unfavorable financial, regulatory or market trends affect us, including excess market capacity;

 

 

if our losses exceed our loss reserves;

 

 

if we have unresolved issues with government regulators;

 

 

if we are unable to retain our senior management or other key personnel;

 

 

if our investment portfolio incurs significant losses; or

 

 

if A.M. Best alters its capital adequacy assessment methodology in a manner that would adversely affect our rating.

 

These and other factors could result in a downgrade of our financial strength rating.  A downgrade or withdrawal of our rating could result in any of the following consequences, among others:

 

 

causing our current and future brokers and insureds to choose other, more highly-rated competitors;

 

 

increasing the cost or reducing the availability of reinsurance to us;

 

 

severely limiting or preventing us from writing new insurance contracts; or

 

 

giving any future potential lenders the right to accelerate or call any future debt we may incur.

 

In addition, in view of the earnings and capital pressures recently experienced by many financial institutions, including insurance companies, it is possible that rating organizations will heighten the level of scrutiny that they apply to such institutions, will increase the frequency and scope of their credit reviews, will request additional information from the companies that they rate or will increase the capital and other requirements employed in the rating organizations’ models for maintenance of certain ratings levels. We can offer no assurance that our rating will remain at its current level. It is possible that such reviews of us may result in adverse ratings consequences, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We lack operational control over certain companies in which we invest and may lack operational control over companies in which we may invest in the future.

 

We have made, and may continue to make, certain strategic investments in various businesses without acquiring all or a majority ownership stake in those businesses. To the extent that such investments represent a minority or passive stake in any business, we may have little to no participation, input or control over the management, policies, and operations of such business. Further, we may lack sufficient ownership of voting securities to impact, without the vote of additional equity holders, any matters submitted to stockholders or members of such business for a vote. We currently lack operational control over our two largest investments in Sky and DFH and in our investments in Crescent, 24th Street Holding and Logic.

 

There is inherent risk in making minority equity investments in companies over which we have little to no control. Without control of the management and decision-making of these businesses, we cannot control their direction, strategy, policies and business plans, and we may be powerless to improve any declines in their performance, operating results and financial condition. If any company in which we are a minority investor suffers adverse effects, it may not be able to continue as a going business concern, and we may lose our entire investment.

 

We are subject to extensive financial reporting and related requirements for which our accounting and other management systems and resources may not be adequately prepared.

 

We are subject to reporting and other obligations under the Exchange Act, including the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Section 404 requires us to conduct an annual management assessment of the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting, and Section 404(b) requires our independent registered accounting firm to attest to and report on our management’s assessment of our internal controls. These reporting and other obligations place significant demands on our management, administrative, operational and accounting resources. In order to comply with these requirements, we may need to (i) upgrade our systems, (ii) implement additional financial and management controls, reporting systems and procedures, (iii) implement an internal audit function, and (iv) hire additional accounting, internal audit and finance staff. If we are unable to accomplish these objectives in a timely and effective manner, our ability to comply with our financial reporting requirements and other rules that apply to reporting companies could be impaired. Any failure to maintain effective internal controls could have a negative impact on our ability to manage our business and on our stock price. As a result of recent changes in federal securities laws, we are currently not required to have our independent auditor report on and attest to our management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)).

 

We may fail to maintain effective internal controls over external financial reporting or such controls may fail or be circumvented.

 

Federal securities laws require us to report on our internal controls over financial reporting, and our business and financial results could be adversely affected if we, or our independent registered public accounting firm, determine that these controls are not effective. If we do not maintain adequate financial and management personnel, processes, and controls, we may not be able to accurately report our financial performance on a timely basis, we may be otherwise unable to comply with the periodic reporting requirements of the SEC and the listing of our Class A common stock on the NYSE could be suspended or terminated, each of which could have a material adverse effect on the confidence in our financial reporting, our credibility in the marketplace, and the trading price of our Class A common stock. The impact of these events could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board of directors, our committees and as executive officers.

 

In 2021, we identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting in connection with our accounting for certain complex features associated with our prior ownership in Yellowstone, a special purpose acquisition company. Although this material weakness was subsequently remediated, any future material weakness could adversely affect our ability to report our results of operations and financial condition accurately and in a timely manner.

 

Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with GAAP. Our management is likewise required, on a quarterly basis, to evaluate the effectiveness of our internal controls and to disclose any changes and material weaknesses identified through such evaluation in those internal controls. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

 

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We identified a material weakness in the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2020. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. Specifically, our management has concluded that the Company did not design and implement effective controls addressing the technical accounting complexities associated with the formation of and financial reporting for a special purpose acquisition company. This material weakness resulted in the restatement of our financial statements contained in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020. As a result of this material weakness, our management concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was not effective as of December 31, 2020. 

 

Despite our remediation of this material weakness in 2021, any failure in the future to maintain effective internal controls could adversely impact our ability to report our financial position and results from operations on a timely and accurate basis. If our financial statements are not accurate, investors may not have a complete understanding of our operations. Likewise, if our financial statements are not filed on a timely basis, we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the stock exchange on which our Class A common stock is listed, the SEC or other regulatory authorities. In either case, this could result a material adverse effect on our business. Ineffective internal controls could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a negative effect on the trading price of our stock.  Restated financial statements and failures in internal control may also cause us to fail to meet reporting obligations, negatively affect investor confidence in our management and the accuracy of our financial statements and disclosures, or result in adverse publicity and concerns from investors, any of which could have a negative effect on the price of our securities, subject us to regulatory investigations and penalties or stockholder litigation, and have a material adverse impact on our financial condition.

 

We can give no assurance that any additional material weaknesses or restatements of financial results will not arise in the future due to a failure to implement and maintain adequate internal control over financial reporting or circumvention of these controls. In addition, even if we are successful in strengthening our controls and procedures, in the future those controls and procedures may not be adequate to prevent or identify irregularities or errors or to facilitate the fair presentation of our financial statements.

 

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Risks Related to Ownership of our Common Stock

 

Investors should not rely on the accuracy of forward-looking statements made by us.

 

To the extent that we or any of our officers were to provide any forward-looking statements, investors must recognize that any such forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions and estimates. We cannot make any representations as to the accuracy and reasonableness of such assumptions or the forward-looking statements based thereon. The validity and accuracy of those forward-looking statements will depend in large part on future events that we cannot foresee and may or may not prove to be correct. Consequently, there can be no assurance that our actual operating results will correspond to any of the forward-looking statements. Accordingly, an investment in our common stock should not be made in reliance on forward-looking statements prepared or provided by us.

 

The price of our Class A common stock has been, and is likely to continue to be, volatile and may fluctuate substantially, which could result in substantial losses for purchasers of our Class A common stock.

 

Our Class A common stock price has been, and is likely to continue to be, volatile. The stock market in general has experienced extreme volatility that has often been unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies. As a result of this volatility, you may not be able to sell your Class A common stock at or above your original purchase price. The market price for our Class A common stock may be influenced by many factors, many of which are out of our control, including those discussed in this “Risk Factors” section and elsewhere in this Annual Report and the following:

 

 

our operating and financial performance and prospects;

 

 

success of our competitors' products or services;

 

 

regulatory or legal developments in the United States, especially changes in laws or regulations applicable to our products and services;

 

 

additions or departures of key management personnel;

 

 

market and industry perception of our success, or lack thereof, in pursuing our growth strategy;

 

 

introductions or announcements of new products and services offered by us or significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments by us or our competitors and the timing of such introductions or announcements;

 

 

our ability to effectively manage our growth;

 

 

our quarterly or annual earnings or those of other companies in the industries in which we participate;

 

 

actual or anticipated changes in estimates to or projections of financial results, development timelines or recommendations by securities analysts;

 

 

publication of research reports about us or our industry or positive or negative recommendations or withdrawal of research coverage by securities analysts;

 

 

the public’s potential adverse reaction to our intention not to publish any guidance with respect to future earnings;

 

 

the public’s reaction to our press releases, other public announcements or our competitors’ businesses;

 

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market conditions in the billboard, insurance, broadband, real estate and other sectors in which we may operate as well as general economic conditions;

 

 

our ability or inability to raise additional capital through the issuance of equity or debt or other arrangements and the terms on which we raise it;

 

 

trading volume of our Class A common stock;

 

 

the resale of Class A Common Stock held by our affiliates;

 

 

changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance or principles;

 

 

significant lawsuits, including stockholder litigation;

 

 

general economic, industry and market conditions, including those resulting from natural disasters, severe weather events, terrorist attacks, epidemics and pandemics (such as the COVID-19 pandemic) and responses to such events; and

 

 

accounting charges associated with reductions in the values of our publicly traded securities and losses in our investments in private companies/in our investments

 

If our quarterly operating results fall below the expectations of investors or securities analysts, the price of our Class A common stock could decline substantially. Furthermore, any quarterly fluctuations in our operating results may, in turn, cause the price of our stock to fluctuate substantially. We believe that quarterly comparisons of our financial results are not necessarily meaningful and should not be relied upon as an indication of our future performance.

 

The stock market in general, and market prices for the securities of companies like ours in particular, have from time to time experienced volatility that often has been unrelated to the operating performance of the underlying companies. These broad market and industry fluctuations may adversely affect the market price of our Class A common stock, regardless of our operating performance.

 

In several recent situations when the market price of a stock has been volatile, holders of that stock have instituted securities class action litigation against the company that issued the stock. If any of our stockholders were to bring a lawsuit against us, the defense and disposition of the lawsuit could be costly and divert the time and attention of our management and harm our operating results.

 

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We are a smaller reporting company, and we cannot be certain if the reduced disclosure requirements applicable to smaller reporting companies will make our Class A common stock less attractive to investors.

 

We are currently a “smaller reporting company” as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. “Smaller reporting companies” are able to provide simplified executive compensation disclosures in their filings and have certain other decreased disclosure obligations in their SEC filings, including, among other things, only being required to provide two years of audited financial statements in annual reports and in certain registration statements filed with the SEC and no requirement, as long as our revenues are below $100 million and the value of our Class A common stock as measured on certain dates, is less than $700 million, to have our independent auditor report on and attest to our management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)). Decreased disclosures in our SEC filings due to our status as a “smaller reporting company” may make it harder for investors to analyze our results of operations and financial prospects.

 

An active trading market for our Class A common stock may not be maintained.

 

Our Class A common stock began trading on the NASDAQ Capital Market on June 16, 2017 and on the New York Stock Exchange on January 14, 2022. There is a risk that an active trading market for our shares may not be maintained. If an active market for our Class A common stock is not maintained, it may be difficult for you to sell your shares without depressing the market price for the shares or at all. The lack of an active market may also impair your ability to sell your shares at a time you wish to sell them or at a price that you consider reasonable and it may reduce the market value of your shares. An inactive trading market may also impair our ability to raise capital, to continue to fund operations by selling shares, and may impair our ability to acquire other companies or technologies by using our shares as consideration.

 

We will continue to incur increased costs as a result of operating as a public company in the United States.

 

As a public company in the United States, we have incurred and will continue to incur significant legal, accounting, insurance and other expenses, including costs associated with U.S. public company reporting requirements. We will also incur costs associated with NYSE listing requirements, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and related rules implemented by the SEC. The expenses incurred by U.S. public companies generally for reporting and corporate governance purposes have been increasing. We expect these rules and regulations would increase our legal and financial compliance costs and make some activities more time-consuming and costly, although we are currently unable to estimate these costs with any degree of certainty. In estimating these costs, we took into account expenses related to insurance, legal, accounting, and compliance activities, as well as other expenses not currently incurred. These laws and regulations could also make it more difficult or costly for us to obtain certain types of insurance, including director and officer liability insurance, and we may be forced to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. These laws and regulations could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our Board of Directors, our Board committees or as our executive officers. Furthermore, if we are unable to satisfy our obligations as a public company, we could be subject to delisting of our Class A common stock, fines, sanctions and other regulatory action and potentially civil litigation.

