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PRTH Priority Technology

Filed: 31 Mar 21, 4:46pm

UNITED STATES
 SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
FORM 10-K
 
     ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
 
 TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the transition period from ____________ to __________     
             
Commission file number: 001-37872
Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware47-4257046
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
2001 Westside Parkway
Suite 155
Alpharetta,Georgia30004
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)

Registrant's telephone number, including area code: (800) 935-5961

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Common stock, $0.001 par valuePRTHNasdaq Global Market

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

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

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

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and  (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.   Yes       No  
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).   Yes       No  

 Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company.  See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," ''accelerated filer," "smaller reporting company" and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
 
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller 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 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. ☐
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes      No  
 
As of June 30, 2020, the last business day of the registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter, the aggregate market value of the registrant's common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $30.0 million (based upon the closing sale price of the common stock on that date on The Nasdaq Capital Market).

As of March 24, 2021, 68,088,732 shares of common stock, par value $0.001 per share, were issued and 67,637,508 shares were outstanding.


DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE    

Portions of the definitive proxy statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A relating to the Annual Meeting of shareholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc., scheduled to be held on June 9, 2021, will be incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K. Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. intends to file such proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission not later than 120 days after its fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.




  Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.
Annual Report on Form 10-K
For the Year Ended December 31, 2020
 







Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
 
Some of the statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our or our management's expectations, hopes, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future. In addition, any statements that refer to projections, forecasts or other characterizations of future events or circumstances, such as statements about our future financial performance, including any underlying assumptions, are forward-looking statements. The words "anticipate," "believe," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "future," "goal," "intend," "likely," "may," "might," "plan," "possible," "potential," "predict," "project," "seek," "should," "would," "will," "approximately," "shall" and similar expressions may identify forward-looking statements, but the absence of these words does not mean that a statement is not forward-looking. Forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K include, but are not limited to, statements about:
 
the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic;
competition in the payment processing industry;
the use of distribution partners;
any unauthorized disclosures of merchant or cardholder data, whether through breach of our computer systems, computer viruses, or otherwise;
any breakdowns in our processing systems;
government regulation, including regulation of consumer information;
the use of third-party vendors;
any changes in card association and debit network fees or products;
any failure to comply with the rules established by payment networks or standards established by third-party processor;
any proposed acquisitions or dispositions or any risks associated with completed acquisitions or dispositions; and
other risks and uncertainties set forth in the "Item 1A - Risk Factors" section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

We caution you that the foregoing list may not contain all of the forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
 
The forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are based on our current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effects on us. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements in deciding whether to invest in our securities. We cannot assure you that future developments affecting us will be those that we have anticipated. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties (some of which are beyond our control) or other assumptions, including the risk factors set forth on page 18 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, that may cause our actual results or performance to be materially different from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should any of our assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary in material respects from those projected in these forward-looking statements.
 
In addition, statements that "we believe" and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based upon information available to us as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and while we believe such information forms a reasonable basis for such statements, such information may be limited or incomplete, and our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all potentially available relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain, and investors are cautioned not to unduly rely upon these statements.
 
You should read this Annual Report on Form 10-K with the understanding that our actual future results, levels of activity, performance and achievements may be materially different from what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.
 
Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they were made. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required under applicable securities laws.


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Terms Used in the Annual Report on Form 10-K

As used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, unless the context otherwise requires, references to the terms "Company," "Priority," "we," "us" and "our" refer to Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries.
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PART I.


ITEM 1. BUSINESS

Overview of the Company
 
We are a leading provider of payment infrastructure for merchant acquiring, integrated payment software and automated payable solutions. We offer a single technology platform for integrated payments, low friction merchant boarding, underwriting, risk management and compliance monitoring to businesses, enterprises and distribution partners such as retail independent sales organizations ("ISOs"), financial institutions ("FIs"), wholesale ISOs, and independent software vendors ("ISVs"). The Company, then Priority Holdings, LLC, was founded in 2005 with a mission to build a merchant inspired payments platform that would advance the goals of our small and medium-size business clients ("SMBs"), enterprise clients, and distribution partners.

Since 2013, we have grown from the 38th largest U.S. merchant acquirer to become the 12th largest and the 5th largest non-bank merchant acquirer as of the end of 2020 according to the Nilson Report issued in March 2021. In 2020 and 2019, we processed 457 million and 513 million transactions, respectively, and $42.3 billion and $43.0 billion, respectively, in bankcard payment volume across approximately 223,000 and 203,000, respectively, merchants. Headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia near Atlanta, we had 479 employees as of December 31, 2020 and are led by an experienced group of payments executives.
 
Our growth has been underpinned by three key strengths: (1) two proprietary product platforms: the MX product line targeting the consumer payments market and the commercial payments exchange ("CPX") product line targeting the commercial payments market, (2) focused distribution engines dedicated to selling into business-to-consumer ("B2C") and commercial payments business-to-business ("B2B") payments markets, and (3) a cost-efficient, agile payment and business processing infrastructure, known internally as Vortex.Cloud and Vortex.OS.
 
The MX product line provides technology-enabled payment acceptance and business management capabilities to merchants, enterprises and our distribution partners. The MX product line includes: (1) our MX ISO/Agent and VIMAS reseller technology systems (collectively referred to as "MX Connect") and (2) our MX Merchant products, which together provide resellers and merchant clients, a flexible and customizable set of business applications that help better manage critical business work functions and revenue performance using core payment processing as our leverage point. MX Connect provides our consumer payments reselling partners with automated tools that support low friction merchant on-boarding, underwriting and risk management, client service, and commission processing through a single mobile-enabled, web-based interface. The result is a smooth merchant activation onto our flagship consumer payments offering, MX Merchant, which provides core processing and business solutions to SMB clients. In addition to payment processing, the MX Merchant product line encompasses a variety of proprietary and third-party product applications that merchants can adopt such as MX Insights, MX Storefront, MX Retail, MX Invoice, MX B2B and ACH.com, among others. This comprehensive suite of solutions enables merchants to identify key consumer trends in their business, quickly implement e-commerce or retail point-of-sale ("POS") solutions, and even handle automated clearing house ("ACH") payments. By empowering resellers to adopt a consultative selling approach and embedding our technology into the critical day-to-day workflows and operations of both merchants and resellers, we believe that we have established and maintained "sticky" relationships. We believe that our strong retention, coupled with consistent merchant boarding, have resulted in strong processing volume and revenue growth.
 
The CPX platform, like the MX product line, provides a complete solution suite designed to monetize all types of B2B payments by maximizing automation for buyers and suppliers. CPX supports virtual card, purchase card, electronic fund transfer, ACH and check payments, intelligently routing each transaction via the optimal payment method. Underlying our MX and CPX platforms is the Company's Vortex.Cloud and Vortex.OS enterprise infrastructure, a curated cloud and application programming interface ("API") driven operating system built for scale and agility.
 
We developed an entirely virtual computing infrastructure in 2012. This infrastructure, known as Vortex.Cloud, is a highly-available, redundant, and audited payment card industry ("PCI"), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA"), NACHA, and Financial Stability Oversight Council (the "FSOC") computing platform with centralized security and technical operations. We strive to enable Vortex.Cloud to maintain greater than 99% uptime. All computational and IP
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assets of our operating companies are hosted and managed on Vortex.Cloud infrastructure. With Vortex.Cloud, we have constructed a uniform set of APIs, called Vortex.OS (operating system), that provide critical functionality to our payment divisions. The Vortex OS APIs provide electronic payments, security/crypto, data persistence, time series data (events), and artificial intelligence (AI). The MX and CPX product platforms leverage Vortex.OS and Vortex.Cloud for maximum scalability, high-availability, security, and access to advanced feature sets. The combined result is a purpose build infrastructure and product offering that produces solid organic growth and profit margin results. Furthermore, in addition to supporting a modern product stack, Vortex.Cloud and Vortex.OS enable the rapid inclusion of data and systems of acquisition targets for smooth consolidation to our operating infrastructure and accelerate achievement of revenue and cost synergies.

We sell our B2C merchant acquiring solutions primarily to SMBs through a growing and diverse reseller network, including ISOs, FIs, ISVs, Value-Added Resellers ("VARs") and other referral partners. We maintain stable, long-term relationships with our resellers, bolstered by the integration of MX Connect, a powerful customer relationship management ("CRM") and business operating system. MX Connect is used by our resellers and internal teams to manage their merchant base and accelerate the growth of their businesses through various value-added tools and resources which include marketing resources, automated onboarding, merchant underwriting, merchant activity monitoring and reporting. In addition, we offer ISVs and VARs a technology "agnostic" and feature rich API, providing developers with the ability to integrate electronic payment acceptance into their software and improve boarding efficiency for their merchant base. For the end user, MX Merchant provides a customizable, virtual terminal with proprietary business management tools and add-on applications that create an integrated merchant experience. MX Merchant's add-on applications include invoicing, website builder, inventory management and customer engagement and data analytics focused on targeted marketing among others. These proprietary business management tools and add-on applications, coupled with our omni-channel payment solutions, enable us to achieve attrition rates that, we believe, are well below industry average. MX Merchant can be deployed on hardware from a variety of vendors and operated either as a standalone product or integrated with third-party software. Through MX Merchant, we are well-positioned to capitalize on the trend towards integrated payments solutions, new technology adoption, and value-added service utilization in the SMB market. Our broad go-to-market strategy has resulted in a merchant base that is both industry and geographically diversified in the United States, resulting in low industry and merchant concentration.
 
In addition to our B2C offering, we have diversified our source of revenues through our growing presence in the B2B market. We work with enterprise clients and leading financial institutions seeking to automate their accounts payable processes. We provide curated managed services and a robust suite of integrated accounts payable automation solutions to industry leading financial institutions and card networks such as Citibank, MasterCard, Visa and American Express, among others. Unlike the consumer payments business which advocates a variable cost indirect sales strategy, Priority Commercial Payments supports a direct sales model that provides turnkey merchant development, product sales, and supplier enablement programs. CPX offers clients a seamless bridge for buyer to supplier (payor to provider) payments by integrating directly to a buyer's payment instruction file and parsing it for payment to suppliers via virtual card, purchase card, ACH +, dynamic discounting, or check. Successful implementation of our Accounts Payable ("AP") automation solutions provides suppliers with the benefits of cash acceleration, buyers with valuable rebate/discount revenue, and the Company with stable sources of payment processing and other revenue. Considering that the commercial payments volume in the United States is over twice the size of consumer payments and substantially less penetrated for electronic payments, we believe that this market represents a high growth opportunity for us.

Our Integrated Partners component which offers solutions for ISVs, third-party integrators, and merchants that allow for the leveraging of our core payments engine via application program interfaces ("APIs") resources. Integrated Partners connects businesses with other businesses and their customers in the real estate, hospitality, and health care marketplaces.

We generate revenue primarily from fees charged for processing payment transactions, and to a lesser extent, from monthly subscription services and other solutions provided to merchants. Processing fees are generated from the ongoing sales of our merchants under multi-year merchant contracts, and thus are highly recurring in nature. Due to the nature of our strong reseller-centric distribution model and differentiated technology offering, we can drive efficient scale and operating leverage, generating robust margins and profitability.
 
For the year ended December 31, 2020, we generated revenue of $404.3 million, net income attributable to the stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. of $25.7 million and Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA (a non-GAAP liquidity measure) of $63.8 million, compared to revenue of $371.9 million, net loss of $33.6 million, and Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA of
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$72.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. For a discussion of Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA and a reconciliation to net income (loss), the most directly comparable measure under GAAP, please see the section entitled "Item 7 - Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources" in Part II of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.


Industry Overview
 
The B2C payment processing industry provides merchants with credit, debit, gift and loyalty card and other payment processing services, along with related value-added solutions and information services. The industry continues to grow, driven by wider merchant acceptance, increased consumer use of electronic payments and advances in payment technology. The proliferation of bankcards and use of other payment technologies has made the acceptance of electronic payments through multiple channels a virtual necessity for many businesses, regardless of size, to remain competitive. This increased use and acceptance of bankcards and the availability of more sophisticated products and services has resulted in a highly competitive and specialized industry.
 
Services to the SMB merchant market have been historically characterized by basic payment processing without ready access to more sophisticated technology, value-added solutions, or customer service that are typically offered to large merchants. To keep up with the changing demands of how consumers wish to pay for goods and services, we believe that SMB merchants increasingly recognize the need for value-added services wrapped around omni-channel payment solutions that are tailored to their specific business needs.
 
Key Industry Trends
 
The following are key trends we believe are impacting the merchant acquiring / payment processing industry:
 
Trend Toward Electronic Transactions. We believe the continued shift from cash/paper payments toward electronic / card payments will drive growth for merchant acquirers and processors as volume continues to grow correspondingly. We believe the continued migration from cash to card and overall market growth will continue to provide tailwinds to the electronic payments industry.

Increasing Demand for Integrated Payments. Merchant acquirers are increasingly differentiating themselves from competitors via innovative technology, including integrated POS solutions ("integrated payments"). Integrated payments refer to the integration of payment processing with various software solutions and applications that are sold by VARs and ISVs. Integrated software tools help merchants manage their businesses, streamline processes, lower costs, increase accuracy, and drive growth for businesses. The broader solutions delivered as part of an integrated payments platform have become an increasingly important consideration point for many SMBs, whereas pricing was historically the key factor influencing the selection of a merchant acquirer. Merchant acquirers that partner with VARs and ISVs to integrate payments with software or own the software outright may benefit most from new revenue streams and higher merchant retention.

Mobile Payments. Historically, e-commerce was conducted on a computer via a web browser; however, as mobile technologies continue to proliferate, consumers are making more purchases through mobile browsers and native mobile applications. We believe this shift represents a significant opportunity given the high growth rates of mobile payments volume, higher fees for card-not-present and cross-border processing and potential for the in-app economy to stimulate and/or alter consumer spending behavior.

Migration to EMV. EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, is the global payments standard that utilizes chip technology on cards designed to increase security. EMV technology employs dynamic authentication for each transaction, rendering any data copied from magnetic strip readers to produce counterfeit cards unusable. Demand for EMV ready terminals should remain resilient in the near term due to the following:

The United States was one of the last countries to adopt EMV technology, leaving a large group of merchants still transitioning to the EMV standards; and

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U.S. merchants are penalized for failing to comply with EMV standards by bearing the chargeback risk when presented with an EMV enabled card when the terminal is non-compliant.

The large majority of our third-party products are EMV enabled, and we expect that most new hardware sales will be EMV enabled devices, although all hardware sales constitute only a small portion of our total revenue.
 
B2B payments is the largest payment market in the United States by volume and presents a significant opportunity for payment providers to capitalize on the conversion of check and paper-based payments to electronic payments, including card-based acceptance. As businesses have increasingly looked to improve efficiency and reduce costs, the electronification of B2B payments has gained momentum.

Electronics Payments Overview
 
The payment processing and services industry provides the infrastructure and services necessary to enable the acceptance, processing, clearing and settlement of electronic payments predominantly consisting of credit card, debit card, ACH payments, gift cards and loyalty rewards programs. Characterized by recurring revenues, high operating leverage, and robust cash flow generation, the industry continues to benefit from the mass migration from cash and checks to electronic payments.
 
There are five key participants in the payment processing value chain: (i) card issuing banks, (ii) merchant acquirers, (iii) payment networks, (iv) merchant processors and (v) sponsor banks. Each of these participants performs key functions in the electronic payments process, while other entities, such as terminal manufacturers, gateway providers and independent sales organizations also play important functions within the value chain.
 
Card Issuing Banks – Typically financial institutions that issue credit/debit cards to consumers (also underwrite the risk associated the cards), authorize (check for fraud and sufficient funds) transactions and transfer funds through the payment networks for settlement. Some card issuers do not have the ability to process transactions in-house, in which case the issuer may engage a card processor.

Merchant Acquirers – Firms that sign up merchants to their platform through a variety of sales channels, enabling them to accept, process and settle electronic payments. Additionally, merchant acquirers provide other value-added services to help merchants run their businesses more efficiently, such as helping to select POS hardware and providing customer support and services.

Payment Networks – Card brand companies, such as MasterCard or Visa, that set rules and provide the rails to route transactions and information between card issuers, merchant acquirers and payments processors in real-time over vast communication networks.

Merchant Processors – Firms that provide the technology needed to allow for payment authorization, data transmission, data security and settlement functions. Oftentimes the term merchant acquirer and processor are used synonymously; however, they perform two distinct functions (sometimes provided by the same entity).

Sponsor Banks – Financial Institutions that are acquiring members of Visa and MasterCard and provide sponsorship access to acquirers and processors to the card networks. Sponsor banks provide merchants the ultimate access to the card networks for their processing activity.
 
The industry also includes other third-party providers, including service, software and hardware companies that provide products and services designed to improve the experience for issuers, merchants and merchant acquirers. This category includes mobile payment enablers, terminal manufacturers, and ISV's.
 
Each electronic payment transaction consists of two key steps: the front-end authorization and back end settlement.

Front End Authorization – The original request for payment authorization that occurs when the card is swiped or inserted at the POS or the data is entered into an online gateway.

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Back End Settlement – The settlement and clearing process consists of settling outstanding payables and receivables between the card issuing bank & merchant bank. This process is facilitated by a back-end processor that utilizes the network's platform to send outstanding payable information and funds between the two parties.

A credit or debit card transaction carried out offline or through signature debit is a two-message process, with the front end occurring at the POS and the back end occurring later as a part of a batch processing system that clears all of the day's payments from transaction occurring throughout the day. Credit and debit card transactions carried out with personal identification numbers consist of a single message, whereby the authorization and clearing occur immediately – the money is instantly debited from the cardholder's checking account, although the settlement of funds (the transfer to the merchant's account) may happen later as part of a batch process.
 
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Competitive Strengths
 
We possess certain attributes that we believe differentiate us as a leading provider of merchant acquiring and commercial payment solutions in the United States. Our key competitive strengths include:
 
Purpose-Built Proprietary Technology
 
We have strategically built our proprietary software to provide technology-enabled payment acceptance and business management solutions to merchants, enterprises and resellers. The MX product line is embedded into the critical day-to-day workflows and operations of both merchants and resellers, leading to highly "sticky" relationships and high retention. CPX provides a complete commercial solution suite that monetizes commercial payments and maximizes automation for buyers and suppliers. By integrating with Vortex.Cloud and Vortex.OS, MX and CPX can scale in a cost-effective and efficient manner, while enhancing features and functionality. Both product lines also support low friction merchant onboarding and an integrated value-added product offering for merchants, resellers and ISVs in the consumer and commercial payment space. Furthermore, in addition to supporting a modern user experience, Vortex.Cloud enables the rapid inclusion of data and systems of acquisition targets for smooth consolidation to our operating infrastructure and accelerates achievement of revenue and of cost synergies.

Diverse Reseller Community
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We maintain strong reseller relationships with approximately 1,300 ISOs, FIs, ISVs, VARs and other referral partners. MX Connect enables resellers to efficiently market merchant acquiring solutions to a broad base of merchants through this one-to-many distribution model. Resellers leverage MX Connect's powerful CRM and business operating features to manage their internal sales teams and engage their merchant base through various value-added tools and resources, such as marketing resources, automated onboarding, merchant underwriting, merchant activity monitoring and reporting, to support the growth of their businesses. We believe that our ability to service our reseller partners through a comprehensive offering provides a competitive advantage that has allowed the company to build a large, diverse merchant base characterized by high retention. The strength of our technology offering is manifest in the fact that we maintain ownership of merchant contracts, with most reseller contracts including strong non-solicit and portability restrictions.
 
Comprehensive Suite of Payment Solutions
 
MX Merchant offers a comprehensive and differentiated suite of traditional and emerging payment products and services that enables SMBs to address their payment needs through one provider. We provide a payment processing platform that allows merchants to accept electronic payments (e.g. credit cards, debit cards, and ACH) at the point of sale ("POS"), online, and via mobile payment technologies. In addition, through MX Merchant, we deliver innovative business management products and add-on features that meet the needs of SMBs across different vertical markets. Through our MX Merchant platform, we believe we are well-positioned to capitalize on the trend towards integrated payments solutions, new technology adoption and value-add service utilization that is underway in the SMB market. We believe our solutions facilitate a superior merchant experience that results in increased customer lifetime value.
 
Highly Scalable Business Model with Operating Leverage
 
As a result of thoughtful investments in our technology, we have developed robust and differentiated infrastructure that has enabled us to scale in a cost-efficient manner. Our purpose-built proprietary technology platforms, MX and CPX, each serve a unique purpose within consumer and commercial payments, enabling the company to realize significant operating leverage within each business segment. Furthermore, the agility of our Vortex.Cloud and Vortex.OS enterprise infrastructure enables us to quickly and cost efficiently consolidate acquisitions to drive revenue and cost synergies. Our operating efficiency supports a low capital expenditure environment to develop product enhancements that drive organic growth across our consumer and commercial payment ecosystems and attract both reselling partners and enterprise clients looking for best-in-class solutions. By creating a cost-efficient environment that facilitates the combination of ongoing product innovation to drive organic growth and stable cash flow to fund acquisitions, we anticipate ongoing economies of scale and increased margins over time.
 
Experienced Management Team Led by Industry Veterans
 
Our executive management team has a record of execution in the merchant acquiring and technology-enabled payments industry. Our team has continued to develop and enhance our proprietary and innovative technology platforms that differentiate us with merchants and resellers in the industry. Since founding the Company, our leadership team has built strong, long-term relationships with reseller and enterprise partners by leveraging the MX and CPX product platforms to meet the needs of businesses in specific vertical markets. We invest to attract and retain executive leadership that align with the opportunities in the market and our strategic focus.


Growth Strategies
 
We intend to continue to execute a multi-pronged growth strategy, with diverse organic initiatives supplemented by acquisitions. Growth strategies include:
 
Organic Growth in our Consumer Reseller and Merchant Base
 
We expect to grow through our existing reseller network and merchant base, capitalizing on the inherent growth of existing merchant volume and reseller merchant portfolios. By providing resellers with agile tools to manage their sales businesses and grow their merchant portfolio, we have established a solid base from which to generate new merchant adoption and retain
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existing merchants. By engaging in a consultative partnership approach, we maintain strong relationships with our reseller partners and continues to exhibit strong merchant adoption and volume growth trends. Through our resellers, we provide merchants with full-service acquiring solutions, as well as value-added services and tools to streamline their business processes and enables them to focus on driving same store sales growth.
 
