Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)


9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2017
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Nature of Operations
Nature of Operations.   We collect, organize and manage various types of financial, demographic, employment and marketing information. Our services enable businesses to make credit and service decisions, manage their portfolio risk, automate or outsource certain human resources, employment tax and payroll-related business processes, and develop marketing strategies concerning consumers and commercial enterprises. We serve customers across a wide range of industries, including the financial services, mortgage, retail, telecommunications, utilities, automotive, brokerage, healthcare and insurance industries, as well as government agencies. We also enable consumers to manage and protect their financial health through a portfolio of products offered directly to consumers. We also provide information, technology and services to support debt collections and recovery management. As of September 30, 2017, we operated in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, India, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, or U.K., Uruguay, and the United States of America, or U.S. We also offer Equifax branded credit services in India and Russia through joint ventures, we have investments in consumer and/or commercial credit information companies through joint ventures in Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore, and have an investment in a consumer and commercial credit information company in Brazil.
We develop, maintain and enhance secured proprietary information databases through the compilation of consumer specific data, including credit, income, employment, asset, liquidity, net worth and spending activity, and business data, including credit and business demographics, that we obtain from a variety of sources, such as credit granting institutions, public record information, income and tax information primarily from large to mid-sized companies in the U.S., and survey-based marketing information.  We process this information utilizing our proprietary information management systems.
Basis of Presentation
Basis of Presentation.   The accompanying unaudited Consolidated Financial Statements have been prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, the instructions to Form 10-Q and applicable sections of SEC Regulation S-X. To understand our complete financial position and results, as defined by GAAP, this Form 10-Q should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and the notes thereto included in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 (“2016 Form 10-K”).
Our unaudited Consolidated Financial Statements reflect all adjustments which are, in the opinion of management, necessary for a fair presentation of the periods presented and are of a normal recurring nature.
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share.   Our basic earnings per share, or EPS, is calculated as net income attributable to Equifax divided by the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the period. Diluted EPS is calculated to reflect the potential dilution that would occur if stock options or other contracts to issue common stock were exercised and resulted in additional common shares outstanding. The net income amounts used in both our basic and diluted EPS calculations are the same.
Financial Instruments
Financial Instruments.   Our financial instruments consist of cash and cash equivalents, accounts and notes receivable, accounts payable and short- and long-term debt. The carrying amounts of these items, other than long-term debt, approximate their fair market values due to the short-term nature of these instruments. The fair value of our fixed-rate debt is determined using Level 2 inputs such as quoted market prices for similar publicly traded instruments, and for non-publicly traded instruments through valuation techniques involving observable inputs based on the specific characteristics of the debt instrument.
Derivatives and Hedging Activities
Derivatives and Hedging Activities.   Although derivative financial instruments are not utilized for speculative purposes or as the Company’s primary risk management tool, derivatives have been used as a risk management tool to hedge the Company’s exposure to changes in interest rates and foreign exchange rates. We have used interest rate swaps and interest rate lock agreements to manage interest rate risk associated with our fixed and floating-rate borrowings. Forward contracts on various foreign currencies have been used to manage the foreign currency exchange rate risk of certain firm commitments denominated in foreign currencies. We recognize all derivatives on the balance sheet at fair value. Derivative valuations reflect the value of the instrument including the value associated with any material counterparty risk. 

Economic Hedges.   In December 2015, in anticipation of the acquisition of Veda Group Limited ("Veda"), we purchased foreign currency options to buy Australian dollars with a weighted average strike price of $0.7225 and a notional value of 1.0 billion Australian dollars. These foreign currency options ("options") were designed to act as economic hedges for the pending Veda acquisition and were marked to market.
Fair Value Measurements
Fair Value Measurements.   Fair value is determined based on the assumptions marketplace participants use in pricing the asset or liability. We use a three level fair value hierarchy to prioritize the inputs used in valuation techniques between observable inputs that reflect quoted prices in active markets, inputs other than quoted prices with observable market data and unobservable data (e.g., a company’s own data).
The following table presents items measured at fair value on a recurring basis:
Fair Value Measurements at Reporting Date Using:
Fair Value of Assets
(Liabilities) at
September 30, 2017
Quoted Prices in
Active Markets for
Identical Assets
(Level 1)
(Level 2)
(Level 3)
(In millions)
Deferred Compensation Plan Assets(1)




