Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Basis Of Presentation

Basis Of Presentation
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2019
Basis of Presentation  
Basis of Presentation

(1) Basis of Presentation

The accompanying consolidated financial statements include the accounts of Qurate Retail, Inc. (formerly named Liberty Interactive Corporation prior to the Transactions (defined and described below), or “Liberty”) and its controlled subsidiaries (collectively, "Qurate Retail," the "Company," “we,” “us,” and “our”) unless the context otherwise requires). All significant intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.

Qurate Retail, through its ownership of interests in subsidiaries and other companies, is primarily engaged in the video and online commerce industries in North America, Europe and Asia.

Prior to the Transactions (described and defined below), the Company utilized tracking stocks in its capital structure. A tracking stock is a type of common stock that the issuing company intends to reflect or "track" the economic performance of a particular business or "group," rather than the economic performance of the company as a whole. Qurate Retail had two tracking stocks—QVC Group common stock and Liberty Ventures common stock, which were intended to track and reflect the economic performance of the businesses, assets and liabilities attributed to the QVC Group and the Ventures Group, respectively.  The QVC Group was comprised of the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiaries QVC, Inc., Zulily, LLC (“Zulily”), HSN, Inc. (“HSN”) and Cornerstone Brands, Inc. (“Cornerstone”), among other assets and liabilities.  The Ventures Group was comprised of businesses not included in the QVC Group including Evite, Inc. (“Evite”) and our interests in Liberty Broadband Corporation (“Liberty Broadband”), LendingTree, Inc. (“LendingTree”), investments in Charter Communications, Inc. (“Charter”) and ILG, Inc. (“ILG”), among other assets and liabilities. The Company’s results are attributed to the QVC Group and the Ventures Group through March 9, 2018.

On December 29, 2017, Qurate Retail acquired the approximately 62% of HSN it did not already own in an all-stock transaction making HSN a wholly-owned subsidiary. HSN stockholders (other than Qurate Retail) received fixed consideration of 1.65 shares of Series A QVC Group common stock (“QVCA”) for each share of HSN common stock. Qurate Retail issued 53.6 million shares QVCA common stock to HSN stockholders.  On December 31, 2018, Qurate Retail transferred its 100% ownership interest in HSN to QVC, Inc. through a transaction among entities under common control. References throughout this annual report to “QVC” refer to QVC, Inc., which includes HSN, QVC U.S. and QVC International.  Cornerstone remains a subsidiary of Qurate Retail.

On March 9, 2018, Qurate Retail completed the transactions contemplated by the Agreement and Plan of Reorganization (as amended, the “Reorganization Agreement,” and the transactions contemplated thereby, the “Transactions”) among General Communication, Inc. (“GCI”), an Alaska corporation, and Liberty Interactive LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and a direct wholly-owned subsidiary of Qurate Retail (“LI LLC”). Pursuant to the Reorganization Agreement, GCI amended and restated its articles of incorporation (which resulted in GCI being renamed GCI Liberty, Inc. (“GCI Liberty”)) and effected a reclassification and auto conversion of its common stock. After market close on March 8, 2018, Qurate Retail’s board of directors approved the reattribution of certain assets and liabilities from Qurate Retail’s Ventures Group to its QVC Group, which was effective immediately. The reattributed assets and liabilities included cash, Qurate Retail’s interest in ILG, certain green energy investments, LI LLC’s exchangeable debentures, and certain tax benefits.

Following these events, Qurate Retail acquired GCI Liberty through a reorganization in which certain Qurate Retail interests, assets and liabilities attributed to the Ventures Group were contributed (the “contribution”) to GCI Liberty in exchange for a controlling interest in GCI Liberty. Qurate Retail and LI LLC contributed to GCI Liberty their entire equity interest in Liberty Broadband, Charter, and LendingTree, the Evite operating business and other assets and liabilities attributed to Qurate Retail’s Venture Group (following the reattribution), in exchange for (a) the issuance to LI LLC of a number of shares of GCI Liberty Class A Common Stock and a number of shares of GCI Liberty Class B Common Stock equal to the number of outstanding shares of Series A Liberty Ventures common stock and Series B Liberty Ventures

common stock on March 9, 2018, respectively, (b) cash and (c) the assumption of certain liabilities by GCI Liberty. The following is a reconciliation of the assets and liabilities that were derecognized by the Company (in millions) at the date of the GCI Liberty Split-Off (as defined below):

Investment in Liberty Broadband



Investment in Charter


Corporate Cash


Margin Loan


Deferred Income Tax Liabilities


Other, net




Following the contribution, Qurate Retail effected a tax-free separation of its controlling interest in the combined company (the “GCI Liberty Split-Off”), GCI Liberty, to the holders of Liberty Ventures common stock in full redemption of all outstanding shares of such stock, in which each outstanding share of Series A Liberty Ventures common stock was redeemed for one share of GCI Liberty Class A common stock and each outstanding share of Series B Liberty Ventures common stock was redeemed for one share of GCI Liberty Class B common stock.  Simultaneous with the closing of the Transactions, QVC Group common stock became the only outstanding common stock of Qurate Retail, and thus QVC Group common stock ceased to function as a tracking stock. On April 9, 2018, Liberty Interactive Corporation was renamed Qurate Retail, Inc. On May 23, 2018, Qurate Retail amended its charter to eliminate the tracking stock capitalization structure and reclassify each share of QVC Group common stock into one share of the corresponding series of new common stock of Qurate Retail. Throughout this annual report, we refer to our Series A and Series B common stock as “Qurate Retail common stock” and “QVC Group common stock.” In July 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) completed its review of the GCI Liberty Split-Off and informed Qurate Retail that it agreed with the nontaxable characterization of the transactions. Qurate Retail received an Issue Resolution Agreement from the IRS documenting this conclusion.