Expand our Network of Distribution Partners
 
We have established and maintain a strong position within the reseller community, with approximately 1,300 partners. We intend to continue to expand our distribution network to reach new partners, particularly with ISVs and VARs to expand technology and integrated partnerships. We believe that our MX Connect technology offering enables us to attract, and retain, high quality resellers focused on growth.
 
Increase Margin per Merchant with Complementary Products and Services
 
We intend to drive the adoption of our value-added services and tools with our merchant base. MX Merchant allows merchants to add proprietary Priority applications as well as other third-party applications from the MX Merchant Marketplace to build customized payment solutions that are tailored to a merchant's business needs. As we continue to board new merchants and promote our MX Merchant solution, we can cross-sell these add-on applications. By increasing attachment rates, along with continued benefit from economies of scale, we expect to see improved margins per merchant. Merchants utilizing MX Merchant exhibit somewhat higher retention, contributing to our improving overall retention rates. We believe we are well-positioned to capitalize on the secular trend towards integrated payments solutions, new technology adoption and value-add service utilization in the SMB market.
 
Deploy Industry Specific Payment Technology
 
We intend to continue to enhance and deploy our technology-enabled payment solutions in attractive industries. Through MX Merchant, we have developed proprietary applications and added third-party tools that address the specific needs of merchants in certain verticals, including retail, health care and hospitality. We continue to identify and evaluate new and attractive industries where we can deliver differentiated technology-enabled payment solutions that meet merchants' industry-specific needs.
 
Expand Electronic Payments Share of B2B Transactions with CPX
 
We have a growing presence in the commercial payments market where we provide curated managed services and AP automation solutions to industry leading financial institutions and card networks such as Citibank, MasterCard, Visa and American Express. The Commercial payments market is the largest and one of the fastest growing payments market in the United States by volume. We are well positioned to capitalize on the secular shift from check to electronic payments, which currently lags the consumer payments markets, by eliminating the friction between buyers and suppliers through our industry leading offering, and driving strong growth and profitability.
 
Accretive Acquisitions
 
We intend to selectively pursue strategic and tactical acquisitions that meet certain criteria, with a consistent long-term goal of maximizing stockholder value. We actively seek potential acquisition candidates that exhibit certain attractive attributes including, predictable and recurring revenue, scalable operating model, low capital intensity complementary technology offerings and strong cultural fit. Our Vortex.Cloud operating infrastructure is purpose-built to rapidly and seamlessly consolidate complementary businesses into our ecosystem, optimizing revenue and cost synergies.


Sales and Distribution
 
We reach our consumer payment merchants through three primary sales channels: 1) Retail ISOs/Agents and Financial Institutions, 2) Wholesale ISOs, and 3) Independent Software Vendors and Value-Added Resellers. MX Connect allows resellers to engage merchants for processing services and a host of value-added features designed to enhance their customer
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relationship. Merchants utilize our diverse product suite to manage their business, increasing our ability to retain the merchant if the ISO were to leave the Company.
 
Retail ISOs/Agents and Financial Institutions (i.e. community banks) – A non-risk bearing independent group of sales agents, individual sales agents, or financial institutions (mostly community banks) that operates as a sales force on behalf of the Company. Retail resellers are not employed by us but rather are independently contracted to acquire merchants to utilize our payment processing and product offerings. While the reseller serves as the merchant's key contact, the processing contract is between us and the merchant and agreements with resellers include non-solicitation rights. We manage the transaction risk on behalf of retail resellers.

Wholesale ISO – A risk bearing independent group of sales agents operating as a sales force on behalf of the Company. Wholesale ISOs are not employed by us but rather are independently contracted to acquire merchants to utilize our payment processing and product offerings. While the ISO serves as the merchant's key contact, the processing contract is between us and the merchant, and agreements with ISOs include non-solicitation rights. Wholesale ISOs are responsible and bear all transaction risk on their merchant portfolios. We underwrite all such merchants even though wholesale ISOs bear the risk.

ISVs and VARs - ISVs develop and sell business management software solutions while VARs sell third-party software solutions to merchants as part of a bundled package that includes the computer systems which operates the software. We partner with ISVs and VARs that can integrate our capabilities into a variety of software applications (e.g. medical billing software). These integrated payment solutions create an extremely "sticky" customer relationship.
 
Priority Commercial Payments obtains its "buyer" clients through direct sales initiative and referral and business partnerships with integrated software partners, the card networks (MasterCard, Visa, American Express) and large US banking institutions. We support a direct vendor sales model that provides turnkey merchant development, product sales, and supplier enablement programs. By establishing a seamless bridge for buyer-to-supplier (payor-to-provider) payments that is integrated directly to a buyer's payment instruction file to facilitate payments to vendors via all payment types (virtual card, purchase card, ACH +, dynamic discounting), we have established ourselves as an emerging force in commercial payments.
 
Our market strategy has resulted in a merchant base that we believe is diversified across both industries and geographies resulting in, what we believe, is more stable average profitability per merchant. Only one single reseller relationship contributes more than 10% of total bankcard processing volume, and that one relationship represents approximately 17.1% of our total bankcard processing volume.


Security, Disaster Recovery and Back-up Systems
 
As a result of normal business operations, we store information relating to our merchants and their transactions. Because this information is considered sensitive in nature, we maintain a high level of security to attempt to protect it. Our computational systems are continually updated and audited to the latest security standards as defined by payment card industry and data security standards ("PCI DSS"), FSOC, and HIPAA audits. As such, we have a dedicated team responsible for security incident response. This team develops, maintains, tests and verifies our incident response plan. The primary function of this team is to react and respond to intrusions, denial of service, data leakage, malware, vandalism, and many other events that could potentially jeopardize data availability, integrity, and confidentiality. This team is responsible for investigating and reporting on all malicious activity in and around our information systems. In addition to handling security incidents, the incident response team continually educates themselves and us on information security matters.
 
High-availability and disaster recovery are provided through a combination of redundant hardware and software running at two geographically distinct data centers. Each data center deployment is an exact mirror of the other and each can handle all technical, payment, and business operations for all product lines independently of the other. If one site or service becomes impaired, the traffic is redirected to the other automatically. Business Continuity Planning drills are run each quarter to test fail-over and recovery as well as staff operations and readiness.
 

Third-Party Processors and Sponsor Banks
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We partner with various vendors in the payments value chain to assist us in providing payment processing services to merchant clients, most notably processors and sponsor banks, which sit between us (the merchant acquirer) and the card networks. Processing is a scale driven business in which many acquirers outsource the processing function to a small number of large processors. In these partnerships, we serve as a merchant acquirer and enter into processing agreements with payment processors, such as First Data or TSYS, to assist us in providing front-end and back-end transaction processing services for our merchants. These third parties are compensated for their services. These processors in turn have agreements with card networks such as Visa and MasterCard, through which the transaction information is routed in exchange for network fees.
 
To provide processing services, acquirers like Priority we must be registered with the card networks (e.g. Visa and MasterCard). To register with a card network in the United States, acquirers must maintain relationships with banks willing to sponsor the acquirer's adherence to the rules and standards of the card networks, or a sponsor bank. We maintain sponsor bank relationships with Wells Fargo, Synovus Bank, Pueblo Bank, Sutton Bank, and Axiom Bank. For ACH payments, the Company's ACH network (ACH.com) is sponsored by Atlantic Capital Bank and Fifth Third Bank. Sponsor bank relationships enable us to route transactions under the sponsor bank's control and identification number (referred to as a BIN for Visa and ICA for MasterCard) across the card networks (or ACH network) to authorize and clear transactions.
 

Risk Management
 
Our thoughtful merchant and reseller underwriting policies combined with our forward-looking transaction management capabilities have enabled us to maintain low credit loss performance. Our risk management strategies are informed by a team with decades of experience managing merchant acquiring risk operations that are augmented by our modern systems designed to manage risk at the transaction level.
 
Initial Underwriting- Central to our risk management process is our front-line underwriting policies that vet all resellers and merchants prior to their contracting with us. Our automated risk systems pull credit bureau reports, corporate ownership details, as well as anti-money laundering, Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ("FinCEN") information from a variety of integrated data bases. This information is put into the hands of a tenured team of underwriters who conduct any necessary industry checks, financial performance analysis or owner background checks, consistent with our policies. Based upon these results the underwriting department rejects or approves and sets appropriate merchant and reseller reserve requirements which are held by our bank sponsors on our behalf. Resellers are subject to quarterly and/or annual assessments for financial strength compliance with our policies and adjustments to reserve levels. The results of our initial merchant underwriting inform the transaction level risk limits for volume, average ticket, transaction types and authorization codes among other items that are captured by our CYRIS risk module—a proprietary risk system that monitors and reports transaction risk activity to our risk team. This transaction level risk module, housed within MX Connect, forms the foundational risk management framework that enables the company to optimize transaction activity and processing scale while preserving a modest aggregate risk profile that has resulted in historically low losses.
 
Real-Time Risk Monitoring- Merchant transactions are monitored on a transactional basis to proactively enforce risk controls. Our risk systems provide automated evaluation of merchant transaction activity against initial underwriting settings. Transactions that are outside underwriting parameters are queued for further investigation. Also, resellers whose merchant portfolio represents a concentration of investigated merchants are evaluated for risk action (i.e., increased reserves or contract termination).
 
Risk Audit- Transactions flagged by our risk monitoring systems or that demonstrate suspicious activity traits that have been flagged for review can result in funds being held and other risk mitigation actions. These can include non- authorization of the transaction, debit of reserves or even termination of processing agreement. Merchants are periodically reviewed to assess any risk adjustments based upon their overall financial health and compliance with Network standards. Merchant transaction activity is investigated for instances of business activity changes or credit impairment (and improvement).
 
Loss Mitigation- In instances where particular transactions and/or individual merchants are flagged for fraud, where transaction activity is resulting in excessive chargebacks, several loss mitigation actions may be taken. These include charge-back dispute
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resolution, merchant and reseller funds (reserves or processed batches) withheld, inclusion on Network Match List to notify the industry of a "bad actor", and even legal action.
 
 
Acquisitions and Dispositions of Businesses
 
Merger with Finxera Holdings, Inc.

On March 5, 2021, the Company entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger (the “Merger Agreement”) with Finxera Holdings, Inc. (“Finxera”), Prime Warrior Acquisition Corp., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of the Company (“Merger Sub”) and, solely in its capacity as the representative of the stockholders or optionholders of Finxera (the “Equityholder Representative”), Stone Point Capital LLC. Priority will acquire, through a merger of Merger Sub with and into Finxera, the Finxera business. Finxera is a provider of deposit account management payment processing services to the debt settlement industry in the United States.

The Merger Agreement provides that, among other things and on the terms and subject to the conditions of the Merger Agreement, (a) Merger Sub will merge with and into Finxera (the “Merger”), with the separate existence of Merger Sub ceasing and Finxera continuing as the surviving entity of the Merger (the “Surviving Entity”); (b) at the effective time of the Merger (the “Effective Time”) each share of common stock, par value $0.01 per share, of Merger Sub issued and outstanding immediately prior to the Effective Time shall be converted into one validly issued, fully paid and non-assessable share of common stock, par value $0.01 per share, of the Surviving Entity; and (c) the shares of common stock of Finxera designated as “Class A Common Stock”, “Class B Common Stock” and preferred stock “Series C Participating Preferred Stock” issued and outstanding immediately prior to the closing of the transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement (the “Closing”) will be converted into rights to receive certain cash and stock consideration and a contingent right to receive a portion of any payments made following the determination of the purchase price adjustments (a “Deferred Payment”).

Consideration for the Merger will consist of a combination of cash and stock, with the purchase price comprising of: (a) $425,000,000, plus (b) the aggregate value of the current assets of the Finxera and each of its subsidiaries (the “Group Companies”) less the aggregate value of the current liabilities of the Group Companies, in each case, determined on a consolidated basis without duplication, as of the close of business on the business day immediately preceding the date of the Closing (which may be a positive or negative number), plus (c) the sum of all cash and cash equivalents of the Group Companies as of the close of business on the business day immediately preceding the date of the Closing, minus (d) the amount of indebtedness of the Group Companies as of the close of the business day immediately prior to the date of the Closing, minus (e) the amount of unpaid transaction expenses, minus (f) 25% of the earnings of the Group Companies during the period between the signing of the Merger Agreement and the Closing.

Each option to purchase one or more shares of Class B Common Stock of Finxera issued pursuant to the Finxera Holdings, Inc. 2018 Equity Incentive Plan (the “Company Options”), vested as of immediately prior to the Closing (the “Vested Company Option”), that is issued and outstanding immediately prior to the Closing will be deemed to be exercised and converted into the right to receive a cash payment with respect to such Vested Company Option and a contingent right to receive a portion of any Deferred Payments.

Support Agreement

In accordance with the terms of the Merger Agreement, Thomas C. Priore, the Thomas Priore 2019 GRAT, the Thomas C. Priore Irrevocable Insurance Trust U/A/D 1/8/2010 (the “Stockholders”) and Finxera have entered into that certain Support Agreement, dated as of March 5, 2021 (the “Support Agreement”), pursuant to which each of the Stockholder (a) agrees to execute and deliver the Stockholders’ Agreement and the Registration Rights Agreement on the date of the Closing and (b) after the date of the Support Agreement and prior to the date of the Closing, shall not sell, assign, transfer or otherwise dispose of any of such Stockholder’s Company Common Shares, unless as a condition to such sale, assignment, transfer or other disposition, each such transferee executes and delivers a joinder agreement to the Support Agreement in a form reasonably acceptable to Finxera, provided, that such Stockholder shall be permitted to sell up to an aggregate of 5% of such Stockholder’s Company Common Shares upon written notice to Finxera.

Debt Commitment Letter
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On March 5, 2021, Priority Holdings, LLC (“Holdings”) entered into that certain debt commitment letter (the “Debt Commitment Letter”) with Truist Bank and Truist Securities, Inc. (collectively, the “Debt Commitment Parties”), pursuant to which, among other things, the Debt Commitment Parties have committed to provide Holdings with (a) $300,000,000 of term loan commitments (the “Initial Term Loan Facility”); (b) $290,000,000 of delayed draw term loan commitments (the “Delayed Draw Term Loan Facility”); and (c) a $40,000,000 revolving credit facility (the “Revolving Credit Facility” and together with the Initial Term Loan Facility and the Delayed Draw Term Loan Facility, collectively, the “Debt Financing”), in each case on the terms and subject to the conditions set forth in the Debt Commitment Letter. The proceeds of the Initial Term Loan Facility and the Revolving Credit Facility will be used, among other things, to refinance certain of Holdings’ existing indebtedness, to pay fees and expenses in connection with such refinancing and for working capital and general corporate requirements. The proceeds of the Delayed Draw Term Loan Facility will be used to finance a portion of the cash consideration in connection with the Merger and to pay fees and expenses in connection therewith.

Equity Commitment Letter

On March 5, 2021, the Company entered into that certain preferred stock commitment letter (the “Equity Commitment Letter”) with Ares Capital Management LLC (“ACM”) and Ares Alternative Credit Management LLC (“AACM” and together with ACM, the “Equity Commitment Parties”), pursuant to which, among other things, the Equity Commitment Parties have agreed to purchase perpetual senior preferred equity securities (the “Preferred Stock”) of the Company (a) to be issued in connection with the refinancing and repayment in full of certain Credit and Guaranty Agreements as described in the Equity Commitment Letter (the “Closing Date Refinancing”) (the “Initial Preferred Stock” and the issuance and sale thereof and certain warrants representing 2.50% of the fully diluted Company Common Shares at the Closing, the “Initial Preferred Stock Financing”) in an amount equal to (i) in the case of ACM, $90.0 million and (ii) in the case of AACM, $60.0 million, (b) to be issued in connection with the Merger (the “Acquisition Preferred Stock” and the issuance and sale thereof, the “Acquisition Preferred Stock Financing”) in an amount equal to (i) in the case of ACM, $30.0 million and (ii) in the case of AACM, $20.0 million and (c) available to be issued in connection with one or more acquisitions by the Company or its subsidiaries as permitted by the Equity Commitment Letter (the “Delayed Preferred Stock” and the issuance and sale thereof, the “Delayed Preferred Stock Financing” and together with the Initial Preferred Stock Financing and the Acquisition Preferred Stock Financing, the “Preferred Stock Financing”) an amount equal to (i) in the case of ACM, $30.0 million and (ii) in the case of AACM, $20.0 million.

The Company has also agreed to issue to the Equity Commitment Parties warrants to purchase shares of common stock of the Company equal to an aggregate of 2.5% of the outstanding shares of common stock at a nominal exercise price.

The Preferred Stock will require quarterly dividend payments initially equal to a LIBOR rate plus 12% per annum of the liquidation preference, of which at least LIBOR plus 5% is to be payable in cash and the remainder paid in kind. In certain circumstances, including if the Company does not pay the minimum cash dividend, the required dividend may be increased.

The Preferred Stock will be redeemable beginning two years after the first issuance of Preferred Stock at a price equal to 102% of the liquidation preference of the Preferred Stock plus any accrued and unpaid dividends or, beginning three years after the first issuance of Preferred Stock, at a price equal to the liquidation preference plus any accrued and unpaid dividends. Prior to two years after the first issuance, the Preferred Stock is redeemable at a make-whole rate. In the event of a change of control or liquidation event, the Company will be required to redeem the outstanding Preferred Stock.

The Preferred Stock will not have any voting rights except as required under Delaware law, but certain actions by the Company will require the consent of holders of a majority of the Preferred Stock. In addition, the Preferred Stock will include certain covenants restricting, among other things, restricted payments, the incurrence of indebtedness, acquisitions and investments.

For information regarding our business and asset acquisitions, see Note 4, Asset Acquisitions, Asset Contributions, and Business Combinations, to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. For information regarding our business disposal, see Note 2, Disposal of Business.
 

Competition
 
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The U.S. acquiring industry is highly competitive, with several large processors accounting for the majority of processing volume; when excluding banks, we ranked 5th among U.S. merchant acquiring as of 2020, according to the 2020 Nilson Report issued in March 2021. When comparing top non-bank U.S. merchant acquirers by volume, FIS (which now includes Worldpay) held the leadership position at the end of 2020 followed by Global Payments (which now includes TSYS), and Fiserv (which now includes First Data).
 
The concentration at the top of the industry partly reflects consolidation; however, we believe that consolidation has also resulted in many large processors having multiple, inflexible legacy IT systems that are not well equipped to adjust to changing market requirements. We believe that the large merchant acquirers whose innovation has been hindered by these redundant, legacy systems risk losing market share to acquirers with more agile and dynamic IT systems, such as Priority.

Pricing has historically been the key factor influencing the selection of a merchant acquirer. However, providers with more advanced tech-enabled services (primarily online and integrated offerings) have an advantage over providers operating legacy technology and offering undifferentiated services that have come under pricing pressure from higher levels of competition. High quality customer service further differentiates providers as this helps to reduce attrition. Other competitive factors that set acquirers apart include price, partnerships with financial institutions, servicing capability, data security and functionality. Leading acquirers are expected to continue to add additional services to expand cross-selling opportunities, primarily in omni-channel payment solutions, POS software, payments security, customer loyalty and other payments-related offerings.
 
The largest opportunity for acquirers to expand is within the small to medium-sized merchant market. According to the SMB Group, a markets insight firm for small and medium-sized businesses, the majority of small and medium-sized businesses recognize the upside tech-enabled solutions provide to daily operations and long-term growth potential. As small businesses increasingly demand integrated solutions tailored to specific business functions or industries merchant processors are adopting payment enabled software offerings that combine payments with core business operating software. By subsisting within SMB's critical business software processors are able to improve economic results through better merchant retention and often higher processing margins. Through our MX Merchant platform, we are well-positioned to capitalize on the trend towards integrated solutions, new technology adoption and value added-service utilization in the SMB market.
 

Government Regulation and Payment Network Rules
 
We operate in an increasingly complex legal and regulatory environment. We are subject to a variety of federal, state and local laws and regulations and the rules and standards of the payment networks that are utilized to provide our electronic payment services, as more fully described below.
 
Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the "Dodd-Frank Act")
 
The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 resulted in significant structural and other changes to the regulation of the financial services industry. The Dodd-Frank Act directed the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the "Federal Reserve Board") to regulate the debit interchange transaction fees that a card issuer or payment card network receives or charges for an electronic debit transaction. Pursuant to the so-called "Durbin Amendment" to the Dodd-Frank Act, these fees must be "reasonable and proportional" to the cost incurred by the card issuer in authorizing, clearing and settling the transaction. Pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Federal Reserve Board, debit interchange rates for card issuers with assets of $10 billion or more are capped at $0.21 per transaction and an ad valorem component of 5 basis points to reflect a portion of the issuer's fraud losses plus, for qualifying issuers, an additional $0.01 per transaction in debit interchange for fraud prevention costs. The cap on interchange fees has not had a material direct effect on our results of operations.
 
In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act limits the ability of payment card networks to impose certain restrictions because it allows merchants to: (i) set minimum dollar amounts (not to exceed $10) for the acceptance of a credit card (and allows federal governmental entities and institutions of higher education to set maximum amounts for the acceptance of credit cards) and (ii) provide discounts or incentives to encourage consumers to pay with cash, checks, debit cards or credit cards.
 
The rules also contain prohibitions on network exclusivity and merchant routing restrictions that require a card issuer to enable at least two unaffiliated networks on each debit card, prohibit card networks from entering into exclusivity arrangements and
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restrict the ability of issuers or networks to mandate transaction routing requirements. The prohibition on network exclusivity has not significantly affected our ability to pass on network fees and other costs to our customers, nor do we expect it to in the future.
 
The Dodd-Frank Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), which has assumed responsibility for enforcing federal consumer protection laws, and the FSOC, which was established to, among other things, identify risks to the stability of the United States financial system. The FSOC has the authority to require supervision and regulation of nonbank financial companies that the FSOC determines pose a systemic risk to the United States financial system. Accordingly, we may be subject to additional systemic risk-related oversight.

Payment Network Rules and Standards
 
As a merchant acquirer, we are subject to the rules of Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and other payment networks. In order to provide services, several of our subsidiaries are either registered as service providers for member institutions with MasterCard, Visa and other networks or are direct members of MasterCard, Visa and other networks. Accordingly, we are subject to card association and network rules that could subject us to a variety of fines or penalties that may be levied by the card networks for certain acts or omissions.
 