 

If a substantial number of shares of our Class A common stock become available for sale and are sold in a short period of time, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline.

 

If our current stockholders sell substantial amounts of our Class A common stock in the public market in a short period of time, the market price of our Class A common stock could decrease. The perception in the public market that our current stockholders might sell shares of Class A common stock could also create a perceived overhang and depress our market price. As of March 25, 2022, we have 28,642,801 shares of Class A common stock outstanding of which 6,989,253 shares are held by a fund managed by Magnolia and 496,429 shares of Class A common stock are held by a fund managed by Boulderado.

 

Additionally, entities controlled by Magnolia and Boulderado have partners and members that may seek to have their interests redeemed and/or entities controlled by Boulderado and Magnolia may make a distribution to their partners and members or may dissolve such entities. In any such event, entities controlled by Boulderado or Magnolia would report a transfer of shares on a Form 4 filed with the SEC, which may affect the market price of our Class A common stock.

 

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Sales of our Class A common stock under Rule 144 could reduce the price of our Class A common stock and certain of our stockholders have registered a total of 9,698,705 shares of our Class A common stock.

 

As of March 25, 2022, 8,324,979 shares of our Class A common stock are “restricted securities” or “controlled securities” within the meaning of Rule 144 under the Securities Act, of which 6,437,768 shares are held by Magnolia BOC I. As restricted securities, these shares may be resold only pursuant to an effective registration statement or under the requirements of Rule 144 or other applicable exemptions from registration under the Securities Act and as required under applicable state securities laws. A sale under Rule 144 or under any exemption from the Securities Act, if available, or pursuant to subsequent registration of shares of common stock of present stockholders, may have a depressive effect upon the price of our Class A common stock. Pursuant to the exercise of rights under a registration rights agreement, in September 2021, the Company registered a total of 9,698,705 shares of Class A common stock, including 6,437,768 shares of Class A common stock owned by Magnolia BOC I and beneficially owned by entities associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the remaining 3,260,937 shares owned directly by certain entities affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and also grants them the right to participate in future registrations of securities by us, subject to certain conditions. These registration rights continue until the earlier of March 31, 2033 or the date when an investor may resell the shares of our Class A common stock under Rule 144 as of the date when all registrable securities held by and issued to such investor may be sold under Rule 144 under the Securities Act during any 90 day period.

 

If equity research analysts do not publish research or reports about our business or if they issue unfavorable commentary or downgrade our Class A common stock, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline.

 

The trading market for our Class A common stock likely will be influenced by the research and reports that equity and debt research analysts publish about the industry, us and our business. The market price of our Class A common stock could decline if one or more securities analysts downgrade our shares or if those analysts issue a sell recommendation or other unfavorable commentary or cease publishing reports about us or our business. If one or more of the analysts who elect to cover us downgrade our shares, the market price of our Class A common stock would likely decline.

 

Entities managed by Magnolia and Boulderado currently effectively control all voting matters brought before our stockholders.

 

Currently, MCF and BP collectively own all of our Class B common stock and entities managed by Magnolia and Boulderado own 26.5% of our Class A common stock, resulting in their holding 47.7% of the aggregate voting power of the company.  As a result, Mr. Peterson and entities managed by Magnolia together control 33.1% of the aggregate voting power, and Mr. Rozek and entities managed by Boulderado together control 15.6% of the aggregate voting power. Moreover, it is possible that entities managed by Boulderado and Magnolia may increase their ownership in us if we sell additional shares of stock to them in connection with any future capital raise we may conduct. Also, each share of Class B common stock is entitled to cast 10 votes for all matters on which our stockholders vote, while each share of Class A common stock is entitled to cast only one vote. For the foreseeable future, entities managed by Magnolia and Boulderado will likely continue to control virtually all matters submitted to stockholders for a vote; may elect all of our directors; and, as a result, may control our management, policies, and operations. Our other stockholders will not have voting control over our actions, including the determination of other industries and markets that we may enter.

 

The interests of the entities managed by Magnolia and Boulderado may not coincide with the interests of other holders of our Class A common stock. The entities managed by Magnolia and Boulderado are in the business of making investments in companies and may, from time to time, acquire and hold interests in businesses that compete directly or indirectly with us. The entities managed by Magnolia and Boulderado may also pursue, for their own managers’ or members’ accounts, acquisition opportunities that may be complementary to our business, and as a result, those acquisition opportunities may not be available to us. So long as each of MCF and BP continue to own our Class B common stock or entities managed by Magnolia and Boulderado own a majority of our outstanding Class A common stock, they will continue to be able to strongly influence or effectively control our decisions, including potential mergers or acquisitions, asset sales and other significant corporate transactions.

 

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Certain actions cannot be taken without the approval of MCF and BP due to their ownership of Class B common stock.

 

MCF and BP, the holders of record of the shares of Class B common stock, exclusively and as a separate class, are entitled to elect two directors to our Board of Directors, which we refer to as the “Class B Directors,” which number of Class B Directors may be reduced pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Amended and Restated Voting and First Refusal Agreement between MCF and BP entered into on June 19, 2015, which we refer to as the “Amended and Restated Voting and First Refusal Agreement.” Any Class B Director may be removed without cause by, and only by, the affirmative vote of the holders of eighty percent (80%) of the shares of Class B common stock exclusively and as a separate class, given either at a special meeting of such stockholders duly called for that purpose or pursuant to a written consent of such stockholders.

 

At any time when shares of Class B common stock are outstanding, we may not, without the affirmative vote of both of the Class B Directors:

 

 

Amend, alter or otherwise change the rights, preferences or privileges of the Class B common stock, or amend, alter or repeal any provision of our certificate of incorporation or bylaws in a manner that adversely affects the powers, preferences or rights of the Class B common stock.

 

 

Liquidate, dissolve or wind-up our business, effect any merger or consolidation or any other deemed liquidation event or consent to any of the foregoing.

 

 

Create, or authorize the creation of, or issue or issue additional shares of Class B common stock, or increase the authorized number of shares of any additional class or series of capital stock.

 

 

Increase or decrease the authorized number of directors constituting the Board of Directors.

 

 

Hire, terminate, change the compensation of, or amend the employment agreements of, our executive officers.

 

 

Purchase or redeem (or permit any subsidiary to purchase or redeem) or pay or declare any dividend or make any distribution on, any shares of our capital stock.

 

 

Create, or authorize the creation of, or issue, or authorize the issuance of any debt security, if our aggregate indebtedness for borrowed money following such action would exceed $10,000, or guarantee, any indebtedness except for our own trade accounts arising in the ordinary course of business.

 

 

Make, or permit any subsidiary to make, any loan or advance outside of the ordinary course of business to any employee or director.

 

 

Create, or hold capital stock in, any subsidiary that is not wholly owned (either directly or through one or more other subsidiaries) by us or permit any direct or indirect subsidiary to sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of the assets of any subsidiary.

 

 

Change our principal business, enter new lines of business, or exit the current line of business.

 

 

Enter into any agreement involving the payment, contribution, or assignment by us or to us of money or assets greater than $10,000.

 

 

Enter into or be a party to any transaction outside of the ordinary course of business with any our directors, officers, or employees or any “associate” (as defined in Rule 12b-2 promulgated under the Exchange Act) of any such person or entity.

 

 

Acquire, by merger, stock purchase, asset purchase or otherwise, any material assets or securities of any other corporation, partnership or other entity.

 

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Provisions in our charter documents and Delaware law could make an acquisition of us more difficult and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management, even if beneficial to our stockholders.

 

Provisions in our certificate of incorporation and our bylaws may discourage, delay or prevent a merger, acquisition or other change in control that some stockholders may consider favorable, including transactions in which you might otherwise receive a premium for your shares of our common stock. These provisions could also limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock, possibly depressing the market price of our common stock.

 

In addition, these provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace members of our Board of Directors. Because our Board of Directors is responsible for appointing the members of our management team, these provisions could in turn affect any attempt by our stockholders to replace members of our management team.

 

Our Board of Directors is authorized to issue preferred stock without stockholder approval, which could be used to institute a “poison pill” that would work to dilute the stock ownership of a potential hostile acquirer, effectively preventing acquisitions that have not been approved by our Board of Directors. Our certificate of incorporation authorizes our Board of Directors to issue up to 1,000,000 shares of preferred stock. The preferred stock may be issued in one or more series, the terms of which may be determined by our Board of Directors at the time of issuance or fixed by resolution without further action by the stockholders. These terms may include voting rights, preferences as to dividends and liquidation, conversion rights, redemption rights and sinking fund provisions. The issuance of preferred stock could diminish the rights of holders of our common stock, and, therefore, could reduce the value of our common stock. In addition, specific rights granted to holders of preferred stock could be used to restrict our ability to merge with, or sell assets to, a third party. The ability of our Board of Directors to issue preferred stock could delay, discourage, prevent or make it more difficult or costly to acquire or effect a change in control, thereby preserving the current stockholders’ control.

 

Delaware law and certain provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws may prevent efforts by our stockholders to change the direction or management of the Company.

 

We are a Delaware corporation, and the anti-takeover provisions of Delaware law impose various impediments to the ability of a third party to acquire control of us, even if a change of control would be beneficial to our existing stockholders. In addition, our certificate of incorporation, as amended, and bylaws contain provisions that may make the acquisition of the Company more difficult, including, but not limited to, the following:

 

 

setting forth specific procedures regarding how our stockholders may nominate directors for election at stockholder meetings;

 

 

permitting our Board of Directors to issue preferred stock without stockholder approval; and

 

 

limiting the rights of stockholders to amend our bylaws.

 

These provisions could discourage, delay or prevent a transaction involving a change in control of our Company. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for stockholders to elect directors of their choosing and cause us to take other corporate actions. In addition, because our Board of Directors is responsible for appointing the members of our management team, these provisions could in turn affect any attempt by our stockholders to replace current members of our management team.

 

Because we do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future, you may not receive any return on investment unless you sell your common stock for a price greater than that which you paid for it.

 

We do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future, and our stockholders will not be guaranteed, or have contractual or other rights, to receive dividends. Our Board of Directors may, in its discretion, modify or repeal our dividend policy or discontinue entirely the payment of dividends. The declaration and payment of dividends depends on various factors, including: our net income, financial condition, cash requirements, future prospects and other factors deemed relevant by our Board of Directors. In addition, state insurance regulators will limit the amount of dividends, if any, we can draw from our UCS insurance operations and Link’s credit agreement prohibits it from issuing dividends to us if as a result of any such dividend Link would be in violation of the financial covenants set forth in the credit agreement.

 

In addition, under the Delaware General Corporation Law, which we refer to as the “DGCL,” our Board of Directors may not authorize payment of a dividend unless it is either paid out of our surplus, as calculated in accordance with the DGCL, or if we do not have a surplus, it is paid out of our net profits for the fiscal year in which the dividend is declared and/or the preceding fiscal year.

 

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If we are, or were, a U.S. real property holding corporation, non-U.S. holders of our Class A common stock could be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the gain from its sale, exchange or other disposition.