Deferred Compensation Plan Liability(1)





(1)        We maintain deferred compensation plans that allow for certain management employees to defer the receipt of compensation (such as salary, incentive compensation and commissions) until a later date based on the terms of the plan. The liability representing benefits accrued for plan participants is valued at the quoted market prices of the participants’ investment elections. The asset consists of mutual funds reflective of the participants’ investment selections and is valued at daily quoted market prices.
Assets and Liabilities Measured at Fair Value on a Nonrecurring Basis. As disclosed in Note 2, we completed various acquisitions during the nine months ended September 30, 2017 and the year ended December 31, 2016. The values of net assets acquired and the resulting goodwill were recorded at fair value using Level 3 inputs. The majority of the related current assets acquired and liabilities assumed were recorded at their carrying values as of the date of acquisition, as their carrying values approximated their fair values due to their short-term nature. The fair values of goodwill and definite-lived intangible assets acquired in this acquisition were internally estimated primarily based on the income approach. The income approach estimates fair value based on the present value of the cash flows that the assets are expected to generate in the future. We developed internal estimates for the expected cash flows and discount rates in the present value calculations. The fair value of the equity method investment assets acquired were internally estimated based on the market approach. Under the market approach, we estimated fair value based on market multiples of comparable companies.
Other Current Assets
Other Current Assets. Other current assets on our Consolidated Balance Sheets primarily represent amounts in specifically designated accounts that hold the funds that are due to customers from our debt collection and recovery management services. As of September 30, 2017, these assets were approximately $24.3 million, with a corresponding balance in other current liabilities. These amounts are restricted as to their current use, and will be released according to the specific customer agreements. Other current assets also include certain current tax accounts.
Variable Interest Entities
Variable Interest Entities.  We hold interests in certain entities, including credit data, information solutions and debt collections and recovery management ventures that are considered variable interest entities, or VIEs.  These variable interests relate to ownership interests that require financial support for these entities.  Our investments related to these VIEs totaled $13.8 million at September 30, 2017, representing our maximum exposure to loss, with the exception of the guarantees referenced in Note 5.  We are not the primary beneficiary and are not required to consolidate any of these VIEs, with the exception of a debt collections and recovery management venture, for which we meet the consolidation criteria under Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") 810, Consolidation. In regards to that consolidated VIE, we have a 75% equity ownership interest and control of the activities that most significantly impact the VIE's economic performance. The assets and liabilities of the VIE for which we are the primary beneficiary were not significant to the Company’s Consolidated Financial Statements, and no gain or loss was recognized because of its consolidation.

In evaluating whether we have the power to direct the activities of a VIE that most significantly impact its economic performance, we consider the purpose for which the VIE was created, the importance of each of the activities in which it is engaged and our decision-making role, if any, in those activities that significantly determine the entity's economic performance as compared to other economic interest holders. This evaluation requires consideration of all facts and circumstances relevant to decision-making that affects the entity's future performance and the exercise of professional judgment in deciding which decision-making rights are most important.