Banking Laws and Regulations
 
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (the "FFIEC") is an interagency body comprised of federal bank and credit union regulators such as the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC"), the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. The FFIEC examines large data processors in order to identify and mitigate risks associated with systemically significant service providers, including specifically the risks they may pose to the banking industry.

We are considered by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council to be a technology service provider ("TSP") based on the services we provide to financial institutions. As a TSP, we are subject to audits by an interagency group consisting of the Federal Reserve System, FDIC, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Privacy and Information Security Laws
 
We provide services that may be subject to various state, federal and foreign privacy laws and regulations. These laws and regulations include the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which applies to a broad range of financial institutions and to companies that provide services to financial institutions in the United States, certain health care technology laws, including HIPAA and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Act, and the California Consumer Protection Act ("CCPA"), which establishes a new privacy framework for covered businesses by creating an expanded definition of personal information, establishing new data privacy rights for consumers in the State of California, imposing special rules on the collection of consumer data from minors, and creating a new and potentially severe statutory damages framework for violations of the CCPA and for businesses that fail to implement reasonable security procedures and practices to prevent data breaches. We are also subject to a variety of foreign data protection and privacy laws, including, without limitation, Directive 95/46/EC, as implemented in each member state of the European Union and its successor, the General Data Protection Regulation. Among other things, these foreign and domestic laws, and their implementing regulations, in certain cases restrict the collection, processing, storage, use and disclosure of personal information, require notice to individuals of privacy practices, and provide individuals with certain rights to prevent use and disclosure of protected information. These laws also impose requirements for safeguarding and removal or elimination of personal information.
 
Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Regulation
 
The United States federal anti-money laundering laws and regulations, including the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, as amended by the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 (collectively, the "BSA"), and the "BSA" implementing regulations administered by FinCEN, a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury, require, among other things, each financial institution to: (1) develop and implement a risk-based anti-money laundering program; (2) file reports on large currency transactions; (3) file suspicious activity reports if the financial institution believes a customer may be violating U.S. laws and regulations; and (4) maintain transaction records. Given that a number of our clients are financial institutions that are directly subject to U.S. federal anti-
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money laundering laws and regulations, we have developed an anti-money laundering compliance program to best assist our clients in meeting such legal and regulatory requirements.
 
We are subject to certain economic and trade sanctions programs that are administered by OFAC of the United States Department of Treasury, which place prohibitions and restrictions on all U.S. citizens and entities with respect to transactions by U.S. persons with specified countries and individuals and entities identified on OFAC's Specially Designated Nationals list (for example, individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, countries subject to certain economic and trade sanctions, as well as terrorists, terrorist organizations and narcotics traffickers identified by OFAC under programs that are not country specific). Similar anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing and proceeds of crime laws apply to movements of currency and payments through electronic transactions and to dealings with persons specified on lists maintained by organizations similar to OFAC in several other countries and which may impose specific data retention obligations or prohibitions on intermediaries in the payment process. We have developed and continue to enhance compliance programs and policies to monitor and address such legal and regulatory requirements and developments. We continue to enhance such programs and policies to ensure that our customers do not engage in prohibited transactions with designated countries, individuals or entities.
 
Telephone Consumer Protection Act
 
We are subject to the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and various state laws to the extent we place telephone calls and short message service ("SMS") messages to clients and consumers. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act regulates certain telephone calls and SMS messages placed using automatic telephone dialing systems or artificial or prerecorded voices.
 
Escheat Laws

We are subject to U.S. federal and state unclaimed or abandoned property state laws in the United States that requires us to transfer to certain government authorities the unclaimed property of other that we hold when that property has been unclaimed for a certain period of time. Moreover, we are subject to audit by state and foreign regulatory authorities with regard to our escheatment practices.

Other Regulation
 
The Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008 requires certain merchant acquiring entities and third-party settlement organizations to provide information returns for each calendar year with respect to payments made in settlement of electronic payment transactions and third-party payment network transactions occurring in that calendar year. Reportable transactions are also subject to backup withholding requirements.
 
The foregoing is not an exhaustive list of the laws, rules and regulations to which we are subject to and the regulatory framework governing our business is changing continuously.
 

Intellectual Property
 
We have developed a payments platform that includes many instances of proprietary software, code sets, workflows and algorithms. It is our practice to enter into confidentiality, non-disclosure, and invention assignment agreements with our employees and contractors, and into confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements with other third parties, to limit access to, and disclosure and use of, our confidential information and proprietary technology. In addition to these contractual measures, we also rely on a combination of trademarks, copyrights, registered domain names, and patent rights to help protect the Priority brand and our other intellectual property.


Human Capital Management

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As of December 31, 2020, we employed 479 employees, of which 472 were employed full-time. We have employees residing in 30 states across the country. None of our employees are represented by a labor union or covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

Growth and Development

Our strategy to develop and retain the best talent includes an emphasis on employee training and development. We promote our core values of ownership, innovation, camaraderie, service, authenticity and trust as an organization and offer awards to colleagues who exemplify these qualities. We require a mandatory online training curriculum for our employees that includes annual anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training.

Well-being and Safety during COVID-19 Pandemic

The success of our business is connected to the well-being of our employees. Accordingly, we are committed to the health, safety and wellness of our employees. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented significant changes that we determined were in the best interest of our employees and the communities in which we operate. This included enabling all of our employees to seamlessly shift to work from home. Over the past few years, we have made investments in our operating environments and technology that support day-to-day execution by employees working from home which allowed for the smooth transition. Additional health and safety measures have been implemented for employees who have elected to work within office locations.

Inclusion and Diversity

Our inclusion and diversity program focuses on our employees, workplace and community. We believe that our business is strengthened by a diverse workforce that reflects the communities in which we operate. We believe all of our employees should be treated with respect and equality, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious beliefs, or other characteristics. As part of this goal, we launched a Diversity and Inclusion roundtable series for all employees to participate. Inclusion and diversity remains a common thread in all of our human resource practices so that we can attract, develop, and retain the best talent for our workforce.


Availability of Filings

Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"), are made available free of charge on our internet web site at www.prth.com, as soon as reasonably practicable after we have electronically filed the material with, or furnished it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). The SEC maintains an internet site that contains our reports, proxy and information statements and our other SEC filings. The address of that web site is https://www.sec.gov/. The contents of our websites are not intended to be incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K or in any other report or document we file with the SEC, and any references to our websites are intended to be inactive textual references only.
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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
 
An investment in our common stock and our financial results are subject to a number of risks. You should carefully consider the risks described below and all other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and the documents incorporated by reference. Our business, prospects, financial condition or operating results could be harmed by any of these risks, as well as other risks not currently known to us or that we currently consider immaterial. Additional risks and uncertainties, including those generally affecting the industry in which we operate and risks that management currently deems immaterial, may arise or become material in the future and affect our business.

Risk Factors Related to Our Business

Our business has been and is likely to continue to be negatively affected by the recent COVID-19 outbreak.

The outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, continues to adversely affect commercial activity and has contributed to significant declines in economic activity. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected a number of operational factors, including:

• merchant temporary closures and failures;
• continued and/or worsening unemployment which may negatively influence consumer spending;
• third-party disruptions, including potential outages at network providers, and other suppliers; and
• increased cyber and payment fraud risk.

These factors may remain prevalent for a significant period of time and may continue to adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided. The full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and difficult to predict at this time, including, but not limited to, the duration and spread of the pandemic, its severity, the restrictive actions taken to contain the virus or treat its effects, its effects on our customers and how quickly and to what extent normal economic and operating conditions, operations and demand for our services can resume. Accordingly, while the COVID-19 pandemic could have an adverse effect on our revenues and financial results for reporting periods after 2020, the ultimate effects on our operations, financial condition and cash flows cannot be determined at this time.

Unauthorized disclosure of merchant or cardholder data, whether through breach of our computer systems, computer viruses, or otherwise, could expose us to liability, protracted and costly litigation and damage our reputation.

Our services include the processing, transmission and storing of sensitive business and personal information about our merchants, merchants’ customers, vendors, partners, and other third parties. This information may include credit and debit card numbers, bank account numbers, personal identification numbers, names and addresses or other sensitive business information. This information may also be stored by third parties to whom we outsource certain functions or other agents (“associated third parties”). We may have responsibility to the card networks, financial institutions, and in some instances, our merchants, and/or ISOs, for our failure or the failure of our associated third parties to protect this information. .

Information security risks for us and our competitors have substantially increased in recent years in part due to the proliferation of new technologies and the increased sophistication, resources and activities of hackers, terrorists, activists, organized crime, and other external parties, including hostile nation-state actors. The techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, sabotage systems or utilize payment systems in an effort to perpetrate financial fraud change frequently and are often difficult to detect. Threats may derive from human error, fraud or malice on the part of employees or third parties, or may result from accidental technological failure. Computer viruses can be distributed and spread rapidly over the internet and could infiltrate our systems or those of our associated third parties. Additionally, denial of service or other attacks could be launched against us for a variety of purposes, including interfering with our services or to create a diversion for other malicious activities. Our defensive measures may not prevent down-time, unauthorized access or use of sensitive data. While we maintain insurance coverage that will cover certain aspects of cyber risks, such insurance coverage may be insufficient to cover all losses. Furthermore, we do not control the actions of our third-party partners and customers in their systems. These third parties may experience security breaches and any future problems experienced by these third parties, including those resulting
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from cyber attacks or other breakdowns or disruptions in services, could adversely affect our ability to conduct our business or expose us to liability. Further, our agreements with our bank sponsors and our third-party payment processors (as well as payment network requirements) require us to take certain protective measures to ensure the confidentiality of merchant and consumer data. Any such actions, attacks or failure to adequately comply with these protective measures could hurt our reputation, force us to incur significant expenses in remediating the resulting impacts, expose us to uninsured liability, result in the loss of our bank sponsors or our ability to participate in the payment networks, or subject us to fees, penalties, sanctions, litigation or termination of our bank sponsor agreements or our third-party payment processor agreements.

As a result of information security risks, we must continuously develop and enhance our controls, processes, and practices designed to protect our computer systems, software, data and networks from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. This continuous development and enhancement will require us to expend additional resources, including to investigate and remediate significant information security vulnerabilities detected. Despite our investments in security measures, we are unable to assure that any security measures will not be subject to system or human error.

Our systems or our third-party providers’ systems may fail, which could interrupt our service, cause us to lose business, increase our costs and expose us to liability.

We depend on the efficient and uninterrupted operation of our computer systems, software, data centers and telecommunications networks, as well as the systems and services of third parties. A system outage or data loss could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Not only could we suffer damage to our reputation in the event of a system outage or data loss, but we may also be liable to third parties. Many of our contractual agreements with financial institutions and certain other customers require the payment of penalties if we do not meet certain operating standards. Our systems and operations or those of our third-party providers could be exposed to damage or interruption from, among other things, fire, natural disaster, power loss, or telecommunications failure.

The payment processing industry is highly competitive and such competition is likely to increase, which may adversely influence the prices we can charge to merchants for our services and the compensation we must pay to our distribution partners, and as a result, our profit margins.

The payment processing industry is highly competitive. We primarily compete in the small to medium-size ("SMB") merchant industry. We compete with, financial institutions and their affiliates, independent payment processing companies, and ISOs. We also compete with many of these same entities for production through distribution partners. Many of our distribution partners are not exclusive to us but also have relationships with our competitors, such that we have to continually expend resources to maintain those relationships. Our growth will depend on the continued growth of payments with credit, debit and prepaid cards ("Electronic Payments"), particularly Electronic Payments to SMB merchants, and our ability to increase our market share through successful competitive efforts to gain new merchants and distribution partners.

Additionally, many financial institutions and their subsidiaries or well-established payment-enabled technology providers with which we compete, have substantially greater capital, technological, management and marketing resources than we have. These factors may allow our competitors to offer better pricing terms to merchants and more attractive compensation to distribution partners, which could result in a loss of our potential or current merchants and distribution partners. Our current and future competitors may also develop or offer services that have price or other advantages over the services we provide.

We also face new, well capitalized, competition from emerging technology and non-traditional payment processing companies as well as traditional companies offering alternative electronic payments services and payment enabled software solutions. If these new entrants gain a greater share of total electronic payments transactions, they could impact our ability to retain and grow our relationships with merchants and distribution partners. Acquirers may be susceptible to the adoption by the broader merchant community of payment enabled software versus terminal based payments.

 Increased merchant, referral partner or ISO attrition could cause our financial results to decline.

We experience attrition in merchant credit and debit card processing volume resulting from several factors, including business closures, transfers of merchant accounts to our competitors, unsuccessful contract renewal negotiations and account closures that we initiate for various reasons such as heightened credit risks or contract breaches by merchants. Our referral partners are
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a significant source of new business. If a referral partner or an ISO switches to another processor, terminates our services, internalizes payment processing that we perform, merges with or is acquired by one of our competitors, or shuts down or becomes insolvent, we may no longer receive new merchant referrals from such referral partner, and we risk losing existing merchants that were originally enrolled by the referral partner or ISO. We cannot predict the level of attrition in the future and it could increase. Higher than expected attrition could negatively affect our results, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
 
Changes in card association and debit network fees or products could increase costs or otherwise limit our operations.
 
From time to time, card associations and debit networks increase the organization and/or processing fees (known as interchange fees) that they charge. It is possible that competitive pressures will result in us absorbing a portion of such increases in the future, which would increase our operating costs, reduce our profit margin, and adversely affect our business, operating results, and financial condition. In addition, the various card associations and networks prescribe certain capital requirements. Any increase in the capital level required would further limit our use of capital for other purposes.

Changes in payment network rules or standards could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
Payment network rules are established and changed from time to time by each payment network as they may determine in their sole discretion and with or without advance notice to their participants. The timelines imposed by the payment networks for expected compliance with new rules have historically been, and may continue to be, highly compressed, requiring us to quickly implement changes to our systems which increases the risk of non-compliance with new standards. In addition, the payment networks could make changes to interchange or other elements of the pricing structure of the merchant acquiring industry that would have a negative impact on our results of operations.

In order to remain competitive and to continue to increase our revenues and earnings, we must continually update our products and services, a process which could result in increased costs and the loss of revenues, earnings, merchants and distribution partners if the new products and services do not perform as intended or are not accepted in the marketplace.
 
The electronic payments industry in which we compete is subject to rapid technological changes and is characterized by new technology, product and service introductions, evolving industry standards, changing merchant needs and the entrance of non-traditional competitors. We are subject to the risk that our existing products and services become obsolete, and that we are unable to develop new products and services in response to industry demands. Our future success will depend in part on our ability to develop or adapt to technological changes and the evolving needs of our resellers, merchants and the industry at large. In addition, new products and offerings may not perform as intended or generate the business or revenue growth expected. Defects in our software and errors or delays in our processing of electronic transactions could result in additional development costs, diversion of technical and other resources from our other development efforts, loss of credibility with current or potential distribution partners and merchants, harm to our reputation, fines imposed by card networks, or exposure to liability claims. Any delay in the delivery of new products or services or the failure to differentiate our products and services could render them less desirable, or possibly even obsolete, to our merchants. Additionally, the market for alternative payment processing products and services is evolving, and we may develop too rapidly or not rapidly enough for us to recover the costs we have incurred in developing new products and services.

Acquisitions create certain risks and may adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations.

We have actively acquired businesses and expect to continue to make acquisitions of businesses and assets in the future. The acquisition and integration of businesses and assets involve a number of risks. These risks include valuation (negotiating a fair price for the business and assets), integration (managing the process of integrating the acquired business’ people, products, technology, and other assets to realize the projected value and synergies), regulatory (obtaining any applicable regulatory or other government approvals), and due diligence (identifying risks to the prospects of the business, including undisclosed or unknown liabilities or restrictions). There can be no assurances that we will be able to complete suitable acquisitions for a variety of reasons, including the identification of and competition for acquisition targets, the need for regulatory approvals, the
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inability of the parties to agree to the structure or purchase price of the transaction and our inability to finance the transaction on commercially acceptable terms. In addition, any potential acquisition can subject us to a variety of other risks:

If we are unable to successfully integrate the benefits plans, duties and responsibilities, and other factors of interest to management of employees of the acquired business, we could lose employees to our competitors in the region, which could significantly affect our ability to operate the business and complete the integration;

If the integration process causes any delays with the delivery of our services, or the quality of those services, we could lose customers to our competitors;

Any acquisition may otherwise cause disruption to the acquired company’s business and operations and relationships with financial institution sponsors, customers, merchants, employees and other partners;

Any acquisition and the related integration could divert the attention of our management from other strategic matters including possible acquisitions and alliances and planning for new product development or expansion into new markets for payments technology and software solutions; and

The costs related to the integration of an acquired company’s business and operations into ours may be greater than anticipated.
 
We are subject to economic and political risk, the business cycles of our merchants and distribution partners and the overall level of consumer and commercial spending, which could negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
The electronic payments industry depends heavily on the overall level of consumer, commercial and government spending. We are exposed to general economic conditions that affect consumer confidence, consumer spending, consumer discretionary income and changes in consumer purchasing habits. A sustained deterioration in general economic conditions or increases in interest rates could adversely affect our financial performance by reducing the number or aggregate dollar volume of transactions made using electronic payments. If our merchants make fewer sales of their products and services using electronic payments, or consumers spend less money through electronic payments, we will have fewer transactions to process at lower dollar amounts, resulting in lower revenue. In addition, a weakening in the economy could force merchants to close at higher than historical rates, resulting in exposure to potential losses and a decline in the number of transactions that we process. We also have material fixed and semi-fixed costs, including rent, debt service, contractual minimums and salaries, which could limit our ability to quickly adjust costs and respond to changes in our business and the economy.
 
Global economic, political and market conditions affecting the U.S. markets may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition, including our revenue growth and profitability.
 
Worldwide financial market conditions, as well as various social and political tensions in the United States and around the world, may contribute to increased market volatility, may have long-term effects on the United States and may cause economic uncertainties or deterioration in the United States. The U.S. markets experienced extreme volatility and disruption during the economic downturn that began in mid-2007, and the U.S. economy was in a recession for several consecutive calendar quarters during the same period. In addition, the fiscal and monetary policies of foreign nations, such as Russia and China, may have a severe impact on U.S. financial markets.

Any new legislation that may be adopted in the United States could significantly affect the regulation of U.S. financial markets. Areas subject to potential change, amendment or repeal include the Dodd-Frank Act and the authority of the Federal Reserve Board and the Financial Stability Oversight Council. The United States may also potentially withdraw from or renegotiate various trade agreements and take other actions that would change current trade policies of the United States. We cannot predict which, if any, of these actions will be taken or, if taken, their effect on the financial stability of the United States. Such actions could have a significant adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, particularly in view of the regulatory oversight we presently face. We cannot predict the effects of these or similar events in the future on the U.S.
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economy in general, or specifically on our business model or growth strategy, which typically involves the use of debt financing. To the extent a downturn in the U.S. economy impacts our merchant accounts, regulatory changes increase the burden we face in operating our business, or disruptions in the credit markets prevent us from using debt to finance future acquisitions, our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely impacted.
 
We rely on financial institutions and other service and technology providers. If they fail or discontinue providing their services or technology generally or to us specifically, our ability to provide services to merchants may be interrupted, and, as a result, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely impacted.
 
We rely on various financial institutions to provide clearing services in connection with our settlement activities. If such financial institutions should stop providing clearing services, we must find other financial institutions to provide those services. If we are unable to find a replacement financial institution, we may no longer be able to provide processing services to certain customers, which could negatively affect our revenues, earnings and cash flows.

We also rely on third parties to provide or supplement bankcard processing services and for infrastructure hosting services. We also rely on third parties for specific software and hardware used in providing our products and services. The termination by our service or technology providers of their arrangements with us or their failure to perform their services efficiently and effectively may adversely affect our relationships with our merchants and, if we cannot find alternate providers quickly, may cause those merchants to terminate their relationship with us.
 
We also rely in part on third parties for the development and access to new technologies, or updates to existing products and services for which third parties provide ongoing support, which increases the cost associated with new and existing product and service offerings. Failure by these third-party providers to devote an appropriate level of attention to our products and services could result in delays in introducing new products or services, or delays in resolving any issues with existing products or services for which third-party providers provide ongoing support.
 
Fraud by merchants or others could cause us to incur losses.

We have potential liability for fraudulent electronic payment transactions or credits initiated by merchants or others. Examples of merchant fraud include when a merchant or other party knowingly uses a stolen or counterfeit credit or debit card, card number, or other credentials to record a false sales or credit transaction, processes an invalid card, or intentionally fails to deliver the merchandise or services sold in an otherwise valid transaction. Criminals are using increasingly sophisticated methods to engage in illegal activities such as counterfeiting and fraud. Failure to effectively manage risk and prevent fraud could increase in the future. Increases in chargebacks or other liabilities could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

We incur liability when our merchants refuse or cannot reimburse us for chargebacks resolved in favor of their customers.
 
We have potential liability for chargebacks associated with the transactions we process. If a billing dispute between a merchant and a cardholder is not ultimately resolved in favor of the merchant, the disputed transaction is "charged back" to the merchant's bank and credited or otherwise refunded to the cardholder. The risk of chargebacks is typically greater with those merchants that promise future delivery of goods and services rather than delivering goods or rendering services at the time of payment. If we or our bank sponsors are unable to collect the chargeback from the merchant's account or reserve account (if applicable), or if the merchant refuses or is financially unable (due to bankruptcy or other reasons) to reimburse the merchant's bank for the chargeback, we may bear the loss for the amount of the refund paid to the cardholder. Any increase in chargebacks not paid by our merchants could increase our costs and decrease our revenues. We have policies to manage merchant-related credit risk and often mitigate such risk by requiring collateral and monitoring transaction activity. Notwithstanding our programs and policies for managing credit risk, it is possible that a default on such obligations by one or more of our merchants could have a material adverse effect on our business.

If we fail to comply with the applicable requirements of the card networks, they could seek to fine us, suspend us or terminate our registrations for membership. If we incur fines or penalties for which our merchants or ISOs are responsible that we cannot collect, we may have to bear the cost of such fines or penalties.