 

If we are or ever have been a U.S. real property holding corporation, which we refer to as “USRPHC,” under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 and applicable United States Treasury regulations, which we refer to collectively as the “FIRPTA Rules,” unless an exception applies, certain non-U.S. investors in our Class A common stock would be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the gain from the sale, exchange or other disposition of shares of our Class A common stock, and such non-U.S. investor would be required to file a United States federal income tax return. In addition, the purchaser of such Class A common stock would be required to withhold a portion of the purchase price and remit such amount to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

 

In general, under the FIRPTA Rules, a company is a USRPHC if its interests in U.S. real property comprise at least 50% of the fair market value of its assets. If we are or were a USRPHC, so long as our Class A common stock is “regularly traded on an established securities market” (as defined under the FIRPTA Rules), a non-U.S. holder who, actually or constructively, holds or held no more than 5% of our Class A common stock is not subject to U.S. federal income tax on the gain from the sale, exchange or other disposition of our common stock under FIRPTA Rules. In addition, other interests in equity of a USRPHC may qualify for this exception if, on the date such interest was acquired, such interests had a fair market value no greater than the fair market value on that date of 5% of our Class A common stock. Any of our Class A common stockholders that are non-U.S. persons should consult their tax advisors to determine the consequences of investing in our Class A common stock.

 

You may be diluted by the future issuance of additional Class A common stock in connection with acquisitions, sales of our securities or otherwise.

 

As of March 25, 2022, we had 10,196,083 shares of Class A common stock authorized but unissued under our certificate of incorporation. We will be authorized to issue these shares of Class A common stock and options, rights, warrants and appreciation rights relating to Class A common stock for consideration and on terms and conditions established by our Board of Directors in its sole discretion, subject to applicable laws and NYSE rules, whether in connection with acquisitions, financings or otherwise. Any Class A common stock that we issue would dilute the percentage ownership held by current investors.

 

In the future, we may issue our securities, including shares of our common stock, in connection with financings, investments or acquisitions. We regularly evaluate potential acquisition opportunities, including ones that would be significant to us. We cannot predict the timing of any contemplated transactions, and none are currently probable, but any pending transaction could be entered into shortly after the filing of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The amount of shares of our Class A common stock issued in connection with a financing, investment or acquisition could constitute a material portion of our then-outstanding shares of Class A common stock. Any issuance of additional securities in connection with financings, investments or acquisitions may result in additional dilution to you.

 

Our authorized preferred stock exposes holders of our common stock to certain risks.

 

Our certificate of incorporation authorizes the issuance of up to 1,000,000 shares of preferred stock. The authorized but unissued preferred stock constitutes what is commonly referred to as “blank check” preferred stock. This type of preferred stock may be issued by the Board of Directors from time to time on any number of occasions, without stockholder approval, as one or more separate series of shares comprised of any number of the authorized but unissued shares of preferred stock, designated by resolution of the Board of Directors stating the name and number of shares of each series and setting forth separately for such series the relative rights, privileges and preferences thereof, including, if any, the: (i) rate of dividends payable thereon; (ii) price, terms and conditions of redemption; (iii) voluntary and involuntary liquidation preferences; (iv) provisions of a sinking fund for redemption or repurchase; (v) terms of conversion to common stock, including conversion price and antidilution protection, and (vi) voting rights. Such preferred stock may provide our Board of Directors the ability to hinder or discourage any attempt to gain control of us by a merger, tender offer at a control premium price, proxy contest or otherwise. Consequently, the preferred stock could entrench our management. The market price of our Class A common stock could be depressed to some extent by the existence of the preferred stock. As of March 25, 2022, no shares of preferred stock have been issued.

 

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Our certificate of incorporation designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, employees or agents.

 

Our certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, be the sole and exclusive forum for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers, employees or agents to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws, (iv) any action to interpret, apply, enforce or determine the validity of our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws or (v) any action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock will be deemed to have notice of, and consented to, the provisions of our certificate of incorporation described in the preceding sentence. This choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers, employees or agents, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and such persons. Alternatively, if a court were to find these provisions of our certificate of incorporation inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

Our directors have limited liability under Delaware law.

 

Pursuant to our certificate of incorporation, and Delaware law, our directors are not liable to us or our stockholders for monetary damages for breach of fiduciary duty, except for: liability in connection with a breach of the duty of loyalty; acts or omissions not in good faith; acts or omissions that involve intentional misconduct or a knowing violation of law; dividend payments or stock repurchases that are illegal under Delaware law; or any transaction in which a director has derived an improper personal benefit. Accordingly, except in those circumstances, our directors will not be liable to us or our stockholders for breach of their duty.

 

Our ability to use our net operating loss carry forwards may be subject to limitation and may result in increased future tax liability.

 

Sections 382 and 383 of the Internal Revenue Code contain rules that limit the ability of a company that undergoes an “ownership change” to utilize its net operating loss and tax credit carry forwards and certain built-in losses recognized in years after the ownership change. An “ownership change” is generally defined in Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code as any change in ownership of more than 50% of a corporation’s stock over a rolling three-year period by stockholders that own (directly or indirectly) 5% or more of the stock of a corporation, or arising from a new issuance of stock by a corporation. If an ownership change occurs, Section 382 generally imposes an annual limitation on the use of pre-ownership change net operating losses, which we refer to as “NOLs,” credits and certain other tax attributes to offset taxable income earned after the ownership change. The annual limitation is equal to the product of the applicable long-term tax exempt rate and the value of the company’s stock immediately before the ownership change. This annual limitation may be adjusted to reflect any unused annual limitation for prior years and certain recognized built-in gains and losses for the year. In addition, Section 383 generally limits the amount of tax liability in any post-ownership change year that can be reduced by pre-ownership change tax credit carryforwards. This could result in increased U.S. federal income tax liability for us if we generate taxable income in a future period. Limitations on the use of NOLs and other tax attributes could also increase our state tax liability. The use of our tax attributes will also be limited to the extent that we do not generate positive taxable income in future tax periods. As a result of these limitations, we may be unable to offset future taxable income (if any) with losses, or our tax liability with credits, before such losses and credits expire. Accordingly, these limitations may increase our federal income tax liability. NOLs generated during 2018 and thereafter do not expire.

 

As of December 31, 2021, we had NOLs of approximately $25.4 million. We continue to assess the impact of the 2018 private placement, our “at the market” offerings, our 2020 public offering, our 2021 public offering and other transactions to determine whether an “ownership change,” as defined in Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code, has occurred and, if so, the limitations on our ability to utilize NOLs. Additionally, it is possible that future transactions may cause us to undergo one or more ownership changes. Certain of these NOLs may be also at risk of limitation in the event of a future ownership change.

 

We have U.S. federal and state NOLs. In general, NOLs in one state cannot be used to offset income in any other state. Accordingly, we may be subject to tax in certain jurisdictions even if we have unused NOLs in other jurisdictions. Also, each jurisdiction in which we operate may have its own limitations on our ability to utilize NOLs or tax credit carryovers generated in that jurisdiction. These limitations may increase our federal, state, and/or foreign income tax liability.

 

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Item 1B.    Unresolved Staff Comments.

 

None.

 

Item 2.    Properties.

 

Our corporate headquarters is located in Omaha, Nebraska.  As of December 31, 2021, we maintained offices in various locations in the United States with leases expiring between 2022 and 2033. In connection with the acquisition of various billboard sites, we own a small percentage of these sites and in most instances lease the sites from third parties. Land leases related to the structures are typically paid in advance for periods ranging from one to twelve months. The lease contracts include those with fixed payments and those with escalating payments. Some of the lease contracts contain a base rent payment plus an additional amount up to a particular percentage of revenue. In the opinion of our management, our properties are adequate and suitable for our business as presently conducted and are adequately maintained. We also own several parcels in Arizona used by our broadband business for storage of equipment.

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings.

 

Due to the nature of our business, we are, from time to time and in the ordinary course of business, involved in routine litigation or subject to disputes or claims related to our business activities, including, without limitation, workers’ compensation claims and employment-related disputes. In the opinion of our management, none of the pending litigation, disputes or claims against us, if decided adversely, will have a material adverse effect individually or in the aggregate on our financial condition, cash flows or results of operations.

 

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

 

Not applicable.

 

PART II

 

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

 

Certain Information Regarding the Trading of Our Common Stock

 

Since January 14, 2022, our Class A common stock publicly trades on the New York Stock Exchange and currently trades under the trading symbol “BOC”.  From June 16, 2017 through January 13, 2022, our Class A common stock traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market. Prior to this time, our Class A common stock traded on the OTCQX with limited trading volume. Currently, there is no public trading market for our Class B common stock.

 

As of March 25, 2022, the closing price per share of our common stock was $28.65, as reported by the NYSE.

 

Holders of Our Common Stock

 

As of March 25, 2022, there were approximately 78 holders of record of shares of our Class A common stock. This number does not include stockholders for whom shares are held in “nominee” or “street” name.  As of March 25, 2022, there were 28,642,801 shares of Class A common stock outstanding. As of March 25, 2022, we also had 1,055,560 shares of Class B common stock held entirely by MCF and BP, as well as warrants held by MCF to purchase up to an additional 52,778 shares of our Class B common stock, warrants held by BP to purchase up to 51,994 shares of our Class B common stock, and warrants held by an unaffiliated investor to purchase up to 784 shares of our Class A common stock, each at exercise prices ranging from $8.00 to $10.00 per share. 

 

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Dividend Policy

 

We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain all of our future earnings, if any, to finance the growth and development of our business. We do not intend to pay any cash dividends to the holders of our common stock in the foreseeable future. We are not required to pay dividends, and our stockholders will not be guaranteed, or have contractual or other rights to receive, dividends. The declaration and payment of any future dividends will be at the sole discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend upon, among other things, our earnings, financial condition, capital requirements, level of indebtedness, contractual restrictions with respect to the payment of dividends, opportunity set for retained capital, and other considerations that our Board of Directors deems relevant. In addition, state insurance regulators will limit the amount of dividends, if any, we can draw from our UCS insurance operations. In addition, Link’s loan credit facility limits its ability to issue cash dividends to us during any period in which it is in default of any loan covenant. Our Board of Directors may decide, in its discretion, at any time, to modify or repeal the dividend policy or discontinue entirely the payment of dividends.

 

The ability of our Board of Directors to declare a dividend is also subject to limits imposed by Delaware corporate law. Under Delaware law, our Board of Directors and the boards of directors of our corporate subsidiaries incorporated in Delaware may declare dividends only to the extent of our “surplus,” which is defined as total assets at fair market value minus total liabilities, minus statutory capital, or if there is no surplus, out of net profits for the fiscal year in which the dividend is declared and/or the preceding fiscal year.

 

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

 

On March 18, 2020, we announced the authorization of a share repurchase program which allowed us to repurchase up to $20 million of our Class A common stock. We did not repurchase any shares under this program prior to its expiration in 2021. Due to continuing market volatility and geopolitical and economic uncertainty, we intend to reinstate a $30 million share repurchase plan in the immediate future. We cannot predict when or if we will repurchase any shares of Class A common stock as the determination whether to effect any share repurchases will depend on a number of factors, including constraints specified in any Rule 10b5-1 trading plans, price, general business and market conditions, and alternative investment opportunities.

 

Equity Compensation Plans

 

We currently do not have any equity compensation plans under which our equity securities are authorized for issuance.

 

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

Not applicable.

 

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data.

 

Not applicable as we are a “smaller reporting company.”

 

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Item 7.

Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

 

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with our consolidated financial statements and related notes appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The following discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results and the timing of certain events could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors, including those discussed below and as set forth under Summary Risk Factors and “Item 1A. Risk Factors.” Please also refer to the section under the heading “Cautionary Note Concerning Forward-Looking Statements.”

 

Overview

 

We are currently engaged in outdoor billboard advertising, surety insurance and related brokerage businesses, and broadband services businesses. In addition, we hold minority investments in commercial real estate management and brokerage services, a bank focused on servicing the automotive loan market, and Sky Harbour Group Inc., a developer and operator of airplane hangars for general aviation.