In determining whether we have the right to receive benefits or the obligation to absorb losses that could potentially be significant to the VIE, we evaluate all of our economic interests in the entity, regardless of form (debt, equity, management and servicing fees, and other contractual arrangements). This evaluation considers all relevant factors of the entity's design, including: the entity's capital structure, contractual rights to earnings (losses), subordination of our interests relative to those of other investors, contingent payments, as well as other contractual arrangements that have the potential to be economically significant. The evaluation of each of these factors in reaching a conclusion about the potential significance of our economic interests is a matter that requires the exercise of professional judgment.
Certain of our VIEs have redeemable noncontrolling interests that are subject to classification outside of permanent equity on the Company's Consolidated Balance Sheet. The redeemable noncontrolling interests are reflected using the redemption method as of the balance sheet date. Redeemable noncontrolling interest adjustments to the redemption values are reflected in retained earnings. The adjustment of redemption value at the period end that reflects a redemption value in excess of fair value is included as an adjustment to net income attributable to Equifax stockholders for the purposes of the calculation of earnings per share. None of the current period adjustments reflect a redemption in excess of fair value. Additionally, due to the immaterial balance of the redeemable noncontrolling interest, we have elected to maintain the noncontrolling interest in permanent equity, rather than temporary equity, within our Consolidated Balance Sheet.
Other Assets
Other Assets.  Other assets on our Consolidated Balance Sheets primarily represents our investment in unconsolidated affiliates, our cost method investment in Brazil, assets related to life insurance policies covering certain officers of the Company, and employee benefit trust assets.
Cost Method Investment.   We monitor the status of our cost method investment in order to determine if conditions exist or events and circumstances indicate that it may be impaired in that its carrying amount may exceed the fair value of the investment. Significant factors that are considered that could be indicative of an impairment include: changes in business strategy, market conditions, underperformance relative to historical or expected future operating results; and negative industry or economic trends. If potential indicators of impairment exist, we estimate the fair value of the investment using a combination of a discounted cash flow analysis and an evaluation of EBITDA multiples for comparable companies. If the carrying value of the investment exceeds the estimated fair value, an impairment loss is recorded based on the amount by which the investment’s carrying amount exceeds its fair value.
Other Current Liabilities
Other Current Liabilities. Other current liabilities on our Consolidated Balance Sheets consist of corresponding amounts of other current assets, related to amounts in specifically designated accounts that hold the funds that are due to customers from our debt collection and recovery management services. As of September 30, 2017, these funds were approximately $24.3 million. These amounts are restricted as to their current use, and will be released according to the specific customer agreements. Other current liabilities also include various accrued liabilities such as costs related to the cybersecurity incident as described more fully in Note 5, interest expense, accrued employee benefits, accrued taxes, accrued payroll, and accrued legal expenses.
Change in Accounting Principle
Change in Accounting Principle. In March 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued ASU 2016-09 "Compensation - Stock Compensation (Topic 718)." This standard requires the recognition of the income tax effects of awards in the income statement when the awards vest or are settled, thus eliminating additional paid-in capital pools. The guidance also allows for the employer to repurchase more of an employee’s shares for tax withholding purposes without triggering liability accounting. The new guidance requires the related payments to taxing authorities to be retrospectively presented as a cash outflow from financing activities. As a result, we reclassified $19.7 million of cash outflows from operating activities in the first nine months of 2016 to a cash outflow from financing activities. In addition, the guidance allows for a policy election to account for forfeitures as they occur rather than on an estimated basis. The adoption of this guidance resulted in the recognition of $4.8 million, or $0.04 per diluted common share, and $24.5 million and $0.20 per diluted common share, of tax benefits in our Consolidated Statement of Income for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017, respectively. We also prospectively applied the provisions of the new guidance related to the presentation of windfall tax benefits as cash flows from operating activities which resulted in classifying $4.8 million and $24.5 million of cash flows from financing activities to operating activities for the third quarter and first nine months ended September 30, 2017. We have elected to continue to estimate forfeitures expected to occur to determine the amount of compensation cost to be recognized each period.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements
Recent Accounting Pronouncements.  Derivatives and Hedging. In August 2017, the FASB issued ASU 2017-12, “Targeted Improvements to Accounting for Hedging Activities (Topic 815).” The amendments in ASU 2017-12 provide targeted improvements to the accounting for hedging activities to better align an entity’s risk management activities and financial reporting for hedging relationships through changes to both the designation and measurement guidance for qualifying hedging relationships and the presentation of hedge results. The adoption of ASU 2017-12 will become effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2018, although early adoption is permitted. This guidance must be applied on a prospective basis. We do not expect the adoption of this ASU will have a material impact on our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

Stock Compensation. In May 2017, the FASB issued ASU 2017-09, "Compensation - Stock Compensation (Topic 718) Scope of Modification Accounting." The amendments in ASU 2017-09 require entities to apply modification accounting in Topic 718 only when changes to the terms or conditions of a share-based payment award result in changes to fair value, vesting conditions or the classification of the award as equity or liability. The adoption of ASU 2017-09 will become effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2017. Based on historical modifications we do not believe the adoption of this guidance will have a material impact on our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