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We are subject to card association and network rules that could subject us to a variety of fines or penalties that may be levied by the card networks for certain acts or omissions. The rules of the card networks are set by the card networks themselves and may be influenced by card issuers, some of which are our competitors with respect to processing services. Many banks directly or indirectly sell processing services to merchants in direct competition with us. These banks could attempt, by virtue of their influence on the networks, to alter the networks’ rules or policies to the detriment of non-members, including us. The termination of our registrations or our membership status as a service provider or merchant processor, or any changes in a card association or other network rules or standards, including interpretation and implementation of the rules or standards, that increase the cost of doing business or limit our ability to provide transaction processing services to our customers, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. If a merchant or an ISO fails to comply with the applicable requirements of the card associations and networks, we or the merchant or ISO could be subject to a variety of fines or penalties that may be levied by the card associations or networks. If we cannot collect or pursue collection of such amounts from the applicable merchant or ISO, we may have to bear the cost of such fines or penalties, resulting in lower earnings for us. The termination of our registration, or any changes in the Visa or Mastercard rules that would impair our registration, could require us to stop providing Visa and Mastercard payment processing services, which would make it impossible for us to conduct our business on its current scale.

The loss of, for example, key personnel or of our ability to attract, recruit, retain and develop qualified employees could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our success depends upon the continued services of our senior management and other key personnel who have substantial experience in the electronic payments industry and the markets in which we offer our services. In addition, our success depends in large part upon the reputation within the industry of our senior managers who have developed relationships with our distribution partners, payment networks and other payment processing and service providers. Further, in order for us to continue to successfully compete and grow, we must attract, recruit, develop and retain personnel who will provide us with expertise across the entire spectrum of our intellectual capital needs. Our success is also dependent on the skill and experience of our sales force, which we must continuously work to maintain. While we have many key personnel who have substantial experience with our operations, we must also develop our personnel to provide succession plans capable of maintaining the continuity of our operations. The market for qualified personnel is competitive, and we may not succeed in recruiting additional personnel or may fail to effectively replace current personnel who depart with qualified or effective successors.


Legal, Regulatory Compliance and Tax Risks
 
Legal proceedings could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
 
In the ordinary course of business, we may become involved in various litigation matters, including but not limited to commercial disputes and employee claims, and from time to time may be involved in governmental or regulatory investigations or similar matters arising out of our current or future business. Any claims asserted against us, regardless of merit or eventual outcome, could harm our reputation and have an adverse impact on our relationship with our merchants, distribution partners and other third parties and could lead to additional related claims. Certain claims may seek injunctive relief, which could disrupt the ordinary conduct of our business and operations or increase our cost of doing business. Our insurance or indemnities may not cover all claims that may be asserted against us, and any claims asserted against it, regardless of merit or eventual outcome, may harm our reputation and cause us to expend resources in our defense. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that we will be successful in defending ourselves in future litigation. Should the ultimate judgments or settlements in any pending litigation or future litigation or investigation significantly exceed our insurance coverage, they could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to extensive government regulation, and any new laws and regulations, industry standards or revisions made to existing laws, regulations or industry standards affecting the electronic payments industry may have an unfavorable impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
Our business is affected by laws and regulations and examinations that affect us and our industries., Regulation and proposed regulation of the payments industry has increased significantly in recent years. Failure to comply with regulations or guidelines may result in the suspension or revocation of a license or registration, the limitation, suspension or termination of service, and
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the imposition of civil and criminal penalties, including fines, or may cause customers or potential customers to be reluctant to do business with us, any of which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition.

Interchange fees are subject to intense legal, regulatory, and legislative scrutiny. In particular, the Dodd-Frank Act limits the amount of debit card fees charged by certain issuers, allowing merchants to set minimum dollar amounts for the acceptance of credit cards and allowing merchants to offer discounts or other incentives for different payment methods. These types of restrictions could negatively affect the number of debit transactions, which would adversely affect our business. The Dodd-Frank Act also created the CFPB, which has assumed responsibility for enforcing federal consumer protection laws, and the FSOC, which has the authority to determine whether any non-bank financial company, which may include us within the definitional scope, should be supervised by the Federal Reserve because it is systemically important to the United States financial system. Any such designation would result in increased regulatory burdens on our business, which increases our risk profile and may have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We and many of our merchants may be subject to Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices. That statement and other laws, rules and or regulations, including the Telemarketing Sales Act, may directly impact the activities of certain of our merchants and, in some cases, may subject us, as the merchant's electronic processor or provider of certain services, to investigations, fees, fines and disgorgement of funds if we were deemed to have improperly aided and abetted or otherwise provided the means and instrumentalities to facilitate the illegal or improper activities of the merchant through our services. Various federal and state regulatory enforcement agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general, have authority to take action against non-banks that engage in unfair or deceptive practices or violate other laws, rules and regulations and to the extent we are processing payments or providing services for a merchant that may be in violation of laws, rules and regulations, we may be subject to enforcement actions and as a result may incur losses and liabilities that may impact our business.

Our business may also be subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (the "FCRA"), which regulates the use and reporting of consumer credit information and also imposes disclosure requirements on entities that take adverse action based on information obtained from credit reporting agencies. We could be liable if our practices under the FCRA are not in compliance with the FCRA or regulations under it.

Separately, the Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008 included an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code that requires the filing of yearly information returns by payment processing entities and third-party settlement organizations with respect to payments made in settlement of electronic payment transactions and third-party payment network transactions occurring in that calendar year. Transactions that are reportable pursuant to these rules are subject to backup withholding requirements. We could be liable for penalties if our information returns do not comply with these regulations.

These and other laws and regulations, even if not directed at us, may require us to make significant efforts to change our products and services and may require that we incur additional compliance costs and change how we price our services to merchants. Implementing new compliance efforts may be difficult because of the complexity of new regulatory requirements and may cause us to devote significant resources to ensure compliance. Furthermore, regulatory actions may cause changes in business practices by us and other industry participants which could affect how we market, price and distribute our products and services, which could limit our ability to grow, reduce our revenues, or increase our costs. In addition, even an inadvertent failure to comply with laws and regulations, as well as rapidly evolving social expectations of corporate fairness, could damage our business or our reputation.
 
We may not be able to successfully manage our intellectual property and may be subject to infringement claims.

We rely on a combination of contractual rights and copyright, trademark, patent and trade secret laws to establish and protect our proprietary technology. Third parties may challenge, circumvent, infringe or misappropriate our intellectual property, or such intellectual property may not be sufficient to permit us to take advantage of current market trends or otherwise to provide competitive advantages, which could result in costly redesign efforts, discontinuance of service offerings or other competitive harm. Others, including our competitors, may independently develop similar technology, duplicate our services or design around our intellectual property and, in such cases, we could not assert our intellectual property rights against such parties. Further, our contractual arrangements may not effectively prevent disclosure of our confidential information or provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure of our confidential information. We may have to litigate to enforce or
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determine the scope and enforceability of our intellectual property rights and know-how, which is expensive, could cause a diversion of resources and may not prove successful. Also, because of the rapid pace of technological change in our industry, aspects of our business and our services rely on technologies developed or licensed by third parties, and we may not be able to obtain or continue to obtain licenses and technologies from these third parties on reasonable terms or at all. The loss of intellectual property protection or the inability to license or otherwise use third-party intellectual property could harm our business and ability to compete.

We may also be subject to costly litigation if our services and technology are alleged to infringe upon or otherwise violate a third-party's proprietary rights. Third parties may have, or may eventually be issued, patents that could be infringed by our products, services or technology. Any of these third parties could make a claim of infringement against us with respect to our products, services or technology. We may also be subject to claims by third parties for patent, copyright or trademark infringement, breach of license or violation of other third-party intellectual property rights. Any claim from third parties may result in a limitation on our ability to use the intellectual property subject to these claims. Additionally, in recent years, individuals and groups have been purchasing intellectual property assets for the sole purpose of making claims of infringement or other violations and attempting to extract settlements from companies like ours. Even if we believe that intellectual property related claims are without merit, defending against such claims is time consuming and expensive and could result in the diversion of the time and attention of our management and employees. Claims of intellectual property infringement or violation also might require us to redesign affected products or services, enter into costly settlement or license agreements, pay costly damage awards, or face a temporary or permanent injunction prohibiting us from marketing or selling certain of our products or services. Even if we have an agreement for indemnification against such costs, the indemnifying party, if any in such circumstances, may be unable to uphold our contractual obligations. If we cannot or do not license the infringed technology on reasonable terms or substitute similar technology from another source, our revenue and earnings could be adversely impacted.
 
Changes in tax laws and regulations could adversely affect our results of operations and cash flows from operations.
 
Changes in tax laws in our significant tax jurisdictions could materially increase the amount of taxes we owe, thereby negatively impacting our results of operations as well as our cash flows from operations. For example, restrictions on the deductibility of interest expense in a U.S. jurisdiction without a corresponding reduction in statutory tax rates could negatively impact our effective tax rate, financial position, results of operations, and cash flows in the period that such a change occurs and future periods.
 
Our risk management policies and procedures may not be fully effective in mitigating our risk exposure in all market environments or against all types of risks.

We operate in a rapidly changing industry. Accordingly, our risk management policies and procedures may not be fully effective to identify, monitor, manage and remediate our risks. Some of our risk evaluation methods depend upon information provided by others and public information regarding markets, merchants or other matters that are otherwise inaccessible by us. In some cases, that information may not be accurate, complete or up-to-date. Additionally, our risk detection system is subject to a high degree of "false positive" risks being detected, which makes it difficult for us to identify real risks in a timely manner. If our policies and procedures are not fully effective or we are not always successful in capturing all risks to which we are or may be exposed, we may suffer harm to our reputation or be subject to litigation or regulatory actions that materially increase our costs and subject us to reputational damage that could limit our ability to grow and cause us to lose existing merchant clients.
 
Risk Related to Our Capital Structure
 
We face risks related to our substantial indebtedness.
 
We have a substantial amount of indebtedness and may incur other debt in the future. Our level of debt and the covenant to which we agreed could have negative consequences on us, including, among other things, (1) requiring us to dedicate a large portion of our cash flow from operations to servicing and repayment of the debt; (2) limiting funds available for strategic initiatives and opportunities, working capital and other general corporate needs and (3) limiting our ability to incur certain kinds or amounts of additional indebtedness, which could restrict our ability to react to changes in our business, our industry and economic conditions.
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Substantially all of our indebtedness is floating rate debt. As a result, an increase in interest rates generally, such as those we have recently experienced, would adversely affect our profitability. We may enter into pay-fixed interest rate swaps to limit our exposure to changes in floating interest rates. Such instruments may result in economic losses should interest rates decline to a point lower than our fixed rate commitments. We would be exposed to credit-related losses, which could impact the results of operations in the event of fluctuations in the fair value of the interest rate swaps due to a change in the credit worthiness or non-performance by the counterparties to the interest rate swaps.

The credit agreements governing our existing credit facilities and any other debt instruments we may issue in the future will contain restrictive covenants that may impair our ability to conduct business.
 
The credit agreements governing our existing credit facilities contain operating covenants and financial covenants that may limit management's discretion with respect to certain business matters. In addition, any debt instruments we may issue in the future will likely contain similar operating and financial covenants restricting our business. Among other things, these covenants will restrict our ability to:

pay dividends, or redeem or purchase equity interests;
incur additional debt;
incur liens;
change the nature of our business;
engage in transactions with affiliates;
sell or otherwise dispose of assets;
make acquisitions or other investments; and
merge or consolidate with other entities.

In addition, the credit agreements governing our Senior Credit Facilities contain a total net leverage ratio financial covenant. See Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” A breach of any of these covenants (or any other covenant in the documents governing our Senior Credit Agreement) could result in a default or event of default under our Senior Credit Agreement. If an event of default occurred, the applicable lenders or agents could elect to terminate borrowing commitments and declare all borrowings and loans outstanding thereunder, together with accrued and unpaid interest and any fees and other obligations, to be immediately due and payable. In addition, or in the alternative, the applicable lenders or agents could exercise their rights under the security documents entered into in connection with our Senior Credit Agreement. Any acceleration of amounts due under the Senior Credit Agreement would likely have a material adverse effect on us.

Because we have no current plans to pay cash dividends on our common stock 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 intend to retain future earnings, if any, for future operations, expansion, and debt repayment and have no current plans to pay any cash dividends for the foreseeable future. The declaration, amount, and payment of any future dividends on shares of common stock will be at the sole discretion of our board of directors. Our board of directors may take into account general and economic conditions, our financial condition, and results of operations, our available cash and current and anticipated cash needs, capital requirements, contractual, legal, tax, and regulatory restrictions, implications on the payment of dividends by us to our stockholders or by our subsidiaries to us, and such other factors as our board of directors may deem relevant. In addition, our ability to pay dividends is limited by covenants of our existing and outstanding indebtedness and may be limited by covenants of any future indebtedness we or our subsidiaries incur. As a result, you may not receive any return on an investment in our common stock unless you sell our common stock for a price greater than that which you paid for it.
 
Mr. Thomas Priore, our President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, controls the Company, and his interests may conflict with ours or yours in the future.
 
Thomas Priore and his affiliates have the ability to elect all of the members of our board of directors and thereby control our policies and operations, including the appointment of management, future issuances of our common stock or other securities, the payment of dividends, if any, on our common stock, the incurrence or modification of debt by us, amendments to our
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Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation and our Amended and Restated Bylaws, and the entering into of extraordinary transactions, and their interests may not in all cases be aligned with your interests. In addition, Thomas Priore may have an interest in pursuing acquisitions, divestitures, and other transactions that, in his judgment, could enhance his investment, even though such transactions might involve risks to you. For example, he could cause us to make acquisitions that increase our indebtedness or cause us to sell revenue-generating assets. Additionally, in certain circumstances, acquisitions of debt at a discount by purchasers that are related to a debtor can give rise to cancellation of indebtedness income to such debtor for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
 
Our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation provides that neither he nor any of his affiliates, or any director who is not employed by us (including any non-employee director who serves as one of our officers in both his director and officer capacities) will have any duty to refrain from engaging, directly or indirectly, in the same business activities or similar business activities or lines of business in which we operate. So long as Thomas Priore continues to own a significant amount of our combined voting power, even if such amount is less than 50%, he will continue to be able to strongly influence or effectively control our decisions. Furthermore, so long as Thomas Priore and his respective affiliates collectively own at least 50% of all outstanding shares of our common stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors, they will be able to appoint individuals to our board of directors. In addition, given his level of control, Thomas Priore will be able to determine the outcome of all matters requiring stockholder approval and will be able to cause or prevent a change of control of the Company or a change in the composition of our board of directors and could preclude any unsolicited acquisition of the Company. The concentration of ownership could deprive you of an opportunity to receive a premium for your shares of common stock as part of a sale of the Company and ultimately might affect the market price of our common stock.
 
We may redeem your unexpired warrants prior to their exercise at a time that is disadvantageous to you, thereby making your warrants worthless.
 
We have the ability to redeem outstanding warrants (the "Warrants") at any time after they become exercisable and prior to their expiration, at $0.01 per warrant, if the last reported sales price (or the closing bid price of our common stock in the event the common stock is not traded on any specific trading day) of the common stock equals or exceeds $16.00 per share for any 20 trading days within a 30-trading day period ending on the third business day prior to the date we send proper notice of such redemption, provided that on the date we give notice of redemption and during the entire period thereafter until the time we redeem the Warrants, we have an effective registration statement under the Securities Act covering the common stock issuable upon exercise of the Warrants and a current prospectus relating to them is available or cashless exercise is exempt from the registration requirements under the Securities Act. If and when the Warrants become redeemable by us, we may exercise our redemption right even if we are unable to register or qualify the underlying securities for sale under all applicable state securities laws. Redemption of the outstanding Warrants could force a warrant holder: (i) to exercise Warrants and pay the exercise price therefore at a time when it may be disadvantageous for you to do so, (ii) to sell Warrants at the then-current market price when you might otherwise wish to hold your Warrants or (iii) to accept the nominal redemption price which, at the time the outstanding Warrants are called for redemption, may be substantially less than the market value of your Warrants.
 
The liquidity of the Warrants may be limited.
 
There is a limited trading market for our Warrants, which might adversely affect the liquidity, market price and price volatility of the Warrants. In addition, our publicly-traded Warrants have been removed from quotation on The Nasdaq Global Market. As a result, investors in our Warrants may find it more difficult to dispose of or obtain accurate quotations as to the market value of our Warrants, and the ability of our stockholders to sell our Warrants in the secondary market has been materially limited.
 
Financial Risks

Changes in the method for determining the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") and the potential replacement of the LIBOR benchmark interest rate could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

The majority of our current indebtedness bears interest at a variable rate based on LIBOR, and we may incur additional indebtedness based on LIBOR. In July 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA"), a regulator of
27


financial services firms and financial markets in the United Kingdom, stated that they will plan for a phase out of regulatory oversight of LIBOR interest rates indices. The FCA has indicated they will support the LIBOR indices through 2021, to allow for an orderly transition to an alternative reference rate. The ICE Benchmark Administration Limited recently announced that it will consult on its intention to extend the publication of most tenors LIBOR to June 30, 2023. The Alternative Reference Rates Committee has proposed the Secured Overnight Financing Rate ("SOFR") as its recommended alternative to LIBOR, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York began publishing SOFR rates in April 2018. SOFR is intended to be a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities. At this time, it is not possible to predict when LIBOR will be replaced as the reference rate in the agreements governing the Company’s indebtedness or the effect any discontinuance, modification or other reforms to LIBOR, or the establishment of alternative reference rates such as SOFR, or any other reference rate, will have on the Company. If LIBOR ceases to exist or the methods of calculating LIBOR change from their current form, however, the Company’s borrowing costs may be adversely affected.
 

28


ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

N/A


ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

We maintain several offices across the United States, all of which we lease.

Our key office locations include:

corporate headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia;
administrative office in Hicksville, NY; and
administrative office in New York, NY.

We lease several small facilities for sales and operations. Our current facilities meet the needs of our employee base and can accommodate our currently contemplated growth.



ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

We are involved in certain other legal proceedings and claims, which arise in the ordinary course of business. In the opinion of the Company, based on consultations with inside and outside counsel, the results of any of these ordinary course matters, individually and in the aggregate, are not expected to have a material effect on our results of operations, financial condition, or cash flows. As more information becomes available and we determine that an unfavorable outcome is probable on a claim and that the amount of probable loss that we will incur on that claim is reasonably estimable, we will record an accrued expense for the claim in question. If and when we record such an accrual, it could be material and could adversely impact our results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows.



ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

N/A
29


PART II.


ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES


Market Information

Prior to the consummation of the Business Combination on July 25, 2018, MI Acquisitions' common stock, warrants and units were each listed on The Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol "MACQ," "MACQW" and "MACQU," respectively. Upon the consummation of the Business Combination and the change of the Company's name to Priority Technology Holdings, Inc., our common stock commenced trading on The Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol "PRTH" and our warrants and units commenced trading under the symbols "PRTHW" and "PRTHU," respectively. As of March 6, 2019, our warrants and units were delisted from trading on The Nasdaq Global Market. Following their delisting, our warrants and units became available to be quoted in the over-the-counter market under the symbols "PRTHW" and "PRTHU," respectively.


Holders

As of March 24, 2021, we had 32 holders of record of our common stock. This figure does not include the number of persons whose securities are held in nominee or "street" name accounts through brokers. With the exception of one holder, all of our outstanding warrants and units were held in nominee or "street" name accounts through brokers.


Dividends
 
We have never declared or paid, and do not anticipate declaring or paying in the foreseeable future, any cash dividends on our common stock.


Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

None.


Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

None.
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ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
 
The following table sets forth selected historical financial information derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. You should read the following selected financial data in conjunction with the sections entitled "Item 7 - Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and the audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. 
Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands, except per share amounts)202020192018
Statement of operations data: 
Revenues$404,342 $371,854 $375,822 
Operating expenses383,481 364,670 359,429 
Income from operations20,861 7,184 16,393 
Interest expense(44,839)(40,653)(29,935)
Gain on sale of business, net107,239 — — 
Debt extinguishment and modification expenses(1,899)— (2,043)
Other income (expenses), net596 710 (4,741)
Income (loss) before income taxes81,958 (32,759)(20,326)
Income tax expense (benefit)10,899 830 (2,490)
Net income (loss)71,059 (33,589)(17,836)
Less earnings attributable to redeemable and redeemed non-controlling interests(45,398)— — 
Net income (loss) attributable to stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.$25,661 $(33,589)$(17,836)
Common stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.:
Basic earnings (loss) per common share$0.38 $(0.50)$(0.29)
Diluted earnings (loss) per common share$0.38 $(0.50)$(0.29)
Year Ended December 31,
202020192018
Statement of cash flows data:
Net cash provided by (used in):
Operating activities$47,072 $39,364 $31,348 
Investing activities$166,396 $(97,747)$(108,928)
Financing activities$(175,813)$75,017 $67,252 
  
As of December 31,
 20202019
Balance sheet data:
Cash and restricted cash$88,120 $50,465 
Total assets$417,829 $464,505 
Total liabilities$516,393 $585,194 
Total stockholders' deficit$(98,564)$(120,689)
Shares of common stock outstanding67,39167,061 
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ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
 
You should read the following management's discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations together with "Item 6 - Selected Financial Data" and our audited financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This discussion contains forward-looking statements about our business, operations and industry that involve risks and uncertainties, such as statements regarding our plans, objectives, expectations and intentions. Our future results and financial condition may differ materially from those currently anticipated by us as a result of the factors described in the sections entitled "Item 1A - Risk Factors" and "Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements."

Certain amounts in this section may not add mathematically due to rounding.

For a description and additional information about our three reportable segments, see Note 18, Segment Information, contained in "Item 8 - Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.