 

Billboards. In June 2015, we commenced our billboard business operations through acquisitions by Link, our wholly-owned subsidiary, of smaller billboard companies located in the Southeast United States and Wisconsin. During July and August 2018, we acquired the membership interest or assets of three larger billboard companies which increased our overall billboard count to approximately 2,900 billboards. In addition, we have made additional billboard acquisitions on a smaller scale since that date, including our acquisition of approximately 900 billboards in 2021. We believe that we are a leading outdoor billboard advertising company in the markets we serve in the Midwest. As of December 31, 2021, we operate approximately 3,900 billboards with approximately 7,400 advertising faces. One of our principal business objectives is to continue to acquire additional billboard assets through acquisitions of existing billboard businesses in the United States when they can be made at what we believe to be attractive prices relative to other opportunities generally available to us.

 

Surety Insurance. In April 2016, our surety insurance business commenced with the acquisition of a surety insurance brokerage business with a national internet-based presence. In December 2016, we completed the acquisition of UCS, a surety insurance company, which at that time was licensed to issue surety bonds in only nine states. UCS now has licenses to operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, over the last four years, we have also acquired additional surety insurance brokerage businesses located in various regions of the United States.

 

Broadband Services. In March 2020, we commenced our broadband services business with the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of FibAire and provide these services to over 8,000 customers located in Arizona. In December 2020, we acquired substantially all of the business assets of UBB and provide broadband services to over 10,000 subscribers throughout Utah. In September 2021, we announced the launch of Fiber Fast Homes, LLC (“FFH”), which partners with builders, developers and build-to-rent communities to build fiber-to-the-home infrastructure and provide fiber internet service to residents. We hope to continue to expand in Arizona, Utah, and other locales.

 

Investments:

 

 

Since September 2015, we have made a series of investments in commercial real estate, a commercial real estate management, brokerage and related services business as well as an asset management business. We currently own 30% of Logic and approximately 49.9% of 24th Street Holding Co., both directly and indirectly through our ownership in Logic. In addition, we have invested, through one of our subsidiaries, an aggregate of $6 million in 24th Street Fund I, LLC and 24th Street Fund II, LLC. These funds are managed by 24th Street Asset Management, LLC, a subsidiary of 24th Street Holding Co. and focus on opportunities within secured lending and direct investments in commercial real estate.

 

 

In December 2017, we invested $10 million in common units of DFH, the parent company of Dream Finders Homes, LLC, a national home builder with operations in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and northern Virginia. In addition to its homebuilding operations, DFH’s subsidiaries provide mortgage loan origination and title insurance services to homebuyers. In May 2019, we invested, through one of our subsidiaries, an additional $12 million in DFH through the purchase of preferred units with a mandatory preferred return of 14%. These preferred units were subsequently redeemed by DFH in 2020. On January 25, 2021, Dream Finders Homes, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of DFH, completed its initial public offering and implemented an internal reorganization (the “Merger”) pursuant to which Dream Finders Homes, Inc. became a holding company and sole manager of DFH. Upon completion of the Merger, our outstanding common units in DFH were converted into 4,681,099 shares of Class A Common Stock of Dream Finders Homes, Inc., and one of our subsidiaries purchased an additional 120,000 shares of Class A common stock in the initial public offering. Prior to its initial public offering, we loaned DFH $20 million to assist it in financing an acquisition which was consummated prior to its initial public offering. This loan was repaid in full with interest in early 2021. Since DFH’s initial public offering through December 31, 2021, we have sold 1,933,062 shares of DFH Class A common stock for gross proceeds of approximately $34.9 million.

 

 

In May 2018, through one of our subsidiaries, we invested approximately $19 million through the purchase of common stock of CB&T Holding Corporation, the privately-held parent company of Crescent Bank & Trust, Inc. Our investment represents 14.99% of CB&T’s outstanding common stock. Crescent is located in New Orleans and generates the majority of its revenues from indirect subprime automobile lending across the United States.

 

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In October 2020, we acted as the sponsor for the initial public offering of Yellowstone, a SPAC. We purchased Yellowstone Class B common stock and private placement warrants at a cost of approximately $7.8 million. On August 1, 2021, Yellowstone entered into an equity purchase agreement with Sky Harbour LLC by which Sky Harbour LLC unitholders would acquire a majority interest in the combined businesses following the completion of a business combination. As part of the equity purchase agreement, and immediately prior to the completion by Sky Harbour LLC of a private activity bond financing raising $160 million in proceeds in September 2021, we purchased Class B Preferred Units in Sky Harbour LLC for a purchase price of $55 million, which Class B Preferred Units converted to 5,500,000 shares of Sky Harbour Group Corporation (“Sky” Class A common stock upon the closing of the Sky business combination on January 25, 2022. Also, upon the closing of the Sky business combination in January 2022, we purchased an additional 4,500,000 shares of Sky Class A common stock for a purchase price of $45 million. Upon the closing of the Sky business combination, our Class B common stock converted to Class A common stock of Sky and our private placement warrants are now exercisable to purchase 7,719,779 shares of Class A common stock of Sky (the “Sky Warrants”). Each Sky Warrant is exercisable for one share of Class A common stock at a price of $11.50 per share, subject to adjustment, with each Sky Warrant being exercisable commencing February 24, 2022. Our Sky Class A common stock (other than the 4,500,000 shares of Class A common stock purchased on January 25, 2022 and the Sky Warrants) remain subject to a lockup for a period of at least the first to occur of (A) January 25, 2023, (B) if the last sale price of SHG Corporation’s Class A common stock equals or exceeds $12.00 per share (as adjusted for stock splits, stock dividends, reorganizations, recapitalizations and the like) for any 20 trading days within any 30-trading day period commencing at least 150 days after January 25, 2022, or (C) the date on which Sky completes a liquidation, merger, capital stock exchange, reorganization or other similar transaction that results in all of the Sky stockholders having the right to exchange their shares of Class A common stock for cash, securities or other property. Subsequent to the closing of the Sky business combination, we are completing the distribution of 75,000 shares of Sky Class A common stock to the outside directors of Yellowstone and 206,250 shares of Sky Class A common stock to an investor in the Yellowstone IPO.

 

 

To date, we have invested a total of $107.8 million in Sky.  Our ownership of Sky Class A common stock and Sky Warrants are currently unregistered although these shares may be registered in the future based upon certain registration rights agreements we have in place with Sky.  In addition to the lock-up restrictions described above, it is possible that, based upon a number of factors, we could be deemed an affiliate of Sky and absent the registration of our Class A common stock and warrants, our ability to liquidate all or a portion of our holdings in Sky could be subject to the volume trading limitations contained in Rule 144, which generally limits the ability to sell shares in any one quarter to the greater of 1% of the issued and outstanding shares of Class A common stock or the average weekly trading volume of such shares over the four weeks preceding the date of the sale.   

 

 

We recently established a subsidiary within Boston Omaha Asset Management, LLC (“BOAM”) to operate a proposed build for rent business in which we would develop and own single family detached and/or townhomes for long term rental. We have recently bought parcels of land in Nevada which we hope to develop or repurpose for other uses. We are currently providing 100% of the financing for the initial stages of these projects but may consider a range of financing options in the future, such as raising third party capital to be invested alongside our capital. Once completed and stabilized, we expect that these properties will be financed with long term fixed rate debt capital. In addition to developing and managing these properties, we would also expect to provide broadband services to these homes, providing us a second or third source of potential revenue from these developments. 

 

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In each of our businesses, we hope to expand our geographic reach and market share and seek to develop a competitive advantage and/or brand name for our services, which we hope will be a differentiating factor for customers. Our insurance market primarily services small contractors, small and medium-sized businesses and individuals required to provide surety bonds (i) in connection with their work for government agencies and others, (ii) in connection with contractual obligations, or (iii) to meet regulatory requirements and other needs. We have expanded the licensing of the UCS business to all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  In outdoor advertising, our plan is to continue to grow this business through acquisitions of billboard assets. We also expect to expand our broadband services in Arizona, Utah and in other locations. We also expect to continue to make additional investments in real estate management service businesses, as well as in other businesses. In the future, we expect to expand the range of services we provide in the insurance sector, seek to continue to expand our billboard operations and broadband services and to possibly consider acquisitions of other businesses, as well as investments, in other sectors. Our decision to expand outside of these current business sectors we serve or in which we have made investments will be based on the opportunity to acquire businesses which we believe provide the potential for sustainable earnings at an attractive level relative to capital employed and, with regard to investment, we believe have the potential to provide attractive returns.

 

We seek to enter markets where we believe demand for our services will grow in the coming years due to certain barriers to entry and/or to anticipated long-term demand for these services. In the outdoor billboard business, government restrictions often limit the number of additional billboards that may be constructed. At the same time, advances in billboard technology provide the opportunity to improve revenues through the use of digital display technologies and other new technologies. In the surety insurance business, new insurance companies must be licensed by state agencies that impose capital, management and other strict requirements on these insurers. These hurdles are at the individual state level, with statutes often providing wide latitude to regulators to impose judgmental requirements upon new entrants. In addition, new distribution channels in certain areas of surety may provide a new opportunity. In the real estate management services market, we believe the continued growth of commercial real estate in many sections of the United States will provide opportunities for management services for the foreseeable future. We also believe our investment in both CB&T and SHG provides the opportunity for each company to significantly grow its business.  We invest our available capital and the surplus capital from UCS in a wide range of securities, including equity securities of large cap public companies, various corporate and government bonds and U.S. treasuries. In broadband services, we believe that our Fiber to the Home services can compete with traditional cable operators as broadband provides higher rates of transmission and improved speed to consumers and that, once built, other competitors may be less willing to compete in communities which we serve.

 

How We Generate Our Revenues and Evaluate Our Business

 

We currently generate revenues primarily through billboard advertising and related services, from the sale of surety insurance and related brokerage activities and by providing high-speed broadband services. Revenue for outdoor advertising space rental is recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the contract and advertising revenue is reported net of agency commissions. Payments received in advance of being earned are recorded as deferred revenue. In our surety insurance business, premiums written are recognized as revenues based on a pro rata daily calculation over the respective terms of the policies in-force. Unearned premiums represent the portion of premiums written applicable to the unexpired term of the policies in-force. In connection with our surety agency business, insurance commissions are recognized at a point in time, on a bond-by-bond basis as of the policy effective date and are generally nonrefundable. In our broadband business, revenue is derived principally from internet services and is recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the contract in the period the services are rendered. Revenue received or receivable in advance of the delivery of services is included in deferred revenue.

 

Segment gross profit is a key metric that we use to evaluate segment operating performance and to determine resource allocation between segments. We define segment gross profit as segment revenues less segment direct cost of services. In our billboard business, direct cost of services includes land leases, utilities, repairs and maintenance of equipment, sales commissions, contract services, and other billboard level expenses. In our surety business, direct cost of services includes commissions, premium taxes, fees and assessments, and losses and loss adjustment expenses. In our broadband business, direct costs of services includes network operations and data costs, programming costs, cell site rent and utilities, and other broadband level expenses.

 

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Results of Operations

 

Year Ended December 31, 2021 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2020

 

The following is a comparison of our results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2021, which we refer to as “fiscal 2021,” compared to the year ended December 31, 2020 which we refer to as “fiscal 2020.”