Pension Costs. In March 2017, the FASB issued ASU 2017-07 "Improving the Presentation of Net Periodic Pension Cost and Net Periodic Postretirement Benefit Cost (Topic 715)." This new guidance changes how employers that sponsor defined benefit pension plans and other postretirement plans present the net periodic benefit cost in the income statement. An employer is required to report the service cost component in the same line item or items as other compensation costs arising from services rendered by the pertinent employees during the period. Other components of net benefit cost are required to be presented in the income statement separately from the service cost component and outside a subtotal of income from operations, if one is presented. The amendment also allows only the service cost component to be eligible for capitalization, when applicable. This new guidance will be effective for the Company for the first reporting period beginning after December 15, 2017, with early adoption permitted in the first quarter of 2017. The amendment will be applied retrospectively for the presentation requirements and prospectively for the capitalization of the service cost component requirements. We do not expect the adoption of this guidance to have a material impact on our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

Goodwill. In January 2017, the FASB issued ASU 2017-04 "Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment (Topic 350)." This standard eliminates Step 2 from the current goodwill impairment test, instead requiring an entity to recognize a goodwill impairment charge for the amount by which the goodwill carrying amount exceeds the reporting unit’s fair value. This guidance is effective for interim and annual goodwill impairment tests in fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019 with early adoption permitted. This guidance must be applied on a prospective basis. We do not expect the adoption of this guidance to have a material impact on our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

Definition of a business. In January 2017, the FASB issued ASU 2017-01 "Clarifying the Definition of a Business (Topic 805)." This standard provides criteria to determine when an asset acquired or group of assets acquired is not a business. When substantially all of the fair value of the gross assets acquired (or disposed of) is concentrated in a single identifiable asset or a group of similar identifiable assets, the set is not a business. This reduces the number of transactions that need to be further evaluated. The guidance is effective for interim and annual reporting periods in fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017 with early adoption permitted. We are currently evaluating the impact of the adoption of this guidance on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Leases. In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-02 “Leases (Topic 842).” This standard requires lessees to record most leases on their balance sheets and expenses on their income statements in a manner similar to current lease accounting. The guidance also eliminates current real estate-specific provisions for all entities. For lessors, the guidance modifies the classification criteria and the accounting for sales-type and direct financing leases. All entities will classify leases to determine how to recognize lease-related revenue and expense. The guidance becomes effective for fiscal years and interim reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2018. The Company is evaluating the potential effects of the adoption of this standard on its Consolidated Financial Statements.

Revenue Recognition. In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU No. 2014-9, "Revenue from Contracts with Customers." ASU 2014-9 is a comprehensive new revenue recognition model that requires a company to recognize revenue to depict the transfer of goods or services to a customer at an amount that reflects the consideration it expects to receive in exchange for those goods or services. ASU 2014-9 also requires additional disclosure about the nature, amount, timing and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows arising from customer contracts, including significant judgments and changes in judgments and assets recognized from costs incurred to obtain or fulfill a contract. ASU 2014-9 was originally effective for annual reporting periods, and interim periods within that period, beginning after December 15, 2016 and early adoption was not permitted. On July 9, 2015, the FASB voted to defer the effective date by one year to December 15, 2017 for interim and annual reporting periods beginning after that date and permitted early adoption of the standard, but not before the original effective date of December 15, 2016. Companies may use either a full retrospective or a modified retrospective approach to adopt ASU 2014-9.

Based on our current assessment, we anticipate adopting the standard using the modified retrospective method in the first quarter of fiscal 2018. The new standard will impact our contracts that have a known quantity over a defined term with price increases or decreases over the contract life. Under the current standard, the revenue related to these contracts are limited by billings in a period. Under the new standard the total contract value will be recognized ratably over the defined term or by using a transactional standalone selling price resulting in the creation of a contract asset or contract liability as transactions are delivered. Based upon analysis performed to date, we have preliminarily determined that we do not expect the revenue recognition aspects of the new standard will materially affect our consolidated net earnings, financial position, or cash flow based on the application of the guidance to our contracts with customers. We will continue to review and evaluate our contracts under the new revenue recognition model to ascertain whether additional contract types or future contracts will be affected by the new standard. Additionally, the new guidance specifies that all incremental costs of obtaining a contract and the direct costs of fulfilling a contract with customers should be deferred and recognized over the contract period or expected customer life. Based on our current assessment, we do not anticipate a significant change in our cost capitalization practices resulting from the application of the guidance. Finally, we continue to review the additional disclosures required by the new standard.