Results of Operations
 
This section includes a summary of our results of operations for the periods presented followed by a discussion of our results of operations for (i) the year ended December 31, 2020 (or "2020") compared to the year ended December 31, 2019 (or "2019") and (ii) the year ended December 31, 2019 (or "2019") compared to the year ended December 31, 2018 (or "2018"). We have derived this data, except key indicators for merchant bankcard processing dollar values and transaction volumes, from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
32


Year Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2019

The following table shows our consolidated income statement data for the years indicated:

Year Ended December 31,  
(dollars in thousands)20202019$ Change% Change
  
REVENUES$404,342 $371,854 $32,488 8.7 %
OPERATING EXPENSES: 
Costs of services277,374 252,569 24,805 9.8 %
Salary and employee benefits39,507 42,214 (2,707)(6.4)%
Depreciation and amortization40,775 39,092 1,683 4.3 %
Selling, general and administrative25,825 30,795 (4,970)(16.1)%
Total operating expenses383,481 364,670 18,811 5.2 %
Income from operations20,861 7,184 13,677 190.4 %
Operating margin5.2 %1.9 %
OTHER INCOME (EXPENSES): 
Interest expense(44,839)(40,653)(4,186)10.3 %
Debt extinguishment and modification expenses(1,899)— (1,899)nm
Gain on sale of business, net107,239 — 107,239 nm
Other income, net596 710 (114)(16.1)%
Total other income (expenses), net61,097 (39,943)101,040 253.0 %
Income (loss) before income taxes81,958 (32,759)114,717 350.2 %
Income tax expense10,899 830 10,069 nm
Net income (loss)71,059 (33,589)104,648 311.6 %
Less income attributable to redeemable and redeemed non-controlling interests(45,398)— (45,398)nm
Net income (loss) attributable to stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.$25,661 $(33,589)$59,250 176.4 %
 

nm = not meaningful

33


The following table shows our segment income statement data and selected performance measures for the years indicated: 

Year Ended December 31, 
(dollars and volume amounts in thousands)20202019$ Change% Change
 
Consumer Payments:    
Revenue$367,816 $330,599 $37,217 11.3 %
Operating expenses329,424 298,362 31,062 10.4 %
Income from operations$38,392 $32,237 $6,155 19.1 %
Operating margin10.4 %9.8 %
Depreciation and amortization$35,002 $32,842 $2,160 6.6 %
Key Indicators:
Merchant bankcard processing dollar value$41,703,661 $42,303,880 $(600,219)(1.4)%
Merchant bankcard transaction volume455,240 511,852 (56,612)(11.1)%
Commercial Payments:
Revenue$20,922 $25,980 $(5,058)(19.5)%
Operating expenses19,999 26,871 (6,872)(25.6)%
Income (loss) from operations$923 $(891)$1,814 203.6 %
Operating margin4.4 %(3.4)%
Depreciation and amortization$306 $323 $(17)(5.3)%
Key Indicators:
Merchant bankcard processing dollar value$249,004 $312,342 $(63,338)(20.3)%
Merchant bankcard transaction volume99 109 (10)(9.2)%
Integrated Partners:
Revenue$15,604 $15,275 $329 2.2 %
Operating expenses14,200 14,550 (350)(2.4)%
Income from operations$1,404 $725 $679 93.7 %
Operating margin9.0 %4.7 %
Depreciation and amortization$4,299 $4,398 $(99)(2.3)%
Key Indicators:
Merchant bankcard processing dollar value$364,084 $386,101 $(22,017)(5.7)%
Merchant bankcard transaction volume1,316 1,380 (64)(4.6)%
Income from operations of reportable segments$40,719 $32,071 $8,648 27.0 %
Corporate expenses19,858 24,887 (5,029)(20.2)%
Consolidated income from operations$20,861 $7,184 $13,677 190.4��%
Corporate depreciation and amortization$1,168 $1,529 $(361)(23.6)%
Key Indicators:
Merchant bankcard processing dollar value$42,316,749 $43,002,323 $(685,574)(1.6)%
Merchant bankcard transaction volume456,655 513,341 (56,686)(11.0)%

34


Impact of COVID-19 on Results and Trends

The outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, continues to adversely affect consumer activity and has contributed to a decline in many aspects of macroeconomic activity in 2020 compared to 2019. The largest impact we experienced was within our Consumer Payments reportable segment (“Consumer Payments”), which is described below.

Our results of operations for most of the first quarter of 2020 were not significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic since the economic consequences of the pandemic did not begin to materially impact consumer payment transactions in the United States until the last half of March 2020. Beginning in mid-March, the pandemic began to negatively impact our daily merchant bankcard processing dollar values (“processing dollars”) as the pandemic spread across the United States and restrictive shelter in place requirements were instituted. From mid-March 2020 through the end of April 2020, we experienced a significant decline of approximately 35% in processing dollars as compared with the comparable weeks in 2019. As a result, our processing dollars grew only 1.7% in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the first quarter of 2019. In the second quarter of 2020 we experienced a 16.4% decline in processing dollars compared with the second quarter of 2019. However, within the second quarter of 2020, the decline in processing dollars was greatest in April. In May and June of 2020, as shelter in place restrictions began to be lifted, we experienced a rebound in processing dollars that continued through the third quarter. With increased economic activity in the third quarter of 2020, we experienced growth in processing dollars of 6.3% as compared with the third quarter of 2019.

The level of new COVID-19 cases began to increase significantly throughout the United States during the fourth quarter of 2020, with certain states impacted more than others, and pandemic related economic factors impacted the growth rate of our processing dollars. In the fourth quarter of 2020, we experienced growth in processing dollars of 3.0% as compared with the fourth quarter of 2019. For the year ended December 31, 2020, processing dollars in Consumer Payments of $41.7 billion declined 1.4% from $42.3 billion in the year ended December 31, 2019.

Revenue growth in Consumer Payments was 11.3% for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared with the year ended December 31, 2019. In the first, second, third and fourth quarters of 2020, revenue growth was 8.9%, 0.3%, 20.0% and 15.3%, respectively, compared with the comparable quarters in 2019. During 2020, we benefited from our specialized merchant acquiring program. This program, which complies with the recently issued card association rules, helped mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on overall revenue growth by adding $28.8 million to the Consumer Payments revenue in 2020, compared with $7.4 million in 2019.

In the first quarter of 2021, the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States began to accelerate. While this may be a positive development, the future impact of the pandemic on the overall economy and our results are beyond our ability to predict or control.


Revenue

Consolidated revenue
 
For the year ended December 31, 2020, our consolidated revenue increased by $32.5 million, or 8.7%, from the year ended December 31, 2019 to $404.3 million. This overall increase was driven by a $37.2 million, or 11.3%, increase in revenue from our Consumer Payments segment and a $0.3 million, or 2.2%, increase in revenue from our Integrated Partners segment, partially offset by a $5.1 million, or 19.5%, decrease in revenue in our Commercial Payments segment.


Revenue in Consumer Payments segment

Consumer Payments revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020 increased by $37.2 million, or 11.3%, compared to revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019 of $330.6 million. This increase was driven by $21.4 million, or 290.0%, revenue growth from our specialized merchant acquiring program.

35


Merchant bankcard processing dollar value for the year ended December 31, 2020 of $41.7 billion decreased by $0.6 billion, or 1.4%, compared to $42.3 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019. However, our merchant volume mix drove a 10.8% higher average ticket of $91.61 in 2020 compared to $82.65 in 2019. Current economic factors have impacted the merchant volume mix, including shifts in payment transaction activity among certain vertical industries, spending trends related to the COVID-19 pandemic that appear to have resulted in consumers conducting fewer payment transactions at higher average transaction values, and an increase in card-not-present transactions. Card-not-present volume generally offers more favorable pricing to us than other types of transactions. The trend of new merchant boarding remains within our historical range of 4,500 to 5,000 new merchants per month. During 2020, our monthly average of new merchants boarded was 4,669 compared with 4,612 in 2019.

Revenue in Commercial Payments segment

Commercial Payments revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020 of $20.9 million decreased by $5.1 million, or 19.5%, compared to revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019 of $26.0 million. The increase in revenue from our accounts payable automated solutions services was offset by a decrease in revenues from our curated managed services programs.

Revenue from our accounts payable automated solutions business in 2020 of $6.0 million increased $0.5 million, or 8.8%, compared to revenue in 2019 of $5.5 million. This increase was driven by increased business from existing customers. Revenue from our curated managed services business in 2020 of $14.9 million decreased by $5.5 million, or 27.1%, compared to revenue in 2019 of $20.5 million. This decrease was driven by a decline and curtailment in 2020 of a customer’s merchant financing program in response to the COVID related economic conditions and the changes in the customer's business model.


Revenue in Integrated Partners segment

Integrated Partners revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020 of $15.6 million increased by $0.3 million, or 2.2%, compared to revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019 of $15.3 million. Priority Real Estate Technology, LLC ("PRET") comprised $13.4 million and $13.2 million of this segment's revenue in 2020 and 2019, respectively. PRET's RentPayment business, which was formed with a March 2019 asset acquisition, generated revenue of $12.0 million in 2020 and $11.7 million in 2019, respectively. Revenue from PRET’s RadPad and Landlord Station businesses, Priority PayRight Health Solutions ("PayRight") and Priority Hospitality Technology ("PHOT") comprised the remainder of this segment's revenue.

The sale of the RentPayment business in September 2020 as disclosed in Note 2, Disposal of Business, to the consolidated financial statements impacted our results after the third quarter of 2020 and will also impact the trend of future results of the Integrated Partners segment.

 
Consolidated Operating Expenses

Our consolidated operating expenses for the year ended December 31, 2020 of $383.5 million increased by $18.8, or 5.2%, compared to consolidated operating expenses for the year ended December 31, 2019 of $364.7 million. This overall increase was driven by higher costs of services and depreciation and amortization expense in 2020 compared to 2019. Costs of services of $277.4 million grew $24.8 million, or 9.8%, in 2020 resulting from higher revenues in the Consumer Payments segment. Consolidated depreciation and amortization expense of $40.8 million increased by $1.7 million, or 4.3%, in 2020, which was driven by additions to property, equipment and software, as well as intangible assets.

While costs of services and depreciation and amortization expense increased in 2020, we experienced decreases in salary and employee benefits and selling, general and administrative expenses compared to 2019. Consolidated salary and employee benefits expenses of $39.5 million decreased $2.7 million, or 6.4%, in 2020, which was driven by lower headcount and a $1.2 million decline in non-cash stock-based compensation. Consolidated selling, general and administrative expenses of $25.8 million decreased $5.0 million, or 16.1%, in 2020 driven by decreases in certain expenses management considers to be non-recurring in nature, lower office and travel-related costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, decreased use of outside professionals due to in-sourcing of certain services, and an overall focus on cost containment.


36


Income (Loss) from Operations

Consolidated income from operations

For the year ended December 31, 2020, our consolidated income from operations increased by $13.7 million, or 190.4%, from the year ended December 31, 2019 to $20.9 million. This overall increase was driven by a $6.2 million, or 19.1%, increase income from operations in our Consumer Payments segment, a $1.8 million, or 203.6%, increase in income from operations in our Commercial Payments segment, and a $0.7 million, or 93.7%, increase in income from operations in our Integrated Partners segment. Corporate expense of $19.9 million in 2020 decreased by $5.0 million, or 20.2%, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2019.

Income from operations in Consumer Payments segment

Our Consumer Payments segment contributed $38.4 million of income from operations for the year ended December 31, 2020, an increase of $6.2 million, or 19.1%, from the $32.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. This increase was the result of higher revenue, net of costs of services, of $9.0 million, and lower salary and employee benefit expenses of $1.8 million driven by lower headcount and a $1.1 million decline in non-cash stock-based compensation. While these factors drove growth in income from operations, they were partially offset by a $2.2 million increase in depreciation and amortization expense and a $2.5 million increase in selling, general and administrative expenses. The increase in depreciation and amortization expense was attributable to additions to intangible assets and property, equipment and software, while the growth in selling, general and administrative expenses was due to a $2.5 million increase in certain expenses management considers to be non-recurring in nature. Such expenses in 2020 totaled $1.9 million and are comprised of: $1.8 million for an impairment charge for an intangible asset and a $0.5 million allowance provision for a note receivable, partially offset by a non-cash reduction in expense of $0.4 million for a change in the fair value of accrued contingent consideration related to two 2018 business acquisitions. Selling, general and administrative expenses in 2019 included a non-cash reduction in expense of $0.6 million for a change in the fair value of accrued contingent consideration related to the same two 2018 business combinations.

Income (loss) from operations in Commercial Payments segment

Our Commercial Payments segment contributed $0.9 million of income from operations for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to a loss from operations of $0.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. This improvement was driven by a $1.9 million decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses and a $0.8 million decrease in salaries and employee benefits expenses due to lower headcount and a $0.5 million decline in non-cash stock-based compensation. The decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses was driven by reduced travel and trade show expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, selling, general and administrative expenses for 2019 included a $0.5 million allowance for uncollectible receivables which were substantially recovered in 2020. While these factors drove growth in income from operations, they were partially offset by the decline in revenue attributable to our curated managed services programs.

Income from operations in Integrated Partners segment

Our Integrated Partners segment contributed $1.4 million of income from operations for the year ended December 31, 2020, an increase of $0.7 million compared to $0.7 million of income from operations for the year ended December 31, 2019. This increase was driven by lower operating expenses attributable to a $0.8 million decrease in salary and employee benefit expenses, a $0.3 million decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses, and a $0.1 million decrease in depreciation and amortization expense. Included in selling, general and administrative expenses for 2020 and 2019 are expenses related to transition services provided by YapStone, Inc. in connection with the assets acquired in March 2019 and sold in September 2020. These transition services were approximately $2.6 million in 2020 and $2.9 million in 2019. These operating expense decreases more than offset the increase in costs of services experienced in 2020, due in part to our new payment infrastructure as a service arrangement with the buyer of the RentPayment business.

Corporate Expense

Corporate expenses were $19.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, a decrease of $5.0 million, or 20.2%, from expenses of $24.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. This decrease in 2020 was driven by a $5.3 million decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses and a $0.4 million decrease in depreciation and amortization expense, partially
37


offset by a $0.6 million increase in salary and employee benefits expense largely attributable to a $0.4 million increase in non-cash stock-based compensation. Included in selling, general and administrative expenses in 2020 are certain legal and professional expenses management considers to be non-recurring in nature of $1.9 million, offset by litigation settlement income of $0.7 million. Such expenses in 2019 totaled of $6.4 million, offset by litigation settlement income of $0.4 million.


Interest Expense

The amortization of deferred financing costs and debt discounts, as well as certain administrative fees, increased our reported consolidated interest expense and the effective interest rates under our Senior and Subordinated Credit Agreements.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, consolidated interest expense increased by $4.2 million, or 10.3%, to $44.8 million from $40.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The additional expense in 2020 was due to increases in the applicable margins on the Senior and Subordinated Credit Agreements that resulted from the Sixth Amendment in March 2020 and increased borrowings under the revolving credit portion of our Senior Credit Agreement, partially offset by a $106.5 million principal prepayment in late September 2020 of the term portion of our Senior Credit Agreement. For 2020, the effective interest rates on the term facility of our Senior and Subordinated Credit Agreements averaged 8.5% and 13.0%, respectively, compared to 7.2% and 10.8%, respectively, for 2019. Based on applicable margins and the LIBOR rate in effect on December 31, 2020, we expect the effective interest rates on the term facility of our Senior and Subordinated Credit Agreements to be approximately 8.2% and 12.8%, respectively, in 2021.


Debt Extinguishment and Modification Expenses

During September 2020, we wrote off unamortized deferred debt costs and discounts of $1.5 million associated with the $106.5 million principal prepayment for the term facility under our Senior Credit Agreements. In the first quarter of 2020, we expensed $0.4 million of third-party costs incurred in connection with the Sixth Amendment to the Senior and Subordinated Credit Agreements.


Gain on Sale of Business

As disclosed in Note 2, Disposal of Business, to the consolidated financial statements, during late September 2020 our consolidated PRET subsidiary sold the RentPayment business, which is substantially all of the assets acquired from YapStone, Inc. in March 2019. Based on efforts and changes made by us since the March 2019 acquisition of these assets, the assets constituted a business, as defined by GAAP, when sold in September 2020 for $179.4 million, net of a working capital adjustment. After removing the carrying values of the disposed business and incurring costs related to the transaction, PRET recognized a pre-tax gain of $107.2 million. PRET had non-controlling interests ("NCIs"), and based on the cash waterfall provisions in PRET's governing agreement, the NCIs were entitled to $45.1 million of the $107.2 million pre-tax gain, which is included in Net Income Attributable to Non-Controlling Interests on our consolidated statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2020. The $45.1 million was distributed in cash to the NCIs, and the $45.1 million of payments along with the $5.7 million redemption payment made to one of the NCIs, resulted in the redemption of all NCIs of PRET. The working capital adjustment and the allocation of net proceeds described above remain subject to final adjustment with the buyer and PRET members, respectively. Any remaining payments made or received by the Company will be recorded in the period in which such amounts are finalized.


Other, net
 
For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, Other, net was composed primarily of interest income earned on notes receivable from certain independent sales organizations and another entity.


Income Tax Expense
 
38


We became part of a C-Corporation reporting tax group on July 25, 2018 in connection with the Business Combination. On July 25, 2018, we recognized a net deferred income tax asset of $47.5 million, which also resulted in a credit to our additional paid-in capital within our consolidated stockholders' deficit. The net deferred tax asset is the result of the difference between the initial tax bases in the assets and liabilities and their respective carrying amounts for financial statement purposes.

We assess all available positive and negative evidence to estimate whether sufficient taxable income will be generated in the future to permit use of the existing deferred tax assets. ASC 740, Income Taxes ("ASC 740"), requires that all sources of future taxable income be considered in making this determination. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 amended section 163(j) of the Internal Revenue Code. Section 163(j), as amended, limits the business interest deduction to 30% of adjusted taxable income ("ATI"). For taxable years through 2021, the calculation of ATI closely aligns with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA"). Commencing in 2022, the ATI limitation more closely aligns with earnings before interest and taxes ("EBIT"), without adjusting for depreciation and amortization. Any business interest in excess of the annual limitation is carried forward indefinitely. In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act") was enacted, which among other provisions, provides for the increase of the 163(j) ATI limitation from 30% to 50% for tax years 2019 and 2020.

With respect to recording a deferred tax benefit for the carryforward of business interest expense, GAAP applies a "more likely than not" threshold for assessing recoverability. Adjustments to the valuation allowance are a component of income tax expense (benefit) in our statements of operations. An increase in the valuation allowance for deferred income taxes will increase income tax expense (or reduce an otherwise income tax benefit), and a decrease in the valuation allowance will decrease income tax expense (or increase an otherwise income tax benefit).

On the basis of our assessment, for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we decreased and increased the valuation allowance for deferred income taxes by $2.9 million and $9.3 million, respectively, associated with excess business interest for the then-current reporting periods. Changes to the valuation allowance for 2018 were not material. We will continue to evaluate the realizability of the net deferred tax asset on a quarterly basis and, as a result, the valuation allowance may change in future periods.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, our consolidated income tax expense was $10.9 million, resulting in a consolidated effective income tax rate of 13.3%. Approximately $12.3 million of consolidated income tax expense for the year ended December 31, 2020 was attributable to the gain on the business sale (see Note 2, Disposal of Business). For the year ended December 31, 2019, our consolidated income tax expense was $0.8 million, resulting in an effective consolidated income tax benefit rate of 2.5%. See Note 11, Income Taxes, to our consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of the Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Our consolidated effective income tax rates differ from the statutory rate due to timing and permanent differences between amounts calculated under GAAP and the tax code. The consolidated effective income tax rate for 2020 may not be indicative of our effective tax rate for future periods.


Earnings Attributable to Non-Controlling Interests (NCIs)

In addition to the $45.1 million discussed above for the NCIs of PRET, we attributed and paid $250 thousand to the NCIs of PHOT for the year ended December 31, 2020. No amounts were attributable or paid to any NCIs in prior years. See Note 4, Asset Acquisitions, Asset Contributions, and Business Combinations, to the consolidated financial statements.

 
Net Income (Loss)
 
Consolidated net income attributable to the stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $25.7 million compared to a net loss of $33.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 for the aforementioned reasons.


39


Year Ended December 31, 2019 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2018

The following table shows our consolidated income statement data for the years indicated:
 
Year Ended December 31, 
(dollars in thousands)20192018$ Change% Change
 
REVENUES$371,854 $375,822 $(3,968)(1.1)%
OPERATING EXPENSES:    
Costs of services252,569 269,284 (16,715)(6.2)%
Salary and employee benefits42,214 38,324 3,890 10.2 %
Depreciation and amortization39,092 19,740 19,352 98.0 %
Selling, general and administrative30,795 32,081 (1,286)(4.0)%
Total operating expenses364,670 359,429 5,241 1.5 %
Income from operations7,184 16,393 (9,209)(56.2)%
Operating margin1.9 %4.4 %
OTHER (EXPENSES) INCOME:    
Interest expense(40,653)(29,935)(10,718)35.8 %
Other, net710 (6,784)7,494 110.5 %
Total other expenses, net(39,943)(36,719)(3,224)8.8 %
Loss before income taxes(32,759)(20,326)(12,433)61.2 %
Income tax expense (benefit) 830 (2,490)3,320 nm
Net loss$(33,589)$(17,836)$(15,753)88.3 %


nm = not meaningful
40


The following table shows our segment income statement data and selected performance measures for the years indicated:
 
Years Ended December 31,  
(dollars and volume amounts in thousands)20192018$ Change% Change
 
Consumer Payments:    
Revenue$330,599 $347,013 $(16,414)(4.7)%
Operating expenses298,362 300,011 (1,649)(0.5)%
Income from operations$32,237 $47,002 $(14,765)(31.4)%
Operating margin9.8 %13.5 % 
Depreciation and amortization$32,842 $17,945 $14,897 83.0 %
Key Indicators:    
Merchant bankcard processing dollar value$42,303,880 $37,892,474 $4,411,406 11.6 %
Merchant bankcard transaction volume511,852 465,584 46,268 9.9 %
Commercial Payments:    
Revenue$25,980 $27,056 $(1,076)(4.0)%
Operating expenses26,871 28,008 (1,137)(4.1)%
Loss from operations$(891)$(952)$61 (6.4)%
Operating margin(3.4)%(3.5)%
Depreciation and amortization$323 $557 $(234)(42.0)%
Key Indicators:
Merchant bankcard processing dollar value$312,342 $257,308 $55,034 21.4 %
Merchant bankcard transaction volume109 118 (9)(7.6)%
Integrated Partners:
Revenue$15,275 $1,753 $13,522 nm
Operating expenses14,550 3,722 10,828 nm
Income (loss) from operations$725 $(1,969)$2,694 nm
Operating margin4.7 %(112.3)%
Depreciation and amortization$4,398 $145 $4,253 nm
Key Indicators:
Merchant bankcard processing dollar value$386,101 $5,516 $380,585 nm
Merchant bankcard transaction volume1,380 55 1,325 nm
Income from operations of reportable segments$32,071 $44,081 $(12,010)(27.2)%
Corporate expenses24,887 27,688 (2,801)(10.1)%
Consolidated income from operations$7,184 $16,393 $(9,209)(56.2)%
Corporate depreciation and amortization$1,529 $1,093 $436 39.9 %
Key Indicators:
Merchant bankcard processing dollar value$43,002,323 $38,155,298 $4,847,025 12.7 %
Merchant bankcard transaction volume513,341 465,757 47,584 10.2 %

nm = not meaningful

41





Revenue

Consolidated revenue
 
For the year ended December 31, 2019, our consolidated revenue decreased by $4.0 million, or 1.1%, from the year ended December 31, 2018 to $371.9 million. This decrease was driven by a $16.4 million, or 4.7%, decrease in revenue from our Consumer Payments segment and a $1.1 million, or 4.0%, decrease in revenue from our Commercial Payments segment, partially offset by a $13.5 million increase in revenue from our Integrated Partners segment. Consolidated merchant bankcard processing dollar value and merchant bankcard transactions increased 12.7% and 10.2%, respectively.