 

Revenues.  For fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2020, our revenues in dollars and as a percentage of total revenues were as follows:

 

   

For the Years Ended December 31,

 
   

2021

   

2020

   

2021 vs 2020

 
   

Amount

   

As a % of Total Revenues

   

Amount

   

As a % of Total Revenues

   

$ Variance

 

Revenues:

                                       

Billboard rentals, net

  $ 31,499,235       55.3 %   $ 28,260,964       61.8 %   $ 3,238,271  

Broadband services

    15,234,266       26.7 %     3,836,537       8.4 %     11,397,729  

Premiums earned

    7,686,400       13.5 %     11,723,886       25.6 %     (4,037,486 )

Insurance commissions

    2,212,849       3.9 %     1,494,379       3.3 %     718,470  

Investment and other income

    339,061       0.6 %     427,697       0.9 %     (88,636 )

Total Revenues

  $ 56,971,811       100.0 %   $ 45,743,463       100.0 %   $ 11,228,348  

 

We realized total revenues of $56,971,811 during fiscal 2021, an increase of 24.5% over revenues of $45,743,463 during fiscal 2020. The increase in total revenues was largely driven by our acquisition of FibAire in March 2020, our acquisition of UBB in December 2020, and growth within our billboard business after being negatively impacted from the COVID-19 pandemic during fiscal 2020. These increases in revenue were partially offset by lower revenue within our UCS insurance subsidiary, mainly due to the suspension of its rental guarantee bond program. Due to the disruption in this market, in the second quarter of 2020, we suspended issuing new rental guarantee bonds, which could reduce future revenues at UCS. We recognize revenues for written premium over the life of the surety bond and, as a result, increased sales activities are not fully reflected in the quarter in which the surety bond is issued.

 

 

Net billboard rentals increased by 11.5% in fiscal 2021, when compared to fiscal 2020, reflecting an improvement in rental and occupancy rates across a number of our markets after being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In addition, the acquisition of billboards from Thomas Outdoor Advertising, Inc. ("Thomas") in January 2021 accounted for approximately 3.4% of our billboard revenues in in fiscal 2021.

 

 

Revenue from broadband services in fiscal 2021 was $15,234,266, up from $3,836,537 in fiscal 2020, mainly reflecting the FibAire acquisition in March 2020 and the UBB acquisition in December 2020.

 

 

Premiums earned from our UCS insurance subsidiary decreased 34.4% in fiscal 2021 when compared to fiscal 2020. The decrease in premiums earned was primarily due to the suspension of issuing new bonds under the rental guarantee bond program.

 

 

Revenue from insurance commissions generated by our surety brokerage operations increased by 48.1% in fiscal 2021 when compared to fiscal 2020, mainly reflecting the ACS acquisition in April 2021.

 

 

Investment and other income at UCS decreased from $427,697 in fiscal 2020 to $339,061 in fiscal 2021.

 

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Expenses.  For fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2020, our expenses in dollars and as a percentage of total revenues were as follows:

 

   

For the Years Ended December 31,

 
   

2021

   

2020

   

2021 vs 2020

 
   

Amount

   

As a % of Total Revenues

   

Amount

   

As a % of Total Revenues

   

$ Variance

 

Costs and Expenses:

                                       

Cost of billboard revenues

  $ 12,094,834       21.2 %   $ 11,272,349       24.7 %   $ 822,485  

Cost of broadband revenues

    3,313,760       5.8 %     546,106       1.2 %     2,767,654  

Cost of insurance revenues

    3,182,497       5.6 %     6,690,203       14.6 %     (3,507,706 )

Employee costs

    34,245,526       60.1 %     13,041,388       28.5 %     21,204,138  

Professional fees

    7,703,901       13.5 %     4,186,841       9.2 %     3,517,060  

General and administrative

    9,756,257       17.1 %     6,969,521       15.2 %     2,786,736  

Amortization

    4,549,608       8.0 %     3,987,003       8.7 %     562,605  

Depreciation

    5,579,026       9.8 %     3,704,700       8.1 %     1,874,326  

Loss on disposition of assets

    178,911       0.3 %     199,555       0.4 %     (20,644 )

Accretion

    134,360       0.3 %     140,704       0.3 %     (6,344 )

Total Costs and Expenses

  $ 80,738,680       141.7 %   $ 50,738,370       110.9 %   $ 30,000,310  

 

During fiscal 2021, we had total costs and expenses of $80,738,680, as compared to total costs and expenses of $50,738,370 in fiscal 2020. Total costs and expenses as a percentage of revenues increased from 110.9% in fiscal 2020 to 141.7% in fiscal 2021, mainly due to bonuses totaling $7,500,000 to each of our co-Chief Executive Officers under our Management Incentive Bonus Plan and other bonuses totaling $650,000 payable to our Chief Financial Officer and a higher level of professional fees and general and administrative expenses associated with Yellowstone entering into a business combination agreement with SHG as well as Boston Omaha’s $55 million Sky Series B Preferred Units investment. Excluding the above bonus payments and costs associated with Yellowstone, our total costs and expenses as a percentage of revenues would have been 108.7% in fiscal 2021. In fiscal 2021, cost of billboard revenues and cost of insurance revenues decreased as a percentage of total revenues as compared to fiscal 2020. Cost of broadband revenues, employee costs, depreciation and general and administrative expenses increased as a percentage of total revenues mainly due to the FibAire acquisition in March 2020, the UBB acquisition in December 2020, and the consolidation of Yellowstone. Amortization, loss on disposition of assets and accretion, primarily associated with our billboard and broadband services businesses, remained relatively constant as a percentage of total revenues.

 

 

Cost of billboard revenues decreased as a percentage of billboard revenues from 39.9% in fiscal 2020 to 38.4% in fiscal 2021. The decrease was mainly related to lower ground rent expense as a percentage of billboard revenues.

 

 

During fiscal 2021, cost of insurance revenues decreased by $3,507,706, or 52.4%, from fiscal 2020. The decrease was driven by lower commissions paid due to decreased revenues within UCS from both third-party agents and the sale of certain rental guarantee bonds as well as a decrease in loss reserves at UCS related to its rental guarantee bond program.

 

 

Employee costs in fiscal 2021 increased $21,204,138 from fiscal 2020. The increase was mainly driven by the bonus payments under our Management Incentive Bonus Plan, the FibAire acquisition in March 2020, the UBB acquisition in December 2020, and the ACS acquisition in April 2021. The Management Incentive Bonus Plan provides for bonus payments to our senior management based upon increases in book value other than through the issuance of our stock and reflects the $93,163,697 in investment income we recognized in fiscal 2021.

 

 

Professional fees in fiscal 2021 were $7,703,901, or 13.5% of total revenues, as compared to $4,186,841, or 9.2% of total revenues, in fiscal 2020. The increase was mainly driven by professional fees associated with Yellowstone entering into a business combination agreement with SHG as well as Boston Omaha’s $55 million Sky Series B Preferred Units investment and the preparation of proxy materials and closing documents for the Sky business combination.

 

 

General and administrative expenses increased from $6,969,521 in fiscal 2020 to $9,756,257 in fiscal 2021, an increase of 40.0%. The increase was mainly driven by the FibAire acquisition in March 2020, the UBB acquisition in December 2020, the consolidation of Yellowstone, and an increase in other corporate related expenses.

 

 

Non-cash expenses in fiscal 2021 included $5,579,026 in depreciation expense, $4,549,608 in amortization expense, and $134,360 in accretion expense related to asset retirement obligations for certain billboard and broadband assets. The increase in depreciation and amortization expense was mainly driven by the addition of our broadband services business.

 

 

We continue to assess the impact that inflation has had and may have in the near future on our costs of operations and our ability to mitigate these increased costs through price increases passed on to our customers.

 

Net Loss from Operations. Net loss from operations in fiscal 2021 was $23,766,869, or 41.7% of total revenues, as compared to a net loss from operations of $4,994,907, or 10.9% of total revenues, in fiscal 2020. The increase in net loss from operations in dollars was primarily due to the management bonus payments, costs associated with Yellowstone entering into a business combination agreement with SHG as well as Boston Omaha’s $55 million Sky Series B Preferred Units investment, decreased revenue within our insurance operations, an increase in other corporate related expenses which were partially offset by improved operations within our billboard business and the addition of our broadband services operations. Our net loss from operations included $10,262,994 from non-cash amortization, depreciation and accretion expenses in fiscal 2021, as compared to $7,832,407 in fiscal 2020.

 

Other Income (Expense). In fiscal 2021, we had net other income of $96,940,657. Net other income included $93,163,697 in other investment income related to public equity securities mainly held by Boston Omaha, $2,854,407 related to the remeasurement of Yellowstone’s public warrants, $878,921 in equity in income of unconsolidated affiliates, interest income of $676,618 primarily derived from our short-term loan to DFH, and $323,064 in dividend income mainly from public equity securities held by Boston Omaha. These items were partially offset by interest expense of $956,050 mainly incurred under Link’s term loans. During fiscal 2020, we had net other income of $2,566,655, which included $4,685,725 in other investment losses related to public equity securities mainly held by Boston Omaha, $5,575,571 in equity in income of unconsolidated affiliates, $1,661,680 in interest income, $1,074,539 in dividend income, $217,582 of expense related to the remeasurement of the warrant liability, and interest expense of $841,828 mainly incurred under Link’s term loans.

 

As a result of a change in GAAP effective in 2018, we are required to include the unrealized changes in market prices of investments in public equity securities in our reported earnings. While we intend to hold our current securities for the longer term, we may in the future choose to sell them for a variety of reasons resulting in realized losses or gains.

 

Net Income (Loss) Attributable to Common Stockholders. We had net income attributable to common stockholders in the amount of $52,748,177 in fiscal 2021, or income per share of $1.82, based on 29,046,514 diluted weighted average shares outstanding, primarily as a result of realized and unrealized gains related to our ownership in DFH. This is compared to a net loss attributable to common stockholders of $49,089 in fiscal 2020, or a loss per share of $0.00, based on 25,675,820 weighted average shares outstanding.

 

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The following tables report results for the three segments in which we operate, billboards, insurance and broadband, for fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2020:

 

Results of Billboard Operations

 

   

For the Years Ended December 31,

 
   

2021

   

2020

 
   

Amount

    As a % of Segment Operating Revenues    

Amount

    As a % of Segment Operating Revenues  

Operating Revenues

                               

Billboard rentals, net

  $ 31,499,235       100.0 %   $ 28,260,964       100.0 %

Cost of Revenues

                               

Ground rents

    6,458,703       20.5 %     6,119,523       21.7 %

Utilities

    1,258,236       4.0 %     1,220,543       4.3 %

Commissions paid

    3,005,012       9.5 %     2,715,850       9.6 %

Other costs of revenues

    1,372,883       4.4 %     1,216,433       4.3 %

Total cost of revenues

    12,094,834       38.4 %     11,272,349       39.9 %

Gross margin

    19,404,401       61.6 %     16,988,615       60.1 %

Other Operating Expenses

                               

Employee costs

    5,838,942       18.5 %     5,775,915       20.4 %

Professional fees

    670,897       2.1 %     648,889       2.3 %

General and administrative

    2,840,673       9.0 %     3,047,168       10.8 %

Amortization

    3,428,811       10.9 %     3,291,245       11.7 %

Depreciation

    3,584,767       11.4 %     3,344,960       11.8 %

Accretion

    120,589       0.4 %     138,982       0.5 %

Loss on disposition of assets

    175,254       0.6 %     133,914       0.5 %

Total expenses

    16,659,933       52.9 %     16,381,073       58.0 %

Segment Income from Operations

    2,744,468       8.7 %     607,542       2.1 %

Interest expense, net

    (927,437 )     (2.9 %)     (833,980 )     (2.9 %)

Net Income (Loss) Attributable to Common Stockholders

  $ 1,817,031       5.8 %   $ (226,438 )     (0.8 %)

 

Comparison of Fiscal 2021 to Fiscal 2020. In fiscal 2021, net billboard revenues increased by 11.5% from fiscal 2020, reflecting an improvement in rental and occupancy rates across a number of our markets after being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In addition, the acquisition of billboards from Thomas in January 2021 accounted for approximately 3.4% of our billboard revenues in fiscal 2021. The key factors affecting our billboard operations results during fiscal 2021 were as follows:



 

Ground rent expense as a percentage of total segment operating revenues decreased from 21.7% in fiscal 2020 to 20.5% in fiscal 2021.

 

 

Commissions paid as a percentage of total segment operating revenues decreased from 9.6% in fiscal 2020 to 9.5% in fiscal 2021.