On October 17, 2018, Qurate Retail announced a series of initiatives designed to better position its HSN and QVC U.S. businesses (“QRG Initiatives”). As part of the QRG Initiatives, QVC will close its fulfillment centers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Roanoke, Virginia and leased a new fulfillment center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, that commenced in 2019 (see note 9). Qurate Retail recorded transaction related costs of $41 million during the year ended December 31, 2018 related to the QRG Initiatives, which primarily related to severance costs. Also, as a result of changes in internal reporting from the QRG Initiatives, during the first quarter of 2019 the Company changed its reportable segments to combine HSN and QVC U.S. into one reportable segment called “QxH.”

Qurate Retail and GCI Liberty (for accounting purposes a related party of Qurate Retail) entered into a tax sharing agreement. Pursuant to that tax sharing agreement, GCI Liberty has agreed to indemnify Qurate Retail for taxes and tax-related losses resulting from the GCI Liberty Split-Off to the extent such taxes or tax-related losses (i) result primarily from, individually or in the aggregate, the breach of certain restrictive covenants made by GCI Liberty (applicable to actions or failures to act by GCI Liberty and its subsidiaries following the completion of the GCI Liberty Split-Off), or (ii) result from Section 355(e) of the Internal Revenue Code applying to the GCI Liberty Split-Off as a result of the GCI Liberty Split-Off being part of a plan (or series of related transactions) pursuant to which one or more persons acquire, directly or indirectly, a 50-percent or greater interest (measured by vote or value) in the stock of GCI Liberty (or any successor corporation).

Qurate Retail and Liberty Media Corporation (“LMC”) (for accounting purposes a related party of Qurate Retail) entered into certain agreements in order to govern certain of the ongoing relationships between the two companies. These agreements include a reorganization agreement, a services agreement (the “Services Agreement”), a facilities sharing agreement (the “Facilities Sharing Agreement”) and a tax sharing agreement (the “Tax Sharing Agreement”). The Tax Sharing Agreement provides for the allocation and indemnification of tax liabilities and benefits between Qurate Retail and LMC and other agreements related to tax matters.  Qurate Retail is party to on-going discussions with the IRS under the Compliance Assurance Process audit program.  The IRS may propose adjustments that relate to tax attributes allocated to and income allocable to LMC.  Any potential outcome associated with any proposed adjustments would be covered by the Tax Sharing Agreement and are not expected to have any impact on Qurate Retail's financial position.  Pursuant to the Services Agreement, LMC provides Qurate Retail with general and administrative services including legal, tax, accounting, treasury and investor relations support. See below for a description of an amendment to the services agreement entered into in December 2019. Qurate Retail reimburses LMC for direct, out-of-pocket expenses incurred by LMC in providing these services and for Qurate Retail's allocable portion of costs associated with any shared services or personnel based on an estimated percentage of time spent providing services to Qurate Retail. Under the Facilities Sharing Agreement, Qurate Retail shares office space with LMC and related amenities at LMC's corporate headquarters.  Under these various agreements approximately $8 million, $8 million and $11 million of these allocated expenses were reimbursable from Qurate Retail to LMC for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Qurate Retail had a tax sharing payable of approximately $95 million and $114 million as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively, included in Other liabilities in the consolidated balance sheets.  

In December 2019, the Company entered into an amendment to the Services Agreement in connection with LMC’s entry into a new employment arrangement with Gregory B. Maffei, the Company’s Chairman of the Board (the “Chairman”). Under the amended Services Agreement, components of his compensation will either be paid directly to him by each of the Company, Liberty TripAdvisor Holdings, Inc., GCI Liberty, Inc., and Liberty Broadband Corporation. (collectively, the “Service Companies”) or reimbursed to LMC, in each case, based on allocations among LMC and the Service Companies set forth in the amended Services Agreement, currently set at 19% for the Company. The new agreement provides for a five year employment term which began on January 1, 2020 and ends December 31, 2024, with an aggregate annual base salary of $3 million (with no contracted increase), an aggregate one-time cash commitment bonus of $5 million, an aggregate annual target cash performance bonus of $17 million, aggregate annual equity awards of $17.5 million and aggregate equity awards granted in connection with his entry into his new agreement of $90 million (the “upfront awards”).  A portion of the grants made to our Chairman in the year ended December 31, 2019 related to our Company’s allocable portion of these upfront awards.