Revenue in Consumer Payments segment

For the year ended December 31, 2019, the $16.4 million decrease in Consumer Payments revenue was primarily attributable to a decrease in revenue of $51.9 million from certain subscription-billing e-commerce merchants, largely offset by revenue resulting from the overall increases in merchant bankcard processing dollar value and merchant bankcard transactions of 11.6% and 9.9%, respectively, compared to the year ended December 31, 2018. The higher merchant bankcard processing dollar value and transaction volume in 2019 were mainly due to the continuation of higher consumer spending trends in 2019 and positive net onboarding of new merchants. Additionally, the average dollar amount per bankcard transaction increased to $82.65, or 1.5%, in 2019 from $81.39 in 2018.

Our revenue in the Consumer Payments segment for the year ended December 31, 2019 was negatively affected by the closure of high-margin accounts with certain subscription-billing e-commerce merchants. The closure of merchants in this channel was due to industry-wide changes for enhanced card association compliance. This revenue was $7.4 million and $59.3 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

Revenue in Commercial Payments segment
 
For the year ended December 31, 2019, the $1.1 million decrease in Commercial Payments revenue was attributable to a $2.3 million decrease in revenue from our curated managed services program, partially offset by a $1.2 million increase in revenue from our accounts payable automated solutions. The managed services decline was largely driven by lower incentive revenue and the accounts payable automated solutions increase was driven by customer additions and higher merchant bankcard processing dollar value.

Revenue in Integrated Partners segment
For the year ended December 31, 2019, the $13.5 million increase in our Integrated Partners revenue was due primarily to a $12.3 million increase in revenue from PRET. PRET's revenue growth included $11.7 million from a March 2019 asset acquisition. Revenue from PayRight and PHOT, which commenced operations in April 2018 and February 2019, respectively, comprised the remainder of this reportable segment’s $1.2 million revenue growth.


Consolidated Operating Expenses
 
Our consolidated operating expenses for the year ended December 31, 2019 of $364.7 million increased by $5.2 million, or 1.5%, from consolidated operating expenses for the year ended December 31, 2018 of $359.4 million. This overall increase was driven primarily by a $19.4 million, or 98.0%, increase in amortization and depreciation expense related to asset acquisitions that occurred in late 2018 and 2019. Consolidated salary and employee benefits increased $3.9 million, or 10.2%, related to increases in corporate and operations headcount and higher headcount from business and asset acquisitions in 2019 and 2018, as well as a $2.0 million increase in non-cash stock-based compensation in 2019 compared to 2018. These increases were partially offset by a $16.7 million, or 6.2%, decrease in consolidated costs of services in correlation with lower revenues in 2019 and due to lower residual expenses in 2019 resulting from buyouts of residual commission rights in 2019 and 2018. Consolidated selling, general, and administrative expenses decreased by $1.3 million, or 4.0%, driven by a decrease in certain
42


expenses management considers to be non-recurring in nature related to transaction costs associated with the Business Combination and conversion to a public company, such as legal, accounting and other advisory and consulting expenses. These expenses were $8.3 million and $12.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

 
Income (Loss) from Operations
 
Consolidated income from operations

Consolidated income from operations decreased $9.2 million, or 56.2%, for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018. Our consolidated operating margin for year ended December 31, 2019 was 1.9% compared to 4.4% for the year ended December 31, 2018. The consolidated margin decrease was the result of higher depreciation and amortization expense of $19.4 million and a $3.9 million increase in salaries and employee benefits, partially offset by lower costs of services of $16.7 million and a $1.3 million decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses.

Income from operations in Consumer Payments segment

Our Consumer Payments reportable segment earned $32.2 million in income from operations for the year ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of $14.8 million, or 31.4%, from $47.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. This decrease largely reflected the increase in depreciation and amortization expense of $14.9 million in 2019 related to asset acquisitions that occurred in late 2018 and 2019. The loss of certain subscription-billing e-commerce merchants in 2019 due to industry-wide changes for enhanced card association compliance, which contributed $3.5 million and $21.3 million of income from operations in the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively, was largely offset by income resulting from the growth in merchant bankcard processing dollar value and transaction volume.

Loss from operations in Commercial Payments segment

Our Commercial Payments reportable segment incurred a $0.9 million loss from operations for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to a $1.0 million loss from operations for the year ended December 31, 2018. This improvement was driven by a $0.6 million increase in revenue, net of costs of services, partially offset by increases in salaries and employee benefits and selling, general and administrative expenses, which included a $0.5 million allowance for uncollectible receivables in 2019 which were substantially recovered in 2020.

Income (loss) from operations in Integrated Partners segment

Our Integrated Partners segment earned income from operations of $0.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to a loss from operations of $2.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. This increase in income from operations in 2019 was due primarily to a 2019 asset acquisition, which included $4.0 million of increased depreciation expense and $2.9 million of transitional acquisition integration costs.

Corporate Expense

Corporate expenses were $24.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of $2.8 million, or 10.1%, over expenses of $27.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. This decrease was driven primarily by a $6.4 million decrease in certain expenses management considers to be non-recurring in nature that were associated with our Business Combination, conversion to a public company, and certain legal matters. These expenses were $6.0 million and $12.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

 
Interest Expense

Consolidated interest expense, including amortization of deferred debt issuance costs and discounts, increased by $10.7 million, or 35.8%, to $40.7 million in 2019 from $29.9 million in 2018. This increase was primarily due to higher debt obligations in 2019 driven by acquisition-related borrowings.

43



Other, net
 
Other, net increased $7.5 million from a net expense of $6.8 million in the year ended December 31, 2018 to net income of $0.7 million in the year ended December 31, 2019. The 2018 amount included $3.5 million expense from the change in fair value of a prior warrant liability and $3.3 million of debt modification and other net costs.


Income Tax Expense (Benefit)
 
We became part of a C-Corporation reporting tax group on July 25, 2018 in connection with the Business Combination. On July 25, 2018, we recognized a net deferred income tax asset of $47.5 million, which also resulted in a credit to our additional paid-in capital within our consolidated stockholders' deficit. The net deferred tax asset is the result of the difference between the initial tax bases in the assets and liabilities and their respective carrying amounts for financial statement purposes.

For the year ended December 31, 2019, our consolidated income tax expense was $0.8 million, resulting in an effective consolidated income tax benefit rate of 2.5%. See Note 11, Income Taxes, to our consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of the Annual Report on Form 10-K.

For the year ended December 31, 2018, our consolidated income tax benefit was $2.5 million, resulting in an effective consolidated income tax rate of 12.5%. This income tax benefit was based on the pre-tax loss incurred after July 25, 2018. On a pro-forma basis assuming C-Corporation status for the full year 2018, our income tax benefit would have been $3.2 million, resulting in a pro-forma effective income tax rate of 15.6%. Our annualized pro-forma effective income tax rate for 2018 was less than the statutory rate due to timing and permanent differences between amounts calculated under GAAP and the tax code.


Net loss
 
Our consolidated net loss for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $33.6 million compared to a net loss of $17.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 for the aforementioned reasons.


Liquidity and Capital Resources
 
Liquidity and capital resource management is a process focused on providing the funding we need to meet our short-term and long-term cash and working capital needs. We have used our funding sources to build our merchant portfolio, technology solutions, and to make acquisitions with the expectation that such investments will generate cash flows sufficient to cover our working capital needs and other anticipated needs, including for our acquisition strategy. We anticipate that cash on hand, funds generated from operations and available borrowings under our revolving credit agreement are sufficient to meet our working capital requirements for at least the next twelve months.

Our principal uses of cash are to fund business operations, administrative costs, and debt service.
 
Our working capital, defined as current assets less current liabilities, was a negative $13.0 million at December 31, 2020 and a positive $1.2 million at December 31, 2019. As of December 31, 2020, we had cash totaling $9.2 million compared to $3.2 million at December 31, 2019. These cash balances do not include restricted cash of $78.9 million and $47.2 million at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, which reflects cash accounts holding customer settlement funds and cash reserves for potential losses at December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019. The current portion of long-term debt included in current liabilities was $19.4 million at December 31, 2020 compared with $4.0 million at December 31, 2019.

At December 31, 2020, we had availability of approximately $25.0 million under our revolving credit arrangement.
 
The following tables and narrative reflect our changes in cash flows for the comparative annual periods.

Year Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2019
44


Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)20202019
 
Net cash provided by (used in): 
Operating activities$47,072 $39,364 
Investing activities166,396 (97,747)
Financing activities(175,813)75,017 
Net increase in cash and restricted cash$37,655 $16,634 


Cash Provided by Operating Activities

Net cash provided by operating activities, which includes restricted cash, was $47.1 million and $39.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The $7.7 million, or 19.6%, increase in 2020 was principally the result of an increase in restricted cash balances, as well as an increase in cash generated from operations, partially offset by changes in assets and liabilities and the payment of $5.4 million of transaction costs related to the sale of the RentPayment business in 2020.


Cash Provided by (Used in) Investing Activities
 
Net cash provided by investing activities was $166.4 million compared to cash used of $97.7 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Cash used in investing activities includes cash for the acquisitions of merchant portfolios, residual buyouts, and purchases of property, equipment and software. For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we invested $5.6 million and $82.9 million, respectively, in merchant portfolios and residual buyouts. Cash used for purchases of property, equipment, and software for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $7.5 million compared to $11.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. For 2020, cash used for investing activities was offset by cash received of $179.4 million from the sale of the RentPayment business. See Note 2, Disposal of Business, in Item 8 of the Annual report on Form 10-K.


Cash (Used in) Provided by Financing Activities
 
Net cash used in financing activities was $175.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to cash provided of $75.0 million in the year ended December 31, 2019. The amount for 2020 included $110.5 million in principal repayments on the term facility for our Senior Credit Agreement, $51.1 million of cash payments to the non-controlling interests of PRET and PHOT, and repayment of the revolving facility under our Senior Credit Agreement. The amount for 2019 included net borrowings under our Senior Credit Agreement consisting of $11.5 million under the revolving facility and a $69.7 million delayed draw under the term facility that was used to acquire certain assets from YapStone, Inc. in March 2019.
 
Year Ended December 31, 2019 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2018
 
Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)20192018
 
Net cash provided by (used in):  
Operating activities$39,364 $31,348 
Investing activities(97,747)(108,928)
Financing activities75,017 67,252 
Net increase (decrease) in cash and restricted cash$16,634 $(10,328)


45


Cash Provided by Operating Activities

Net cash provided by operating activities was $39.4 million and $31.3 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. The $8.0 million, or 25.6%, increase in 2019 was principally the result of increases in restricted cash balances and cash generated from operations, partially offset by changes in assets and liabilities in 2019.


Cash Used in Investing Activities
 
Net cash used in investing activities was $97.7 million and $108.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Cash flow used in investing activities includes the acquisitions of merchant portfolios, residual buyouts, purchases of property, equipment and software, and acquisitions of businesses. For the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, we invested $82.9 million and $90.9 million, respectively, in merchant portfolios and residual buyouts. We used $0.2 million for business acquisitions for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to $7.5 million in 2018. Cash used for purchases of property, equipment, and software for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $11.1 million, an increase of $0.6 million from the year ended December 31, 2018. The increase in purchases was driven primarily by capitalization of internally developed software.


Cash Provided by Financing Activities
 
Net cash provided by financing activities was $75.0 million in the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $67.3 million in 2018. Cash flows from financing activities for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 resulted primarily from proceeds received from additional borrowings under our term debt in and revolving credit facility. Proceeds received in 2018 also included cash received from the Business Combination and equity recapitalization.

Long-Term Debt
 
As of December 31, 2020, we had outstanding long-term debt, excluding amounts outstanding under the revolving credit facility, of $382.0 million compared to $484.0 million at December 31, 2019, a decrease of $101.9 million. The debt balance consisted of outstanding term debt of $279.4 million under the Senior Credit Facility and $102.6 million in term debt under the Subordinated Credit and Guaranty Agreement with Goldman Sachs Specialty Lending Group, L.P. (the "GS Credit Facility") including accrued payment-in-kind ("PIK") interest through December 31, 2020. Additionally, under the Senior Credit Facility, we have a $25.0 million revolving credit facility, which had $11.5 million drawn and outstanding as of December 31, 2019. There were no such amounts outstanding as of December 31, 2020. The outstanding principal amounts under the Senior Credit Facility and the Subordinated GS Credit Facility mature in January 2023 and July 2023, respectively. The $25 million revolving credit facility expires in January 2022.

The Senior Credit Facility and the subordinated GS Credit Facility are secured by substantially all of our assets, however, the parent entity, Priority Technology Holdings, Inc., is neither a borrower nor guarantor to the Senior Credit Facility or the GS Credit Facility.

On March 18, 2020, we modified the Senior Credit Agreement and the GS Credit Amendment (collectively, the "Sixth Amendment"). As of December 31, 2020, financial covenants, as amended, under the Senior Credit Facility required the Total Net Leverage Ratio, as defined in the agreement, not to exceed 7.75:1.00 at December 31, 2020. The Total Net Leverage Ratio steps down thereafter.

As of December 31, 2020, we were in compliance with our financial covenants. Noncompliance in the future could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition, including giving the lenders the right to accelerate the debt repayment schedule and restricting access to the revolving credit facility. Based upon current projections, the Company expects to be in compliance with its debt covenants for at least the foreseeable future. For additional information about the risks associated with our debt agreements and related covenants, refer to the "Risk Factors Related to Our Indebtedness" in Item 1A, Risk Factors, in Part I of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
46



Total Net Leverage Ratio, Consolidated Total Debt, and Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA are defined in Section 1.01 of Exhibit A to the Sixth Amendment (incorporated Exhibits 10.3.4 and 10.4.4 to this Annual Report on Form 10-K) and summarized below:

The Total Net Leverage Ratio means, at any date of determination, the ratio of Consolidated Total Debt for such date, to Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA.

Consolidated Total Debt is the aggregate principal amount of indebtedness minus the aggregate amount of unrestricted cash at the balance sheet date.

Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA is consolidated net income plus any applicable items determined in accordance with clauses (i)(b) through (i)(v) of the Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA definition, minus any applicable items determined in accordance with clauses (ii)(a) through (ii)(g) of the Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA definition in Section 1.01 of the Sixth Amendment ("Applicable Adjustments").

Under the provisions of the Sixth Amendment, calculation of Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA at each interim quarterly measurement period in 2020 is determined as the current year-to-date Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA annualized. For interim quarterly and full year measurement periods commencing in January 2021, calculation of Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA is determined on a last twelve months basis.

Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP liquidity measure. For determining the Total Net Leverage Ratio at December 31, 2020, Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA was calculated as follows in accordance with the referenced clause definitions from Section 1.01 of the Sixth Amendment:


47


(in thousands)
Year Ended December 31, 2020
Consolidated Net Income Attributable to Stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. (GAAP)$25,661 
Applicable Adjustments:
Gain on sale of business, less amounts attributable and paid to NCIs (clause (ii)(c))(62,091)
Interest expense (clause (i)(b))44,839 
Depreciation and amortization (clause (i)(d) and (i)(e))40,775 
Income tax expense (clause (i)(c))10,899 
Non-cash share-based compensation (clause (i)(j))2,430 
Acquisition transition services (clause (i)(k))2,628 
Debt extinguishment and modification expenses (clause (i)(f) and (i)(h))1,899 
Impairment of intangible asset (clause (i)(f))1,753 
Provision for allowance for note receivable (clause (i)(f))467 
Change in fair value of contingent consideration for business combinations (clause (ii)(a))(360)
Write-off of equity-method investment (clause (i)(f))211 
Certain legal fees and expenses (clause (i)(m))1,796 
Litigation recoveries (clause (i)(k))(719)
Professional, accounting and consulting fees (clause (i)(k))145 
Other professional and consulting fees (clause (i)(h))1,500 
Other adjustments (clause (i)(k))161 
Pro forma impact of disposal(8,221)
Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA (non-GAAP)$63,773 


At December 31, 2020, the Total Net Leverage Ratio was 5.85:1.00, calculated as follows:

(in thousands, except ratio)
December 31, 2020
Consolidated Total Debt:
Current portion of long-term debt$19,442 
Long-term debt, net of discounts and deferred financing costs357,873 
Unamortized debt discounts and deferred financing costs4,725 
382,040 
Less unrestricted cash(9,241)
Consolidated Net Debt$372,799 
Total Net Leverage Ratio5.85 x




48


Contractual Obligations

The following table sets forth our contractual obligations and commitments for the periods indicated as of December 31, 2020.
 
(in thousands)Payments Due by Period
Contractual ObligationsTotal Less than
1 year
1 to 3 years3 to 5 YearsMore than
5 years
 
Operating leases$9,168  $1,356 $2,663 $2,761 $2,388 
Debt principal (a)382,040  19,442 362,598 — — 
Interest on debt (b)74,026 25,683 48,343 — — 
Contingent consideration (c)2,133 2,133 — — — 
Processing minimums (d)7,000  7,000 — — — 
 $474,367  $55,614 $413,604 $2,761 $2,388 
 
(a) Reflects contractual principal payments on term debt outstanding at December 31, 2020 and excludes any amount for the revolving credit facility which had no outstanding balance at December 31, 2020. Does not include future "payment-in-kind" ("PIK") interest that will be added to the principal outstanding for the GS Credit Facility as this interest is included in Interest on debt in (b). See Note 10, Long-Term Debt and Warrant Liability.

(b) Reflects interest payable and future PIK interest on term debt under the Senior Credit Facility and the subordinated GS Credit Facility. Amounts based on outstanding balances and interest rates as of December 31, 2020. Does not include any interest that may be payable in the future for the revolving credit facility which had no outstanding borrowings at December 31, 2020. See Note 10, Long-Term Debt and Warrant Liability.

(c) Reflects amount accrued for earned contingent consideration for asset acquisition. See Note 4, Asset Acquisitions, Asset Contributions, and Business Combinations.

(d) Reflects minimum annual spend commitments with third-party processor partners. In the event we fail to meet the minimum annual spend commitment, we are required to pay the difference between the minimum and the actual dollar amount spent in the year. See Note 12, Commitments and Contingencies.

Based on outstanding principal balances, including PIK interest, at December 31, 2020 approximately 73% of the Borrowers' $382 million of term debt matures in January 2023 and approximately 27% matures in July 2023. Based on current market conditions and the financial conditions and forecasts of the entities and guarantors that compose the Borrowers, we currently believe the term debt can be refinanced on or before the maturity dates at amounts and terms that are similar or favorable to those existing at December 31, 2020.

On March 5, 2021, we entered into a debt commitment letter with Truist Bank and Truist Securities, Inc., pursuant to which Truist has committed to provide Priority with a new Term Loan Facility and Revolving Credit Facility, which will replace existing Senior Loan facilities. Also, on March 5, 2021, the Company entered into a preferred stock commitment letter with Ares Capital Management LLC and Ares Alternative Credit Management LLC to issue preferred stock, the proceeds of which will be partially used to repay our Subordinated Debt Facility. See Note 21, Subsequent Events, to the consolidated financial statements, for additional information.


Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
 
We have not entered into any transactions with third parties or unconsolidated entities whereby we have financial guarantees, subordinated retained interest, derivative instruments, or other contingent arrangements that expose us to material continuing risks, contingent liabilities or other obligations.
49



 
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
 
Our accounting policies are more fully described in Note 1, Nature of Business and Accounting Policies. The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions about future events that affect the amounts reported in the financial statements and accompanying notes. Actual results could differ significantly from those estimates. We believe that the following discussion addresses our most critical accounting policies, which are those that are most important to the portrayal of our financial condition and results of operations and require management's most difficult, subjective, and complex judgments.

Revenue Recognition

We adopted the provisions of ASC 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, effective for the annual reporting period ended December 31, 2019. We used the full retrospective adoption and transition method, and accordingly, all periods presented in this Form 10-K reflect the provisions of ASC 606.

Under the provisions of ASC 606, we recognize revenue when we satisfy a performance obligation by transferring a service or good to the customer in an amount to which we expect to be entitled (i.e., transaction price) allocated to the distinct or services or goods.

At contract inception, we assess the services and goods promised in our contracts with customers and identify the performance obligation for each promise to transfer to the customer a service or good that is distinct. For substantially all of our services, the nature of our promise to the customer is to stand ready to accept and process the transactions that customers request on a daily basis over the contract term. Since the timing and quantity of transactions to be processed is not determinable, the services comprise an obligation to stand ready to process as many transactions as the customer requires. Under a stand-ready obligation, the evaluation of the nature of our performance obligation is focused on each time increment rather than the underlying activities. Therefore, we have determined that our services comprise a series of distinct days of service that are substantially the same and have the same pattern of transfer to the customer. Accordingly, the promise to stand ready is accounted for as a single-series performance obligation.

When third parties are involved in the transfer of services or goods to the customer, we consider the nature of each specific promised service or good and applies judgment to determine whether we control the service or good before it is transferred to the customer or whether we are acting as an agent of the third party. We follow the requirements of ASC 606-10, Principal Agent Considerations, which states that the determination of whether an entity should recognize revenue based on the gross amount billed to a customer or the net amount retained is a matter of judgment that depends on the facts and circumstances of the arrangement. To determine whether or not we control the service or good, we assess indicators including: 1) whether we or the third party is primarily responsible for fulfillment; 2) if we or the third party provides a significant service of integrating two or more services or goods into a combined item that is a service or good that the customer contracted to receive; 3) which party has discretion in determining pricing for the service or good; and 4) other considerations deemed to be applicable to the specific situation.