 

 

Employee costs as a percentage of total segment operating revenues decreased from 20.4% in fiscal 2020 to 18.5% in fiscal 2021.

 

 

General and administrative expenses decreased as a percentage of total segment operating revenues from 10.8% fiscal 2020 to 9.0% in fiscal 2021.

 

 

Depreciation and amortization expense increased by $239,807 and $137,566, respectively, from fiscal 2020. The increases are primarily due to the Thomas acquisition in January 2021.

 

 

Net interest expense of $927,437 in fiscal 2021 compared to net interest expense of $833,980 in fiscal 2020.

 

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Results of Insurance Operations



   

For the Years Ended December 31,

 
   

2021

   

2020

 
   

Amount

    As a % of Segment Operating Revenues    

Amount

    As a % of Segment Operating Revenues  

Operating Revenues

                               

Premiums earned

  $ 7,686,400       75.1 %   $ 11,723,886       85.9 %

Insurance commissions

    2,212,849       21.6 %     1,494,379       11.0 %

Investment and other income

    339,061       3.3 %     427,697       3.1 %

Total operating revenues

    10,238,310       100.0 %     13,645,962       100.0 %

Cost of Revenues

                               

Commissions paid

    2,071,221       20.2 %     3,468,747       25.4 %

Premium taxes, fees, and assessments

    249,267       2.5 %     305,069       2.2 %

Losses and loss adjustment expense

    862,009       8.4 %     2,916,387       21.4 %

Total cost of revenues

    3,182,497       31.1 %     6,690,203       49.0 %

Gross margin

    7,055,813       68.9 %     6,955,759       51.0 %

Other Operating Expenses

                               

Employee costs

    5,089,464       49.7 %     4,322,677       31.7 %

Professional fees

    315,455       3.1 %     459,096       3.3 %

General and administrative

    2,223,374       21.7 %     1,886,868       13.8 %

Amortization

    177,080       1.7 %     461,383       3.4 %

Depreciation

    29,143       0.3 %     23,112       0.2 %

Total expenses

    7,834,516       76.5 %     7,153,136       52.4 %

Segment Loss from Operations

    (778,703 )     (7.6 %)     (197,377 )     (1.4 %)

Interest expense, net

    (2,009 )     (0.0 %)     (359 )     (0.0 %)

Other investment income

    2,670,468       26.1 %     178,815       1.3 %

Net Income (Loss) Attributable to Common Stockholders

  $ 1,889,756       18.5 %   $ (18,921 )     (0.1 %)

 

Comparison of Fiscal 2021 to Fiscal 2020. In fiscal 2021, total operating revenues declined by 25.0% when compared to fiscal 2020, mainly due to the suspension of UCS's rental guarantee bond program. The key factors affecting our insurance operations results during fiscal 2021 were as follows:



 

Premiums earned from our UCS insurance subsidiary decreased 34.4% in fiscal 2021 when compared to fiscal 2020. The decrease in premiums earned was primarily due to the suspension of issuing new bonds under the rental guarantee bond program.

 

 

Our brokerage operations realized a 48.1% increase in insurance commissions in fiscal 2021 when compared to fiscal 2020. The increase is mainly due to the ACS acquisition completed in April 2021.

 

 

Commissions paid in fiscal 2021 decreased by $1,397,526 from fiscal 2020 primarily due to the suspension of UCS's rental guarantee bond program, which generally provided a higher commission structure, partially offset by increased subagent commissions, mainly due to the ACS acquisition completed in April 2021.

 

 

Losses and loss adjustment expenses as a percentage of insurance revenues decreased from 21.4% in fiscal 2020 to 8.4% in fiscal 2021. Losses and loss adjustment expenses are reserved monthly based on a percentage of earned premium. During fiscal 2020, UCS adjusted its reserving methodology for its rental guarantee bond program in response to market disruptions caused by COVID-19. Due to the favorable development of losses within UCS throughout fiscal 2021, our actuarial analysis at the end of 2021 indicated that UCS was over-reserved by $741,083. Management released this excess back into income to remain consistent with previous years' reserving methodologies. This adjustment contributed to the lower losses and loss adjustment expense for fiscal 2021. UCS' exposure to the rental guarantee bond program has been significantly mitigated as a majority of bonds have since expired.

 

 

Employee costs in fiscal 2021 increased by 17.7% from fiscal 2020. The increase is mainly due to the ACS acquisition completed in April 2021.

 

 

General and administrative expenses in fiscal 2021 increased by 17.8% from fiscal 2020. The increase is mainly due to IT system implementation related expenses and the ACS acquisition completed in April 2021.

 

 

During fiscal 2021, our segment loss from insurance operations of $778,703 was more than offset by other investment income of $2,670,468 mainly from unrealized gains on our investments in publicly held securities. We expect to continue to invest a portion of our excess capital in accordance with insurance regulatory limitations in both large-cap publicly traded equity securities and bonds. These investments are subject to the risk of loss in value depending upon market conditions and factors outside of our control.

 

48

 

Results of Broadband Operations

 

   

For the Years Ended December 31,

 
   

2021

   

2020

 
   

Amount

   

As a % of Segment Operating Revenues

   

Amount

   

As a % of Segment Operating Revenues

 

Operating Revenues

                               

Broadband revenues

  $ 15,234,266       100.0 %   $ 3,836,537       100.0 %

Cost of Revenues

                               

Network operations and data costs

    2,134,938       14.0 %     243,980       6.3 %

Programming costs

    99,868       0.7 %     71,500       1.9 %

Cell site rent and utilities

    594,984       3.9 %     65,181       1.7 %

Other costs of revenues

    483,970       3.2 %     165,445       4.3 %

Total cost of revenues

    3,313,760       21.8 %     546,106       14.2 %

Gross margin

    11,920,506       78.2 %     3,290,431       85.8 %

Other Operating Expenses

                               

Employee costs

    5,754,642       37.8 %     1,649,478       43.0 %

Professional fees

    759,713       5.0 %     113,029       2.9 %

General and administrative

    2,183,466       14.3 %     500,598       13.1 %

Amortization

    943,717       6.2 %     234,375       6.1 %

Depreciation

    1,870,184       12.3 %     336,628       8.8 %

Accretion

    13,771       0.0 %     1,722       0.0 %

Loss on disposition of assets

    3,657       0.0 %     65,641       1.7 %

Total expenses

    11,529,150       75.6 %     2,901,471       75.6 %

Segment Income from Operations

    391,356       2.6 %     388,960       10.2 %

Interest expense, net

    (11,852 )     (0.1 %)     (3,495 )     (0.1 %)

Noncontrolling interest in subsidiary income

    (374,095 )     (2.5 %)     (40,681 )     (1.1 %)

Net Income Attributable to Common Stockholders

  $ 5,409       0.0 %   $ 344,784       9.0 %

 

Comparison of Fiscal 2021 to Fiscal 2020. In March 2020, we commenced our broadband services business with the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of FibAire. In December 2020, we acquired substantially all of the business assets of UBB. Therefore, comparisons of our broadband results for fiscal 2021 to fiscal 2020 may not be meaningful.

 

49

 

Cash Flows

 

Cash Flows for Fiscal 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020. The table below summarizes our cash flows in dollars for fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2020:

 

   

2021

   

2020

 

Net cash provided by operating activities

  $ 7,768,237     $ 5,174,446  

Net cash used in investing activities

    (45,670,808 )     (169,399,964 )

Net cash provided by financing activities

    64,644,655       202,805,802  

Net increase in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash

  $ 26,742,084     $ 38,580,284  

 

Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities. Net cash provided by operating activities was $7,768,237 during fiscal 2021 as compared to net cash provided by operating activities of $5,174,446 during fiscal 2020. The increase in net cash provided by operating activities was primarily due to the addition of our broadband services business, increased cash flow generation within our billboard business, increased distributions from unconsolidated affiliates, and favorable working capital fluctuations, which was partially offset by the decline in operating results within our insurance business as well as costs associated with Yellowstone.

 

Net Cash Used in Investing Activities. Net cash used in investing activities was $45,670,808 during fiscal 2021 as compared with net cash used in investing activities of $169,399,964 during fiscal 2020. During fiscal 2021, net cash used in investing activities mainly consisted of our $55,000,000 Sky Series B Preferred Units investment, acquisitions within our billboard and insurance businesses totaling $41,334,711 net of cash acquired, and $21,005,626 in capital expenditures. These investments were partially offset by $52,095,404 related to the sale of marketable securities and maturing U.S. Treasury trading securities mainly held at Boston Omaha as well as the receipt of $20,000,000 of principal payments on our note receivable from DFH.

 

Net Cash Provided by Financing Activities. Net cash provided by financing activities was $64,644,655 during fiscal 2021 as compared to net cash provided by financing activities of $202,805,802 during fiscal 2020. During fiscal 2021, net cash provided by financing activities mainly consisted of $62,850,213 in gross proceeds raised through a public offering of Class A common stock and our "at the market" program, as well as $8,125,402 in proceeds from long-term debt as Link's term loan was increased to $30,000,000, offset primarily by offering costs of $3,663,291.

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

Currently, we own billboards in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin, surety insurance brokerage firms we acquired in 2016, 2017 and 2021, a surety insurance company we acquired in December 2016, broadband services providers whose assets we acquired in March 2020 and December 2020 and minority investments in several real estate management entities and a bank holding entity whose primary source of revenue is in subprime automobile lending. At December 31, 2021, we had approximately $73 million in unrestricted cash and approximately $88 million in U.S. Treasury trading securities. We subsequently invested an additional $45 million in Sky in January 2022 in connection with the consummation of the Sky business combination. Our strategy is to continue to acquire other billboard locations, insurance businesses, and broadband service providers as well as acquire other businesses and open new businesses which we believe have the potential to generate positive cash flows and when made at what we believe to be attractive prices relative to other opportunities generally available to us. We currently expect to finance any future acquisitions and investments with cash, debt and seller or third-party financing. In the future, we may satisfy all or a portion of the purchase price for an acquisition with our equity securities. In addition, we have made investments in several companies and expect to continue to make investments in the securities of both publicly traded and privately held companies.

 

There can be no assurance that we will consummate any subsequent acquisitions. Furthermore, our acquisitions are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including as to when, whether and to what extent the anticipated benefits and cost savings of a particular acquisition will be realized. Our failure to successfully identify and complete future acquisitions of assets or businesses could reduce future potential earnings, available cash and slow our anticipated growth. Although we have and continue to enter into non-binding letters of intent to acquire businesses on a regular basis, we do not have current agreements, commitments or understandings for any specific material acquisitions which are probable to be consummated at this time.

 

To date, we have raised funds through the sale of our Common Stock in public offerings, sales of our Common Stock in “at the market” programs, term loan financing through our Link subsidiary, proceeds from the sale of publicly traded securities held by us, cash flow from operations, and, prior to 2019, through private placements of our Common Stock.

 

50

 

2020 and 2021 Underwritten Public Offerings

 

On May 28, 2020, we entered into an underwriting agreement, which we refer to as the “2020 Underwriting Agreement,” with Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, which we refer to as “WFS,” and Cowen and Company, LLC, as joint lead book-running managers for a public offering of 3,200,000 shares, which we refer to as the “2021 firm shares,” of our Class A common stock at a public offering price of $16.00 per share. Under the terms of the underwriting agreement, we granted the underwriters an option, exercisable for 30 days, to purchase up to an additional 480,000 shares of Class A common stock at the public offering price less underwriting discounts and commissions, which we refer to as the “option shares.”  On June 2, 2020, we completed the public offering selling a total of 3,680,000 shares, including both the 2020 firm shares and all of the 2021 option shares, resulting in total gross proceeds to us of $58.9 million. The shares were sold in the offering pursuant to the Company’s shelf registration statement on Form S-3 (File No. 333-222853) that was declared effective on February 9, 2018, as supplemented by a prospectus supplement dated May 28, 2020, which we refer to as the “2018 Shelf Registration Statement.”

 

On March 31, 2021, we entered into an underwriting agreement, which we refer to as the “2021 Underwriting Agreement,” with WFS for a public offering of 2,300,000 shares, which we refer to as the “2021 firm shares,” of our Class A common stock, of which 2,000,000 shares were sold by Boston Omaha and 300,000 shares were sold by a selling stockholder, at a public offering price of $25.00 per share. Under the terms of the 2021 Underwriting Agreement, we granted the underwriters an option, exercisable for 30 days, to purchase up to an additional 345,000 shares of Class A common stock at the public offering price less underwriting discounts and commissions, which we refer to as the “2021 option shares.” On April 6, 2021, we announced the completion of the public offering consisting of 2,345,000 shares, including both the 2021 firm shares and all of the 2021 option shares issued as a result of the underwriters’ exercise in full of their over-allotment option, resulting in total gross proceeds to us of $58.6 million. We raised this capital to fund the planned expansion of our fiber-to-the-home broadband business, to seek to grow our Link billboard business through the acquisitions of additional billboard businesses, and for general corporate purposes. The shares were sold in the offering pursuant to the Company’s universal shelf registration statement on Form S-3ASR (File No. 333-254870) that was declared effective on March 30, 2021, which we refer to as the “2021 Shelf Registration Statement.” The 2021 Shelf Registration Statement will expire upon the filing of this Annual Report as we will no longer qualify as a well-known seasoned issuer as the market float of our Class A common stock held by non-affiliates will be less than $700 million during the 60-day period prior to the filing of this Annual Report.  As a result, we expect to file a new shelf registration statement for the sale of up to $300 million of our securities immediately following the filing of this Annual Report.  Any new shelf registration statement will not be immediately effective and will be subject to review by the SEC.

 

We may, from time to time, in one or more offerings, offer and sell an indeterminate amount of any combination of Class A common stock or preferred stock, various series of debt securities and/or warrants. The shelf registration statement may also be used by one or more selling security holders to be identified in the future of our securities. We or any selling security holders may offer these securities from time to time in amounts, at prices and on terms determined at the time of offering. We may sell these securities to or through one or more underwriters, dealers or agents or directly to purchasers on a delayed or continuous basis. Unless otherwise set forth in an applicable prospectus supplement, we intend to use the net proceeds from the sale of the securities that we offer for general corporate purposes, including, but not limited to, financing our existing businesses and operations, and expanding our businesses and operations through additional hires, strategic alliances and acquisitions.

 

51

 

At The Market Offering Programs

 

Starting in March 2018, we utilized our at the market offering that was part of our 2018 Shelf Registration Statement. This 2018 Shelf Registration Statement, which authorized us to sell up to $200 million through the sales of securities to the public, expired in February 2021 and was superseded by the 2021 Shelf Registration Statement. We sold a total of 2,630,787 shares of Class A common stock and raised gross proceeds of $60.1 million under the 2018 Shelf Registration Statement. 

 

On September 29, 2021, we entered into an at the market equity offering program (the “ATM Program”) pursuant to a Sales Agreement (the “Sales Agreement”) by and between us and WFS. This ATM Program is consistent with our historical practice of having available to management the option to issue stock from time to time in order to continue to fund the growth of its fiber to the home rural broadband business, acquire additional billboards, and make other such investments in assets as needed to seek to grow intrinsic value per share. Our general preference is always to have options available to us from a capital allocation perspective which includes, but is not limited to, having a regularly filed ATM program as well as an authorized share repurchase program.

 

Pursuant to the terms of the Sales Agreement, we could sell, from time to time, shares (collectively, the “Placement Shares”) of our Class A common stock, with an aggregate sales price of up to $100 million through WFS, in transactions that are deemed to be at the market offerings as defined in Rule 415 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). As of the date of this Report, we have sold 122,246 shares of our Class A common stock resulting in gross proceeds of approximately $4.2 million.

 

We intend to use the net proceeds from the sale of Placement Shares, after deducting WFS’ commissions and our offering expenses, for general corporate purposes, which may include financing existing businesses and operations, and expanding businesses and operations through additional acquisitions, minority investments and additional hires. To the extent that we raise additional funds by issuing equity or other securities, our shareholders may experience additional dilution. In the event we are required to obtain additional funds, there is no guarantee that we will be able to raise or obtain the additional funds or that the funds will be available on favorable terms to us. Upon the expiration of the 2021 Shelf Registration Statement and upon the effectiveness of the subsequent shelf registration statement which we expect to file with the SEC shortly after the filing of this Annual Report, we expect to enter into a similar sales agreement with WFS for sales of our securities under that new shelf registration statement.

 

For sales of Placement Shares through WFS, we paid WFS a commission at a mutually agreed rate of 3% of the gross sales price per Placement Share. The Sales Agreement contains customary representations and warranties of the parties and indemnification and contribution provisions under which we and WFS have agreed to indemnify each other against certain liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act.

 

The foregoing description of the Sales Agreement is not complete and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the full text of the Sales Agreement, a copy of which is filed as Exhibit 1.1 to the Current Report on Form 8-K as filed with the SEC on September 29, 2021.

 

52

 

Link Credit Agreement

 

On August 12, 2019, Link entered into a Credit Agreement (the “Credit Agreement”) with First National Bank of Omaha (the “Lender”) under which Link could borrow up to $40,000,000 (the “Credit Facility”). The Credit Agreement provided for an initial term loan (“Term Loan 1”), an incremental term loan (“Term Loan 2”) and a revolving line of credit. Link initially borrowed approximately $18 million under Term Loan 1 and $5.5 million under Term Loan 2. On December 6, 2021, Link entered into a Fourth Amendment to Credit Agreement (the "Fourth Amendment"), which modified the Credit Agreement by increasing the borrowing limit to $30,000,000 and combining the outstanding balances under Term Loan 1 and Term Loan 2 as well as any incremental borrowings into a term loan ("Term Loan"). The Term Loan is secured by all assets of Link and its operating subsidiaries, including a pledge of equity interests of each of Link’s subsidiaries. In addition, each of Link’s subsidiaries has joined as a guarantor to the obligations under the Credit Agreement. The loan is not guaranteed by Boston Omaha or any of our non-billboard businesses. Long-term debt included within our consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2021 consists of Link’s Term Loan borrowings of $30,000,000, of which $1,490,427 is classified as current. There were no amounts outstanding related to the revolving line of credit as of December 31, 2021.

 

Principal amounts under the Term Loan are payable in monthly installments according to a 15-year amortization schedule with principal payments commencing on January 1, 2022. The Term Loan is payable in full on December 6, 2028. During the first three years of the Term Loan, Link may prepay up to 10% of the loan principal in each year without paying any prepayment penalty. Otherwise, there is a prepayment penalty ranging between 3.0% and 0.5%. After three years, there is no prepayment penalty. The Term Loan has a fixed interest rate of 4.00% per annum. The revolving line of credit loan facility has a $5,000,000 maximum availability. Interest payments are based on the U.S. Prime Rate minus an applicable margin ranging between 0.65% and 1.15% dependent on Link’s consolidated leverage ratio. The revolving line of credit is due and payable on August 12, 2023.

 

Under the Term Loan, Link is required to comply with the following financial covenants: A consolidated leverage ratio for any test period ending on the last day of any fiscal quarter of Link (a) beginning with the fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2021 of not greater than 3.50 to 1.00, (b) beginning with the fiscal quarter ending December 31, 2022 of not greater than 3.25 to 1.00 and (c) beginning with the fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2023 and thereafter of not greater than 3.00 to 1.00. A minimum consolidated fixed charge coverage ratio of not less than 1.15 to 1.00 measured quarterly, based on rolling four quarters. The Company was in compliance with these covenants as of December 31, 2021.

 

The Credit Agreement includes representations and warranties, reporting covenants, affirmative covenants, negative covenants, financial covenants and events of default customary for financings of this type. Upon the occurrence of an event of default the Lender may accelerate the loan. Upon the occurrence of certain insolvency and bankruptcy events of default the loan will automatically accelerate. The foregoing summary of the Credit Agreement and the transactions contemplated thereby does not purport to be a complete description and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the terms and conditions of the Credit Agreement and Security Agreement, copies of which are attached as Exhibit 10.1 and Exhibit 10.2, respectively to our Form 8-K as filed with the SEC on August 13, 2019, a First Amendment to Credit Agreement, a copy of which is attached as Exhibit 10.1 to our Form 8-K as filed with the SEC on October 29, 2019, a Second Amendment to Credit Agreement, a copy of which is attached as Exhibit 10.1 to our Form 8-K as filed with the SEC on June 30, 2020, a Third Amendment to Credit Agreement (the “Third Amendment”) with the Lender as filed as Exhibit 10.1 on Form 8-K as filed with the SEC on August 24, 2021, and a Fourth Amendment to Credit Agreement with the Lender as filed as Exhibit 10.1 on Form 8-K as filed with the SEC on December 9, 2021.

 

Loan to Dream Finders Homes

 

On October 2, 2020, we provided a term loan of $20,000,000 to Dream Finders Holdings, LLC to be used in expanding DFH's footprint in the Southeast United States. The effective interest rate on this term loan is approximately 14% and matured on May 1, 2021. This loan was repaid with interest in early 2021.

 

Investments in Yellowstone Acquisition Company and Sky Harbour LLC

 

In 2020, we sponsored and invested approximately $7.8 million in Yellowstone in common stock and warrants. In August 2021, through one of our subsidiaries, we entered into a Series B Purchase Agreement with Sky Harbour under which we agreed to invest $55 million directly into SHG and receive Sky Series B Preferred Units. On September 14, 2021, we completed the $55 million transaction, purchasing the Sky Series B Preferred Units. Upon the consummation of the Sky business combination in January 2022, the Sky Series B Preferred Units converted into 5,500,000 shares of Sky's Class A common stock. In December 2021, we entered into an additional subscription agreement (the "Sky Subscription Agreement") with Sky under which we agreed to provide Sky an additional $45 million through the purchase of 4,500,000 shares of Class A common stock upon the closing of the Sky business combination. As part of the Sky business combination, all SHG equity holders retained 100% of their equity in the combined company. The cash proceeds from the Sky business combination and private activity bonds issued by Sky in September 2021 are expected to be used to fund the completion of four new airport hangar campuses in addition to expansion at SHG’s location currently in operation, the acquisition of a fifth airport hangar, and general working capital purposes.

 

The foregoing summary of the Series B Purchase Agreement and the transactions contemplated thereby does not purport to be a complete description and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the terms and conditions of the Series B Purchase Agreement, a copy of which is attached as Exhibit 10.1 to a Form 8-K as filed with the SEC on August 3, 2021 and the additional $45 million investment as evidenced by the Subscription Agreement attached as Exhibit 1.1 to a Form 8-K as fled with the SEC on December 23, 2021. Capitalized terms used herein have the meaning given to such terms in the Series B Purchase Agreement and the Sky Subscription Agreement, as applicable.

 

53

 

We believe that our existing cash and short-term investments, funds available through the Credit Agreement Link entered into on August 12, 2019, as amended, any proceeds from the Sale of Placement Shares, and any funds that we may receive from cash flows from operations will be sufficient to meet working capital requirements and anticipated capital expenditures for the next 12 months. At December 31, 2021, we had approximately $73 million in unrestricted cash, $88 million in U.S. treasury trading securities, and $71 million in marketable equity securities.