Income Taxes

We account for income taxes under the asset and liability method. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined based on differences between financial reporting and tax bases of assets and liabilities and are measured using enacted tax rates and laws that are expected to be in effect when the differences are expected to be recovered or settled. Realization of deferred tax assets is dependent upon future taxable income. A valuation allowance is recognized if it is more likely than not that some portion or all of a deferred tax asset will not be realized based on the weight of available evidence, including expected future earnings.
 
We recognize an uncertain tax position in our financial statements when we conclude that a tax position is more likely than not to be sustained upon examination based solely on its technical merits. Only after a tax position passes the first step of recognition will measurement be required. Under the measurement step, the tax benefit is measured as the largest amount of
50


benefit that is more likely than not to be realized upon effective settlement. This is determined on a cumulative probability basis. The full impact of any change in recognition or measurement is reflected in the period in which such change occurs. Interest and penalties related to income taxes are recognized in the provision for income taxes.
 
Goodwill and Long-Lived Assets
 
We test goodwill for impairment for each of our reporting units on an annual basis or when events occur, or circumstances indicate the fair value of a reporting may be below its carrying value. We may perform a quantitative assessment that uses market data and discounted cash flow analysis, which involve estimates of future revenues and operating cash flows. Where deemed appropriate, we may perform the annual assessment using the optional qualitative method. Effective for the annual reporting period ending December 31, 2020, we voluntarily changed the date for our annual goodwill impairment assessment from November 30 to October 1.  Both dates occur in our fourth quarter.  We believe this prospective change does not represent a material change to a method of applying an accounting principle, even though the carrying value of goodwill is material to our consolidated financial statements. This change had no effect on our results of operations, financial condition, or cash flows for any reporting period. By using the October 1 annual assessment date, we believe that we will be able to utilize more readily available data from both internal and external sources and have additional time to evaluate the data prior to finalizing our year-end consolidated financial statements and disclosures. This change in the date for the annual impairment assessment for goodwill does not change our requirements to assess goodwill on an interim date between scheduled annual testing dates if triggering events are present.
 
We review our long-lived assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. For long-lived assets, except goodwill, an impairment loss is indicated when the undiscounted future cash flows estimated to be generated by the asset group are not sufficient to recover the unamortized balance of the asset group.

We amortize the cost of our acquired intangible assets over their estimated useful lives using either a straight-line or an accelerated method that most accurately reflects the estimated pattern in which the economic benefits of the respective asset is consumed.
 

Potential Impacts of Recently Issued Accounting Standards

For the potential impacts that pending adoptions of recently issued accounting standards may have on our future financial position, results of operations, or cash flows, see Note 1, Nature of Business and Accounting Policies, under the header "Recently Issued Standards Not Yet Adopted."


ITEM 7A. QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE DISCLOSURE ABOUT MARKET RISK


Interest rate risk
 
Our Senior Credit Facility bears interest at a variable rate based on LIBOR (with a LIBOR "floor" of 1.0% beginning March 8, 2020) plus a fixed margin. As of December 31, 2020, we had $279.4 million in outstanding borrowings under our Senior Credit Facility. Ignoring the 1.0% LIBOR floor, a hypothetical 1% increase or decrease in the applicable LIBOR rate on our outstanding indebtedness under the Senior Credit Facility would have increased or decreased cash interest expense on our indebtedness by approximately $2.8 million per annum.
 
We do not currently hedge against interest rate risk.

51



ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA


PRIORITY TECHNOLOGY HOLDINGS, INC.
INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
52



Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Stockholders and Board of Directors of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.

Opinion on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheet of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. (“the Company”) as of December 31, 2020, the related consolidated statements of operations, stockholders' deficit and cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2020, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company at December 31, 2020, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2020, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.

Basis for Opinion

These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s financial statements based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audit we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company's internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.

Our audit included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audit also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

/s/ Ernst & Young LLP

We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2020.

Atlanta, Georgia
March 31, 2021

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REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM


To the Stockholders and Board of Directors of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. and Subsidiaries

Opinion on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheet of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. and Subsidiaries (the "Company") as of December 31, 2019, the related consolidated statements of operations, changes in stockholders' deficit and cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2019, and the related notes to the consolidated financial statements (collectively, the financial statements). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2019, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2019, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

Basis for Opinion

These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company's financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.


/s/ RSM US LLP

We served as the Company's auditor from November 20, 2014 to June 5, 2020.


Atlanta, Georgia
March 30, 2020
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Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.
Consolidated Balance Sheets
As of December 31, 2020 and 2019
(in thousands, except share and per share amounts)
December 31, 2020December 31, 2019
ASSETS
Current assets:
Cash$9,241 $3,234 
Restricted cash78,879 47,231 
Accounts receivable, net of allowances of $574 and $803, respectively41,321 37,993 
Prepaid expenses and other current assets3,500 3,897 
Current portion of notes receivable, net of allowances of $467 and $0, respectively2,190 1,326 
Settlement assets753 533 
Total current assets135,884 94,214 
Notes receivable, less current portion5,527 4,395 
Property, equipment and software, net22,875 23,518 
Goodwill106,832 109,515 
Intangible assets, net98,057 182,826 
Deferred income tax assets, net46,697 49,657 
Other non-current assets1,957 380 
Total assets$417,829 $464,505 
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' DEFICIT
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable and accrued expenses$29,821 $26,965 
Accrued residual commissions23,824 19,315 
Customer deposits and advance payments2,883 4,928 
Current portion of long-term debt19,442 4,007 
Settlement obligations72,878 37,789 
Total current liabilities148,848 93,004 
Long-term debt, net of current portion, discounts and deferred financing costs357,873 485,578 
Other non-current liabilities9,672 6,612 
Total non-current liabilities367,545 492,190 
Total liabilities516,393 585,194 
Commitments and contingencies00
Stockholders' deficit:
Preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share; 100,000,000 authorized; 0 shares issued and outstanding at December 31, 2020 and 2019.
Common stock, par value of $0.001 per share; 1.0 billion shares authorized; 67,842,204 shares issued and 67,390,980 shares outstanding at December 31, 2020; and 67,512,167 shares issued and 67,060,943 shares outstanding at December 31, 2019.6868 
Additional paid-in capital5,769 3,651 
Treasury stock, at cost (451,224 shares)(2,388)(2,388)
Accumulated deficit(102,013)(127,674)
Total deficit attributable to stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.(98,564)(126,343)
Non-controlling interest5,654 
Total stockholders' deficit(98,564)(120,689)
Total liabilities and stockholders' deficit$417,829 $464,505 
55

Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Operations
For the Years Ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018
(in thousands, except per share amounts)Year Ended December 31,
202020192018
REVENUES$404,342$371,854 $375,822 
OPERATING EXPENSES:
Costs of services277,374252,569 269,284 
Salary and employee benefits39,50742,214 38,324 
Depreciation and amortization40,77539,092 19,740 
Selling, general and administrative25,82530,795 32,081 
Total operating expenses383,481364,670 359,429 
Income from operations20,8617,184 16,393 
OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE):
Interest expense(44,839)(40,653)(29,935)
Debt extinguishment and modification expenses(1,899)(2,043)
Gain on sale of business, net107,239
Other income (expense), net596710 (4,741)
Total other income (expenses), net61,097(39,943)(36,719)
Income (loss) before income taxes81,958(32,759)(20,326)
Income tax expense (benefit)10,899830 (2,490)
Net income (loss)71,059 (33,589)(17,836)
Less income attributable to redeemable and redeemed non-controlling interests(45,398)
Net income (loss) attributable to stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.$25,661 $(33,589)$(17,836)
Income (loss) per common share for stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.:
Basic$0.38$(0.50)$(0.29)
Diluted$0.38$(0.50)$(0.29)
Weighted-average common shares outstanding:
Basic67,15867,086 61,607 
Diluted67,26367,086 61,607 
PRO FORMA (C-corporation basis):
Pro forma income tax benefit (unaudited)$(3,169)
Pro forma net loss (unaudited)$(17,157)
Loss per common share: basic and diluted (unaudited)$(0.28)

56

Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Changes in Stockholders' Deficit
For the Years Ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018
Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)202020192018
Preferred Stock shares
Preferred Stock amount$$$
Common Stock shares outstanding:
Beginning balance67,061 67,038 73,110 
Member redemptions(12,565)
Pro-rata adjustments and forfeitures(724)
Conversion of MI Acquisitions, Inc. shares6,667 
Founders' Shares(175)
Vesting of share-based compensation330 54 250 
Common stock issued for business combinations475 
Warrant redemptions420 
Shares repurchased(451)
Ending balance67,391 67,061 67,038 
Common Stock amounts outstanding:
Beginning balance$68 $67 $73 
Member redemptions(13)
Conversion of MI Acquisitions, Inc. shares
Vesting of share-based compensation(a)(a)
Warrant redemptions— (a)— 
Ending balance$68 $68 $67 
Treasury Stock shares:
Beginning balance451
Repurchases of common stock451 
Ending balance451451 
Treasury Stock amounts:
Beginning balance$(2,388)$$
Repurchases of common stock(2,388)
Ending balance$(2,388)$(2,388)$0 
Additional Paid-In Capital:
Beginning balance$3,651 $$
Distributions to members(7,075)
Member redemptions(36,548)
Equity-classified share-based compensation2,118 3,652 1,063 
Vesting of share-based compensation(a)(1)
Conversion of MI Acquisitions, Inc. shares49,382 
Founders' Shares(2,118)
Recapitalization costs(9,704)
Common stock issued for business combinations5,000 
Ending balance$5,769 $3,651 $0 





57

Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Changes in Stockholders' Deficit, continued
For the Years Ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018
Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)202020192018
Accumulated Deficit:
Beginning balance$(127,674)$(94,085)$(95,978)
Member redemptions(28,342)
Net deferred income tax asset related to loss of partnership status47,485 
Equity-classified shared-based compensation586 
Net income (loss) attributable to stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.25,661 (33,589)(17,836)
Ending balance$(102,013)$(127,674)$(94,085)
Non-Controlling Interests (NCIs):
Beginning balance$5,654 $$
Issuance of NCI in subsidiary5,654 
Redemption of NCI in subsidiary(5,654)
Earnings attributable to redeemable and redeemed NCIs45,398 
Earnings distributed to redeemable and redeemed NCIs(45,398)
Ending balance$0 $5,654 $0 
Deficit attributable to stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.$(98,564)$(126,343)$(94,018)
NCIs5,654 
Total stockholders' deficit balance$(98,564)$(120,689)$(94,018)

(a) Rounds to less than one thousand dollars.



58

Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
For the Years Ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018
Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)202020192018
Cash flows from operating activities: 
Net income (loss)$71,059 $(33,589)$(17,836)
Adjustments to reconcile net income (loss) to net cash provided by operating activities:
Gain recognized on sale of business(107,239)
Transaction costs for sale of business(5,383)
Depreciation and amortization of assets40,775 39,092 19,740 
Equity-classified and liability-classified share-based compensation2,430 3,652 1,649 
Amortization of debt issuance costs and discounts2,396 1,667 1,418 
Equity in losses and impairment of unconsolidated entities211 23 865 
Deferred income tax expense (benefit)5,905 (8,537)(2,871)
Change in allowance for deferred tax assets(2,945)9,302 (66)
Change in fair value of warrant liability, net3,458 
Change in fair value of contingent consideration(360)(620)
Write-off of deferred loan costs and discount1,523 
Payment-in-kind interest8,573 5,126 4,897 
Impairment charges for intangible asset1,753 
Other non-cash items, net233 (831)211 
Change in operating assets and liabilities (net of business combinations and disposal):
     Accounts receivable(5,160)(1,736)8,180 
     Settlement assets and obligations, net34,870 27,284 6,016 
     Prepaid expenses and other current assets65 (1,230)171 
     Notes receivable(2,230)(390)4,862 
Customer deposits and advance payments(2,045)1,646 (1,571)
     Accounts payable and other accrued liabilities1,343 (1,061)1,531 
     Other assets and liabilities, net1,298 (434)694 
Net cash provided by operating activities47,072 39,364 31,348 
Cash flows from investing activities: 
Sale of business179,416 
Acquisitions of businesses(7,508)
Additions to property, equipment and software(7,461)(11,118)(10,562)
Notes receivable loan funding(3,500)
Acquisitions of intangible assets(5,559)(82,945)(90,858)
Other investing activity(184)
Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities166,396 (97,747)(108,928)
59

Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows, continued
For the Years Ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018
Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)202020192018
Cash flows from financing activities: 
Proceeds from issuance of long-term debt, net of issue discount69,650 126,813 
Repayments of long-term debt(110,507)(3,828)(2,834)
Profit distributions to non-controlling interests of subsidiaries(45,398)
Redemption of non-controlling interest in subsidiary(5,654)
Borrowings under revolving line of credit7,000 14,000 8,000 
Repayments of borrowings under revolving line of credit(18,505)(2,500)(8,000)
Debt issuance and modification costs (paid) refunded(2,749)83 (425)
Repurchases of common stock(2,388)
Distributions from equity(7,075)
Redemptions of equity interests(76,211)
Recapitalization proceeds49,389 
Redemption of warrants(12,701)
Recapitalization costs(9,704)
Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities(175,813)75,017 67,252 
Net increase (decrease) in cash and restricted cash37,655 16,634 (10,328)
Cash and restricted cash at beginning of year50,465 33,831 44,159 
Cash and restricted cash at end of year$88,120 $50,465 $33,831 
Reconciliation of cash and restricted cash:
Cash$9,241 $3,234 $15,631 
Restricted cash78,879 47,231 18,200 
Total cash and restricted cash$88,120 $50,465 $33,831 
Supplemental cash flow information: 
Cash paid for interest$33,433 $33,091 $23,350 
Cash paid for income taxes, net of refunds$8,370 $$
Recognition of initial net deferred income tax asset$$$47,478 
Non-cash investing and financing activities:
Payment-in-kind interest added to principal of debt obligations$8,573 $5,126 $4,897 
Purchases of property, equipment and software through accounts payable$$23 $50 
Payment of accrued contingent consideration for asset acquisition from offset of accounts receivable from same entity$1,686 $$
Intangible assets acquired by issuing non-controlling interest in a subsidiary$$5,654 $
Accruals for asset acquisition contingent consideration$8,332 $2,133 $
Notes receivable from sellers used as partial consideration for business acquisitions$$$560 
Common stock issued as partial consideration in business acquisitions in Consumer Payments segment$$$5,000 
Cash consideration payable for business acquisition$$$184 

60




NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

1.    NATURE OF BUSINESS AND ACCOUNTING POLICIES


The Business

Headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. and subsidiaries (together, the "Company") began operations in 2005 with a mission to build a merchant inspired payments platform that would advance the goals of its customers and partners. Today, the Company is a leading provider of merchant acquiring and commercial payment solutions, offering unique product capabilities to small and medium size businesses ("SMBs") and enterprises and distribution partners in the United States. The Company operates from a purpose-built business platform that includes tailored customer service offerings and bespoke technology development, allowing the Company to provide end-to-end solutions for payment and payment-adjacent needs.

The Company provides:

Consumer payments processing solutions for business-to-consumer ("B2C") transactions through independent sales organizations ("ISOs"), financial institutions, independent software vendors ("ISVs"), and other referral partners. Our proprietary MX platform for B2C payments provides merchants a fully customizable suite of business management solutions.
Commercial payments solutions such as automated vendor payments and professionally curated managed services to industry leading financial institutions and networks. Our proprietary business-to-business ("B2B") Commercial Payment Exchange (CPX) platform was developed to be a best-in-class solution for buyer/supplier payment enablement.
Institutional services (also known as Managed Services) solutions that provide audience-specific programs for institutional partners and other third parties looking to leverage the Company's professionally trained and managed call center teams for customer onboarding, assistance, and support, including marketing and direct-sales resources.
Integrated partners solutions for ISVs and other third-parties that allow them to leverage the Company's core payments engine via robust application program interfaces ("APIs") resources and high-utility embeddable code.
Consulting and development solutions focused on the increasing demand for integrated payments solutions for transitioning to the digital economy.

The Company provides its services through 3 reportable segments: (1) Consumer Payments, (2) Commercial Payments, and (3) Integrated Partners. For additional information about our reportable segments, see Note 18, Segment Information.

To provide many of its services, the Company enters into agreements with payment processors which in turn have agreements with multiple card associations. These card associations comprise an alliance aligned with insured financial institutions ("member banks") that work in conjunction with various local, state, territory, and federal government agencies to make the rules and guidelines regarding the use and acceptance of credit and debit cards. Card association rules require that vendors and processors be sponsored by a member bank and register with the card associations. The Company has multiple sponsorship bank agreements and is itself a registered ISO with Visa®. The Company is also a registered member service provider with MasterCard®. The Company's sponsorship agreements allow the capture and processing of electronic data in a format to allow such data to flow through networks for clearing and fund settlement of merchant transactions.

Corporate History and Recapitalization

MI Acquisitions, Inc. ("MI Acquisitions") was incorporated under the laws of the state of Delaware as a special purpose acquisition company ("SPAC") whose objective was to acquire, through a merger, share exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, recapitalization, reorganization or other similar business combination, one or more businesses or entities. MI Acquisitions completed an initial public offering ("IPO") in September 2016, and MI Acquisitions' common stock began trading on The Nasdaq Capital Market with the symbol MACQ. In addition, MI Acquisitions completed a private placement to
61


certain initial stockholders of MI Acquisitions. MI Acquisitions received gross proceeds of approximately $54.0 million from the IPO and private placement.

On July 25, 2018, MI Acquisitions acquired all of the outstanding member equity interests of Priority Holdings, LLC ("Priority") in exchange for the issuance of MI Acquisitions' common stock (the "Business Combination") from a private placement. As a result, Priority, which was previously a privately-owned company, became a wholly-owned subsidiary of MI Acquisitions. Simultaneously with the Business Combination, MI Acquisitions changed its name to Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. and its common stock began trading on The Nasdaq Global Market with the symbol PRTH.

As a SPAC, MI Acquisitions had substantially no business operations prior to July 25, 2018. For financial accounting and reporting purposes under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States ("U.S. GAAP"), the acquisition was accounted for as a "reverse merger," with no recognition of goodwill or other intangible assets. Under this method of accounting, MI Acquisitions was treated as the acquired entity whereby Priority was deemed to have issued common stock for the net assets and equity of MI Acquisitions consisting mainly of cash of $49.4 million, accompanied by a simultaneous equity recapitalization (the "Recapitalization") of Priority. The net assets of MI Acquisitions are stated at historical cost and, accordingly, the equity and net assets of the Company have not been adjusted to fair value. As of July 25, 2018, the consolidated financial statements of the Company include the combined operations, cash flows, and financial positions of both MI Acquisitions and Priority. Prior to July 25, 2018, the results of operations, cash flows, and financial position are those of Priority. The units and corresponding capital amounts and earnings per unit of Priority prior to the Recapitalization have been retroactively revised as shares reflecting the exchange ratio established in the Recapitalization.

The Company's President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman controls a majority of the voting power of the Company's outstanding common stock. As a result, the Company is a "controlled company" within the meaning of the corporate governance standards of the Nasdaq Stock Market, LLC ("Nasdaq").

Emerging Growth Company

The Company is an "emerging growth company" (EGC), as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 ("JOBS Act"). The Company may remain an EGC until December 31, 2021. However, if the Company's non-convertible debt issued within a rolling three-year period or if its revenue for any year exceeds $1.07 billion, the Company would cease to be an EGC immediately, or the market value of its common stock that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700.0 million on the last day of the second quarter of any given year, the Company would cease to be an EGC as of the beginning of the following year. As an EGC, the Company is not required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Additionally, the Company as an EGC may continue to elect to delay the adoption of any new or revised accounting standards that have different effective dates for public and private companies until those standards apply to private companies. As such, the Company's financial statements may not be comparable to companies that comply with public company effective dates.

Basis of Presentation and Consolidation

The accompanying consolidated financial statements include those of the Company and its controlled subsidiaries. All intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated upon consolidation. Investments in unconsolidated affiliated companies are accounted for under the equity method and are included in "Other non-current assets" in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets. The Company generally utilizes the equity method of accounting when it has an ownership interest of between 20% and 50% in an entity, provided the Company is able to exercise significant influence over the investee's operations.

Use of Estimates

The preparation of consolidated financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reported period. Actual results could materially differ from those estimates.


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Components of Revenues and Expenses

Revenues

See Note 3, Revenue, for information about our revenue.


Costs of Services

Costs of services primarily consist of residual payments to ISOs and other direct costs of providing payment services. The residual payments represent commissions paid to ISOs and are generally based upon a percentage of the net revenues generated from merchant transactions. Other costs of services consist of third-party costs related to the Company's commercial payment services, ACH processing services, salaries that are reimbursed under cost-plus business process outsourcing services, and the cost of equipment (point of sale terminals).
 
Selling, General and Administrative
 
Selling, general and administrative expenses include mainly professional services, advertising, rent, office supplies, software licenses, utilities, state and local franchise and sales taxes, litigation settlements, executive travel, insurance, and expenses related to the Business Combination.

Interest Expense
 
Interest expense consists of interest on outstanding debt and amortization of deferred financing costs and original issue discounts.

Other, net
 
Other, net is composed of interest income, changes in fair value of warrant liabilities, and equity in losses and impairment of unconsolidated entities. Interest income consists mainly of interest received pursuant to notes receivable from independent sales agents and another entity (see Note 6, Notes Receivable). Equity in loss and impairment of unconsolidated entities consists of the Company's share of the income or loss of its equity method investment as well as any impairment charges related to such investments. At December 31, 2020, the Company no longer has any investments that are accounted for under the equity method. Changes in fair value of warrant liability relates to a warrant that was fully redeemed in 2018.


Debt Extinguishment and Modification Expenses

Debt extinguishment expenses represents the write-offs of unamortized deferred financing costs and original issue discount relating to the extinguishment, including partial extinguishment, of debt. Debt modification expenses represents amounts paid to third parties to modify existing debt agreements when those amounts are not eligible for capitalization.