 

If future additional significant acquisition opportunities become available in excess of our currently available cash and U.S. Treasury securities, we may need to seek additional capital through long term debt borrowings, the sale of our securities, and/or other financing options and we may not be able to obtain such debt or equity financing on terms favorable to us or at all. In the future, we may use a number of different sources to finance our acquisitions and operations, including current cash on hand, potential future cash flows from operations, seller financing, debt financings including but not limited to long-term debt and line of credit facilities, including additional credit facilities which may or may not be secured by our assets or those of our operating subsidiaries, additional common or preferred equity issuances or any combination of these sources, to the extent available to us, or other sources that may become available from time to time, which could include asset sales and issuance of debt securities. In addition to Link’s current credit facility, any future debt that we incur may be recourse or non-recourse and may be secured or unsecured. Link's existing credit facility imposes restrictions on Link that could increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions by limiting our flexibility in planning for and reacting to changes in our billboard, insurance and broadband businesses. Specifically, these restrictions place limits on Link and its subsidiaries' ability to, among other things, incur additional indebtedness, make additional acquisitions and investments, pay dividends, repurchase stock, create liens, enter into transactions with affiliates, merge or consolidate or transfer or sell our billboard assets. Link’s credit facility requires it to meet a fixed charge coverage ratio and other financial covenants. Link’s ability to comply with these loan covenants may be affected by factors beyond its control and a breach of any loan covenants would likely result in an event of default under the Credit Agreement, which would permit the Lender to declare all amounts incurred thereunder to be immediately due and payable and to terminate their commitment to make future extensions of credit. We also may take advantage of joint venture or other partnering opportunities as such opportunities arise in order to acquire properties that would otherwise be unavailable to us. Any future credit facilities which we or any of our subsidiaries may enter into would likely impose similar restrictions and risks.

 

We may use the proceeds of any future borrowings to acquire assets or for general corporate purposes. In determining when to use leverage, we will assess the appropriateness of new equity or debt capital based on market conditions, including assumptions regarding future cash flow, the creditworthiness of customers and future rental rates.

 

We conduct and plan to continue to conduct our activities in such a manner as not to be deemed an investment company under the Investment Company Act.  Therefore, no more than 40% of our total assets can be invested in investment securities, as such term is defined in the Investment Company Act. In addition, we do not invest or intend to invest in securities as our primary business. We run the risk of inadvertently being deemed to be an investment company that is required to register under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “Investment Company Act”) because a significant portion of our assets consists of investments in companies in which we own less than a majority interest. The risk varies depending on events beyond our control, such as significant appreciation or depreciation in the market value of certain of our publicly traded holdings, adverse developments with respect to our ownership of certain of our subsidiaries, and transactions involving the sale of certain assets. If we are deemed to be an inadvertent investment company, we may seek to rely on a safe-harbor under the Investment Company Act that would provide us a one-year grace period to take steps to avoid being deemed to be an investment company. In order to ensure we avoid being deemed an investment company, we have taken, and may need to continue to take, steps to reduce the percentage of our assets that constitute investments assets under the Investment Company Act. These steps have included, among others, selling marketable securities that we might otherwise hold for the long-term and deploying our cash in non-investment assets. We have recently sold marketable securities, including at times at a loss, and we may be forced to sell our investment assets at unattractive prices or to sell assets that we otherwise believe benefit our business in the future to remain below the requisite threshold. We may also seek to acquire additional non-investment assets to maintain compliance with the Investment Company Act, and we may need to incur debt, issue additional equity or enter into other financing arrangements that are not otherwise attractive to our business. Any of these actions could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. Moreover, we can make no assurance that we would successfully be able to take the necessary steps to avoid being deemed to be an investment company in accordance with the safe-harbor. If we were unsuccessful, then we would have to register as an investment company, and we would be unable to operate our business in its current form. We would be subject to extensive, restrictive, and potentially adverse statutory provisions and regulations relating to, among other things, operating methods, management, capital structure, indebtedness, dividends, and transactions with affiliates. If we were deemed to be an investment company and did not register as an investment company when required to do so, there would be a risk, among other material adverse consequences, that we could become subject to monetary penalties or injunctive relief, or both, that we would be unable to enforce contracts with third parties, and/or that third parties could seek to obtain rescission of transactions with us undertaken during the period in which we were an unregistered investment company.

 

Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws do not limit the amount of debt that we may incur. Our Board of Directors has not adopted a policy limiting the total amount of debt that we may incur. Our Board of Directors will consider a number of factors in evaluating the amount of debt that we may incur. If we adopt a debt policy, our Board of Directors may from time to time modify such policy in light of then-current economic conditions, relative costs of debt and equity capital, market values of our properties, general conditions in the markets for debt and equity securities, fluctuations in the market price of our Class A common stock if then trading on any exchange, growth and acquisition opportunities and other factors. Our decision to use leverage in the future to finance our assets will be at our discretion and will not be subject to the approval of our stockholders, and we are not restricted by our governing documents or otherwise in the amount of leverage that we may use.

 

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

 

Except for our normal operating leases, we do not have any off-balance sheet financing arrangements, transactions or special purpose entities.

 

54

 

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

 

The preparation of the consolidated financial statements and related notes to the consolidated financial statements requires us to make estimates that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses, and related disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities. We base these estimates on historical results and various other assumptions believed to be reasonable, all of which form the basis for making estimates concerning the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily available from other sources. Actual results may differ from these estimates.

 

In the notes accompanying the consolidated financial statements, we describe the significant accounting policies used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements. We believe that the following represent the most significant estimates and management judgments used in preparing the consolidated financial statements.

 

Consolidation Policy

 

The financial statements of Boston Omaha Corporation include the accounts of the Company and our consolidated subsidiaries, which are comprised of voting interest entities in which we have a controlling financial interest and variable interest entities in which we are the primary beneficiary in accordance with ASC 810, Consolidation. The equity attributable to non-controlling interests in subsidiaries is shown separately in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets.

 

Purchased Intangibles and Other Long-Lived Assets

 

We amortize intangible assets with finite lives over their estimated useful lives, which range between two years and 50 years as follows: 

 

   

Years

 
         

Customer relationships

    10 to 15  

Permits, licenses, and lease acquisition costs

    10 to 50  

Noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements

    5  

Technology, trade names, and trademarks

    10 to 20  

Site location

    15  

Capitalized contract costs

    10  

 

Purchased intangible assets, including long-lived assets are reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the assets may not be fully recoverable. Factors considered in reviewing the asset values include consideration of the use of the asset, the expected life of the asset, and regulatory or contractual provisions related to such assets. Market participation assumptions are compared to our experience and the results of the comparison are evaluated. For finite-lived intangible assets, the period over which the assets are expected to contribute directly to future cash flows is evaluated against our historical experience. Impairment losses are recognized only if the carrying amount exceeds its fair value.

 

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We have acquired goodwill related to our various business acquisitions. Goodwill represents future economic benefits arising from other assets acquired in a business combination that are not individually identified and separately recognized. Goodwill, by reporting unit, is reviewed annually for impairment or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may not be fully recoverable. For our annual review, we employ a third-party valuation expert. Factors considered in the annual evaluation include deterioration in economic conditions (both macro and geographic), limitations on accessing capital, and market value of our company. Industry and market conditions such as changes in competition, the general state of the industry, regulatory and political developments, and changes in market multiples are additional components of the valuation. Changes in key personnel, strategy, and customer retention are also reviewed. If industry and economic conditions deteriorate, we may be required to assess goodwill impairment before the next annual test, which could result in impairment charges. The discounted cash flow approach that we use for valuing goodwill as part of the impairment testing approach involves estimating future cash flows expected to be generated from the related assets, discounted to their present value using a risk-adjusted discount rate.  Key assumptions utilized in estimating the future cash flows expected to be generated by each reporting unit primarily relate to forecasted revenues and premiums earned.

 

Acquisitions

 

For transactions that meet the definition of a business combination, we allocate the purchase price, including any contingent consideration, to the assets acquired and the liabilities assumed at their estimated fair values as of the date of the acquisition with any excess of the purchase price paid over the estimated fair value of net assets acquired recorded as goodwill. For transactions that meet the definition of a business combination, the determination of the final purchase price and the acquisition-date fair value of identifiable assets acquired and liabilities assumed may extend over more than one period and result in adjustments to the preliminary estimate recognized in the prior period financial statements. For transactions that meet the definition of asset purchases, we allocate the purchase price to the assets acquired and the liabilities assumed at their estimated relative fair values as of the date of the acquisition.

 

The fair value of the assets acquired and liabilities assumed is typically determined by using either estimates of replacement costs or discounted cash flow valuation methods. When determining the fair value of tangible assets acquired, we estimate the cost to replace the asset with a new asset, adjusted for an estimated reduction in fair value due to age of the asset, and the economic useful life. When determining the fair value of intangible assets acquired, we estimate the applicable discount rate, the timing and amount of future cash flows, the applicable income tax rates, and an appropriate customer attrition rate.

 

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Class A Common Stock Subject to Possible Redemption

 

As discussed in Note 18, all of the 13,598,898 Class A Common Stock sold as part of the Units in Yellowstone's Public Offering contained a redemption feature which allowed for the redemption of such public shares in connection with Yellowstone's liquidation, if there is a stockholder vote or tender offer in connection with a business combination and in connection with certain amendments to Yellowstone's amended and restated certificate of incorporation. In accordance with SEC and its staff’s guidance on redeemable equity instruments, which has been codified in ASC 480-10-S99, redemption provisions not solely within the control of the Company require common stock subject to redemption to be classified outside of permanent equity. Ordinary liquidation events, which involve the redemption and liquidation of all of the entity’s equity instruments, are excluded from the provisions of ASC 480. In January 2022, the Sky business combination with Sky was completed and, as a result, the Class A common stock subject to redemption held by public stockholders ceased to exist as all redemption rights terminated upon the closing of the business combination. Upon the closing of the Sky business combination, holders of 12,061,041 shares of Sky Class A common stock exercised their right to redeem those shares for cash at an approximate price of $10.20 per share, for an aggregate of approximately $123 million, which was paid to such holders immediately following the closing of the Sky business combination, and 1,537,857 shares of Class A common stock sold in the Yellowstone initial public offering were not redeemed.

 

Yellowstone recognizes changes in redemption value immediately as they occur and adjusts the carrying value of redeemable common stock to equal the redemption value at the end of each reporting period. Increases or decreases in the carrying amount of redeemable common stock are reflected as charges against additional paid in capital and retained earnings.

 

Warrants Accounting

 

For issued or modified warrants that meet all of the criteria for equity classification, the warrants are required to be recorded as a component of additional paid-in capital at the time of issuance. For issued or modified warrants that do not meet all the criteria for equity classification, the warrants are required to be recorded as a liability at their initial fair value on the date of issuance, and each balance sheet date thereafter. We account for warrants for shares of Yellowstone's common stock that are not indexed to Yellowstone's own stock as liabilities at fair value on the balance sheet. The warrants are subject to remeasurement at each balance sheet date and any change in fair value is recognized in our statement of operations as a non-cash gain or loss on the statements of operations. The fair value of the warrants was initially estimated using a binomial lattice model and is subsequently valued based upon the warrants' observable trading price (see Note 9).  There are no warrants for shares of Yellowstone's common stock that are indexed to Yellowstone's own stock. 

 

Losses and Loss Adjustment Expenses

 

Unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses represent estimates for the ultimate cost of unpaid reported and unreported claims incurred and related expenses. Estimates for losses and loss adjustment expenses are based on past experience of investigating and adjusting claims and consideration of the level of premiums written during the current and prior year. Since the reserves are based on estimates, the ultimate liability may differ from the estimated reserve. The effects of changes in estimated reserves are included in the results of operations in the period in which the estimates are updated.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

 

At December 31, 2021, we held no significant derivative instruments that materially increased our exposure to market risks for interest rates, foreign currency rates, commodity prices or other market price risks. Our operations are currently conducted entirely within the U.S.; therefore, we had no significant exposure to foreign currency exchange rate risk.