Earnings Attributable to Redeemable and Redeemed Non-Controlling Interests

Represents the earnings and gains that are attributable to the non-controlling equity interests of certain of the Company's consolidated subsidiaries based on the operating agreements of the subsidiaries. See the "Non-Controlling" section under the following header for "Significant Accounting Policies."


Net Income (Loss) Attributable to Stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.

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Represents the net income or loss attributable to the stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. after subtracting earnings, gains, or losses of consolidated subsidiaries that are attributable to the non-controlling equity interests of the subsidiaries.


Comprehensive Income (Loss)

Comprehensive income (loss) represents the sum of net income (loss) and other amounts that are not included in the consolidated statement of operations as the amounts have not been realized. For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, there were no differences between the Company's net income (loss) and comprehensive income (loss). Therefore, no separate Statements of Other Comprehensive Income (Loss) are included in the financial statements for the reporting periods.
 

Significant Accounting Policies

Revenue Recognition

The Company recognizes revenue when it satisfies a performance obligation by transferring a service or good to the customer in an amount to which the Company expects to be entitled (i.e., transaction price) allocated to the distinct services or goods.

The Company uses the 5-step model in ASC 606 to determine when and how much revenue to recognize:

Step 1 - Identify the contract with the customer

Step 2 - Identify the performance obligation

Step 3 - Determine the transaction price

Step 4 - Allocate the transaction price to the performance obligation

Step 5 - Recognize revenue when (or as) the Company satisfies the performance obligation


Instead of evaluating each contract with a customer on an individual basis, the Company elects the permitted practical expedient that allows it to use the portfolio approach for many of its contracts since this approach’s impact on the financial statements, when applied to a group of contracts (or performance obligations) with similar characteristics, is not materially different from the impact of applying the revenue standard on an individual contract basis. Under the portfolio practical expedient, collectability is still assessed at the individual contract level when determining if a contract exists.

Deferred revenues are not material for any reporting period.

The Company's reportable segments are organized by services the Company provides through distinct business units. Set forth below is a description of the Company's revenue recognition polices by segment.

Consumer Payments - Revenue in this segment represents merchant card fee revenues, which involves promises to the customer for services related to the electronic authorization, acceptance, processing, and settlement of credit, debit and electronic benefit payment transactions through the payment networks. Merchants, who are the Company’s customers, are charged rates which are based on various factors, including the type of bank card, card brand, merchant charge volume, the merchant's industry and the merchant's risk profile. Typically, revenues generated from these transactions are based on a variable percentage of the dollar amount of each transaction, and in some instances, additional fees are charged for each transaction. The Company's merchant contracts involve three parties: the Company, the merchant and the sponsoring bank. The Company's sponsoring banks collect the gross merchant discount from the card holder’s issuing bank, pay the interchange fees and assessments to the payment networks and credit card associations, retain their fees, and pay to the Company the remaining amount which represents the Company's revenue. The Company recognizes its revenue net of the amounts retained by these third parties. The
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Company incurs internal costs and costs of other third parties related to processing services. Merchant customers may also be charged miscellaneous fees, including statement fees, annual fees, and monthly minimum fees, fees for handling chargebacks, gateway fees and fees for other miscellaneous services.

Commercial Payments - This segment provides business-to-business ("B2B") automated payment services for customers, including virtual payments, purchase cards, electronic funds transfers, ACH payments, and check payments. Revenues are generally earned on a per-transaction basis and are recognized by the Company net of certain third-party costs for interchange fees, assessments to the payment networks, credit card associations, and sponsor bank fees. In this segment, a portion of the revenue is rebated to certain customers, and these rebates are reported as a reduction of revenue. Additionally, this segment provides outsourced business process services by providing a sales force to certain enterprise customers. Such business process services are provided on a cost-plus fee arrangement and revenue is recognized to the extent of billable rates times hours worked and other reimbursable costs incurred. For most performance obligations associated with outsourced services that are satisfied over time, the Company applies the permitted practical expedient known as the “invoice practical expedient” that allows the Company to recognize revenue in the amount of consideration to which the Company has the right to invoice when that amount corresponds directly to the value transferred to the customer.

Integrated Partners - The Integrated Partners segment earns revenue by providing services for payment-adjacent technologies that facilitate the acceptance of electronic payments from customers who conduct business in the rental real estate, rental storage, medical, and hospitality industries. A substantial portion of this segment’s revenues are earned as an agent of a third party, and therefore this earned revenue is reported as a net amount within revenue.

Cash and Restricted Cash

Cash includes cash held at financial institutions that is owned by the Company. Restricted cash is held by the Company in financial institutions for the purpose of in-process customer settlements or reserves held per contact terms.

Accounts Receivable

Accounts receivable are stated net of allowance for doubtful accounts and are amounts primarily due from the Company's sponsor banks for revenues earned, net of related interchange and processing fees, and do not bear interest. Other types of accounts receivable are from agents, merchants and other customers. Amounts due from sponsor banks are typically paid within 30 days following the end of each month.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts Receivable and Notes Receivable
 
The Company records an allowance for doubtful accounts and/or notes receivable when it is probable that the account receivable balance or the note receivable balance will not be collected, based upon loss trends and an analysis of individual accounts. Accounts receivable and notes receivable are written off when deemed uncollectible. Recoveries of accounts receivable and notes receivable, if any, previously written off are recognized when received. The allowance for doubtful accounts was $0.6 million and $0.8 million at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The allowance for doubtful notes receivable was $0.5 million and 0 at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Customer Deposits and Advance Payments

The Company may receive cash payments from certain customers and vendors that require future performance obligations by the Company. Amounts associated with obligations expected to be satisfied within one year are reported in Customer deposits and advance payments on the Company's consolidated balance sheets and amounts associated with obligations expected to be satisfied after one year are reported as a component of Other non-current liabilities on the Company's consolidated balance sheets. These payments are subsequently recognized in the Company's consolidated statements of operations when the Company satisfies the performance obligations required to retain and earn these deposits and advance payments.

A vendor may make an upfront payment to the Company to offset costs that the Company incurs to integrate the vendor into the Company’s operations. These upfront payments are deferred by the Company and are subsequently amortized against expense
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in its statement of operations as the related costs are incurred by the Company in accordance with the agreement with the vendor.
Property and Equipment, Including Leases

Property and equipment are stated at cost, except for property and equipment acquired in a merger or business combination, which is recorded at fair value at the time of the transaction. Depreciation is calculated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets.
 
The Company has multiple operating leases related to office space. Operating leases do not involve transfer of risks and rewards of ownership of the leased asset to the lessee, therefore the Company expenses the costs of its operating leases. The Company may make various alterations (leasehold improvements) to the office space and capitalize these costs as part of property and equipment. Leasehold improvements are generally amortized on a straight-line basis over the useful life of the improvement or the term of the lease, whichever is shorter.
 
Expenditures for repairs and maintenance which do not extend the useful life of the respective assets are charged to expense as incurred. Expenditures that increase the value or productive capacity of assets are capitalized. At the time of retirements, sales, or other dispositions of property and equipment, the original cost and related accumulated depreciation are removed from the respective accounts, and the gains or losses are presented as a component of income or loss from operations.

Costs Incurred to Develop Software for Internal Use
 
Costs incurred to develop computer software for internal use are capitalized once: (1) the preliminary project stage is completed, (2) management authorizes and commits to funding a specific software project, and (3) it is probable that the project will be completed and the software will be used to perform the function intended. Costs incurred prior to meeting the qualifications are expensed as incurred. Capitalization of costs ceases when the project is substantially complete and ready for its intended use. Post-implementation costs related to the internal use computer software, are expensed as incurred. Internal use software development costs are amortized using the straight-line method over its estimated useful life which generally ranges from three to five years. Software development costs may become impaired in situations where development efforts are abandoned due to the viability of the planned project becoming doubtful or due to technological obsolescence of the planned software product. For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, there was 0 impairment associated with internal use software. For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, the Company capitalized software development costs of $7.1 million, $8.2 million, and $6.7 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, capitalized software development costs, net of accumulated amortization, totaled $16.4 million and $14.9 million, respectively, and is included in property, equipment, and software, net on the consolidated balance sheets. Amortization expense for capitalized software development costs for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018 was $5.3 million, $4.1 million, and $2.6 million, respectively, and are included in depreciation and amortization in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations.

Settlement Assets and Obligations

Settlement processing assets and obligations recognized on the Company's consolidated balance sheet represent intermediary balances arising in the Company's settlement process for merchants and other customers. See Note 5, Settlement Assets and Obligations.

Debt Issuance and Modification Costs

Eligible debt issuance costs associated with the Company's credit facilities are deferred and amortized to interest expense over the term of the related debt using the effective interest method. Debt issuance costs associated with Company's term debt are presented on the Company's consolidated balance sheets as a direct reduction in the carrying value of the associated debt liability.

Business Combinations

The Company uses the acquisition method of accounting for business combinations which requires assets acquired and liabilities assumed to be recognized at their fair values on the acquisition date. Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase
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price over the fair value of the net assets acquired. The fair values of the assets acquired and liabilities assumed are determined based upon the valuation of the acquired business and involves making significant estimates and assumptions based on facts and circumstances that existed as of the acquisition date. The Company uses a measurement period following the acquisition date to gather information that existed as of the acquisition date that is needed to determine the fair value of the assets acquired and liabilities assumed. The measurement period ends once all information is obtained, but no later than one year from the acquisition date.

Non-Controlling Interests

The Company issued non-voting profit-sharing interests in 3 of its subsidiaries that were formed in 2018 or 2019 to acquire the operating assets of certain businesses (see Note 4, Asset Acquisitions, Asset Contributions, and Business Combinations). The Company is the majority owner of these subsidiaries and therefore the profit-sharing interests are deemed to be non-controlling interests ("NCI").

To estimate the initial fair value of a profit-sharing interest, the Company utilized future cash flow scenarios with focus on those cash flow scenarios that could result in future distributions to the NCIs. Profits or losses are attributed to an NCI based on the hypothetical-liquidation-at-book-value method that utilizes the terms of the profit-sharing agreement between the Company and the NCIs.

As the majority owner, the Company has call rights on the profit-sharing interests issued to the NCIs. These call rights can be executed only under certain circumstances and execution is always voluntary at the Company's discretion. The call rights do not meet the definition of a free-standing financial instrument or derivative, thus no separate accounting is required for these call rights.

Based on the LLC agreements for these three subsidiaries, in certain instances the NCIs are entitled to certain earnings of the respective subsidiary. Prior to 2020, no earnings were attributable to any NCIs. All material earnings attributable to the NCIs for the year ended December 31, 2020 were simultaneously distributed to the NCIs.

As disclosed in Note 2, Disposal of Business, the NCIs of one of these subsidiaries, Priority Real Estate Technology, LLC, were fully redeemed during the year ended December 31, 2020. At December 31, 2020, the NCIs of one of the other subsidiaries, Priority PayRight Health Solutions, LLC, have also been fully redeemed and only one of the subsidiaries, Priority Hospitality Technology, LLC, has NCIs at December 31, 2020. See Note 4, Asset Acquisitions, Asset Contributions, and Business Combinations.

Goodwill

The Company tests goodwill for impairment for its reporting units on an annual basis, or when events occur or circumstances indicate the fair value of a reporting unit is below its carrying value. If the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value, an impairment loss is recorded to the extent that implied fair value of the goodwill within the reporting unit is less than its carrying value. See Note 7, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets.

Other Intangible Assets

Other Intangible assets are initially recorded at cost upon acquisition by the Company. The carrying value of an intangible asset acquired in an asset acquisition may be subsequently increased for contingent consideration when due to the seller and such amounts can be estimated. The portion of any unpaid purchase price that is contingent on future activities is not initially recorded by the Company on the date of acquisition. Rather, the Company recognizes contingent consideration when it becomes probable and estimable. All of the Company's intangible assets, except Goodwill, have finite lives and are subject to amortization. Intangible assets consist of acquired merchant portfolios, customer relationships, ISO relationships, residual buyouts, trade names, technology, and non-compete agreements.
 



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    Merchant portfolios

Merchant portfolios consist of the acquired rights to a portfolio of merchants such as those acquired from Direct Connect Merchant Services, LLC, and YapStone, Inc. The Company amortizes the cost of its acquired merchant portfolios over their estimated useful lives, which generally range from five years to six years using a straight-line amortization method.

    Customer Relationships
 
Customer relationships represent the cost of the acquired customer relationship, which typically consists of a portfolio of merchants or contracted business relationships. The Company amortizes the cost of its acquired customer relationships over their estimated useful lives, which generally range from 10 years to 15 years, using either a straight-line or an accelerated amortization method that most accurately reflects the pattern in which the economic benefits of the respective asset is consumed.

    ISO Relationships

ISO relationships represent the cost of acquired relationships with ISOs. The Company amortizes the cost of its acquired ISO relationships over their estimated useful lives, which generally range from 11 years to 25 years, using an accelerated amortization method that most accurately reflects the pattern in which the economic benefits of the respective asset is consumed.
    
    Residual Buyouts

Most of the Company's merchant customers in its Consumer Payments reportable segment are associated with independent ISOs, and these ISOs typically have a right to receive commissions from the Company based on the revenue earned by the associated merchants. The Company may occasionally decide to pay an ISO an agreed-upon amount in exchange for the ISO's surrender of its right to receive future commissions from the Company. The amount that the Company pays for these residual buyouts is capitalized and subsequently amortized over the expected life of the underlying merchant relationships. These amortization periods generally range between 1 year and 9 years and the Company uses either a straight-line or an accelerated amortization method that most accurately reflects the pattern in which the economic benefits of the respective asset is consumed.

    Technology

Technology intangible assets represent acquired technology, such as proprietary software and website domains. The Company amortizes the cost of acquired technology over their estimated useful lives, which generally range between 6 years and 7 years, using a straight-line amortization method that most accurately reflects the pattern in which the economic benefits of the respective asset is consumed.

     Trade Names and Non-Compete Agreements
 
These intangible assets are amortized over their estimated useful lives, which generally ranging between 5 years and 12 years, using a straight-line amortization method. All non-compete agreements were fully amortized at December 31, 2020 and 2019.


Impairment of Long-lived Assets

The Company reviews its long-lived assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. For long-lived assets, except goodwill, an impairment loss is indicated when the undiscounted future cash flows estimated to be generated by the asset group are not sufficient to recover the unamortized balance of the asset group. If indicated, the loss is measured as the excess of carrying value over the asset groups' fair value, as determined based on discounted future cash flows. The Company concluded there were no indications of impairment for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018. For the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company recognized impairment charges of $1.8 million for a residual buyout intangible asset. See Note 7, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets.
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Accrued Residual Commissions

Accrued residual commissions consist of amounts due to independent sales organizations ("ISOs") and independent sales agents based on a percentage of the net revenues generated from the Company's merchant customers. Percentages vary based on the program type and transaction volume of each merchant. Residual commission expenses were $240.2 million, $213.8 million, and $230.2 million, respectively, for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, and are included in costs of services in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations.

ISO Deposit and Loss Reserve

ISOs may partner with the Company in an executive partner program in which ISOs are given negotiated pricing in exchange for bearing risk of loss. Through the arrangement, the Company accepts deposits on behalf of the ISO and a reserve account is established by the Company. All amounts maintained by the Company are included in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets as other liabilities, which are directly offset by restricted cash accounts owned by the Company.

Share-Based Compensation

The Company recognizes the cost resulting from all share-based payment transactions in the financial statements at grant date fair value. Share-based compensation expense is recognized over the requisite service period and is reflected in salary and employee benefits expense on the Company's consolidated statements of operations. Awards generally vest over two or three years and may not vest evenly over the vesting period. The effects of forfeitures are recognized as they occur.

The Company measures a liability award under a share-based payment arrangement based on the award’s fair value remeasured at each reporting date until the date of settlement. Compensation cost for each period until settlement is based on the change (or a portion of the change, depending on the percentage of the requisite service that has been rendered at the reporting date) in the fair value of the instrument for each reporting period.

    Stock options

Under the Company's 2018 Equity Incentive Plan, the Company determines the fair value of stock options using the Black-Scholes option pricing model, which requires the use of the following subjective assumptions:

Expected Volatility - Measure of the amount by which a stock price has fluctuated or is expected to fluctuate. Due to the relatively short amount of time that the Company's common stock (Nasdaq: PRTH) has traded on a public market, the Company uses volatility data for the common stocks of a peer group of comparable public companies. An increase in the expected volatility will increase the fair value of the stock option and related compensation expense.

Risk-free interest rate - U.S. Treasury rate for a stripped-principal treasury note as of the grant date having a term equal to the expected term of the stock option. An increase in the risk-free interest rate will increase the fair value of the stock option and related compensation expense.

Expected term - Period of time over which the stock options granted are expected to remain outstanding. As a newly-public company, the Company lacks sufficient exercise information for its stock option plan. Accordingly, the Company uses a method permitted by the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") whereby the expected term is estimated to be the mid-point between the vesting dates and the expiration dates of the stock option grants. An increase in the expected term will increase the fair value of the stock option and the related compensation expense.

Dividend yield - The Company used an amount of zero as the Company has paid no cash or stock dividends and does not anticipate doing so in the foreseeable future. An increase in the dividend yield will decrease the fair value of the stock option and the related compensation expenses.

    Time-Based Restricted Stock Awards

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The fair value of time-based restricted stock awards is determined based on the quoted closing price of the Company's common stock on the date of grant and is recognized as compensation expense over the vesting term of the awards.

    
    Performance-Based Restricted Stock Awards

The Company accounts for its performance-based restricted equity awards based on the quoted closing price of the Company's common stock on the date of grant, adjusted for any market-based vesting criteria, and records shared-based compensation expense over the vesting term of the awards based on the probability that the performance criteria will be achieved. The performance goals may be work-related goals for the individual recipient and/or based on certain corporate performance goals. The Company reassesses the probability of vesting at each reporting period and prospectively adjusts share-based compensation expense based on its probability assessment. Additionally, if performance goals are set or reset on an annual basis, compensation cost is recognized in any reporting period only for performance-based RSU awards in which the performance goals have been established and communicated to the award recipient.

Repurchased Stock

Pursuant to the provisions of ASC 505-30, Treasury Stock, the Company has elected to apply the cost method when accounting for treasury stock resulting from the repurchase of its common stock. Under the cost method, the gross cost of the shares reacquired is charged to a contra equity account labeled Treasury Stock. The equity accounts that were originally credited for the original share issuance, common stock and additional paid-in capital, remain intact. See Note 14Stockholders' Deficit.

If the treasury shares are ever reissued in the future, proceeds in excess of repurchased cost will be credited to additional paid-in capital. Any deficiency will be charged to retained earnings (accumulated deficit), unless additional paid-in capital from previous treasury stock transactions exists, in which case the deficiency will be charged to that account, with any excess charged to retained earnings (accumulated deficit). If treasury stock is reissued in the future, a cost flow assumption (e.g., FIFO, LIFO, or specific identification) will be adopted to compute excesses and deficiencies upon subsequent share reissuance.

Earnings (Loss) Per Share
 
Basic earnings (loss) per share ("EPS") is computed by dividing net income (loss) available to common stockholders by the weighted-average number of shares of common stock outstanding during the period, excluding the effects of any potentially dilutive securities. Diluted EPS gives effect to the potential dilution, if any, that could occur if securities or other contracts to issue common stock were exercised or converted into common stock, using the more dilutive of the two-class method or if-converted method. Diluted EPS excludes potential shares of common stock if their effect is anti-dilutive. If there is a net loss in any period, basic and diluted EPS are computed in the same manner.

The two-class method determines net income (loss) per common share for each class of common stock and participating securities according to dividends declared or accumulated and participation rights in undistributed earnings. The two-class method requires income available to common shareholders for the period to be allocated between common stock and participating securities based upon their respective rights to receive dividends as if all income for the period had been distributed. Prior to redemption in July 2018, the Goldman Sachs warrants were deemed to be participating securities because they had a contractual right to participate in non-forfeitable dividends on a one-for-one basis with the Company's common stock. Accordingly, the Company applied the two-class method for EPS when computing net income (loss) per common share. For periods beginning after September 30, 2018, EPS using the two-class method is no longer required due to the redemption of the Goldman Sachs warrant. See Note 10, Long-term Debt and Warrant Liability.

Income Taxes

Prior to July 25, 2018, Priority was a "pass-through" entity for income tax purposes and had no material income tax accounting reflected in its financial statements since taxable income and deductions were "passed through" to Priority's unconsolidated owners. As a limited liability company, Priority Holdings, LLC elected to be treated as a partnership for the purpose of filing income tax returns, and as such, the income and losses of Priority Holdings, LLC flowed through to its members. Accordingly,
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no provisions for federal and most state income taxes was provided in the consolidated financial statements. However, periodic distributions were made to members to cover company-related tax liabilities.

MI Acquisitions was a taxable "C-Corp" for income tax purposes. As a result of Priority's acquisition by MI Acquisitions, the combined Company is now a taxable "C-Corp" that reports all of Priority's income and deductions for income tax purposes. Accordingly, subsequent to July 25, 2018, the consolidated financial statements of the Company reflect the accounting for income taxes in accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board 's ("FASB") Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") 740, Income Taxes ("ASC 740").

The Company accounts for income taxes under the asset and liability method. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined based on differences between financial reporting and tax bases of assets and liabilities and are measured using enacted tax rates and laws that are expected to be in effect when the differences are expected to be recovered or settled. Realization of deferred tax assets is dependent upon future taxable income. A valuation allowance is recognized if it is more likely than not that some portion or all of a deferred tax asset will not be realized based on the weight of available evidence, including expected future earnings.
 
The Company recognizes an uncertain tax position in its financial statements when it concludes that a tax position is more likely than not to be sustained upon examination based solely on its technical merits. Only after a tax position passes the first step of recognition will measurement be required. Under the measurement step, the tax benefit is measured as the largest amount of benefit that is more likely than not to be realized upon effective settlement. This is determined on a cumulative probability basis. The full impact of any change in recognition or measurement is reflected in the period in which such change occurs.  The Company recognized interest and penalties associated with uncertain tax positions as a component of income tax expense.

Fair Value Measurements
 
The Company measures certain assets and liabilities at fair value. Fair value is defined as the exchange price that would be received for an asset or paid to transfer a liability (an exit price) in the principal or most advantageous market for the asset or liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. The Company uses a three-level fair value hierarchy to prioritize the inputs used to measure fair value and maximizes the use of observable inputs and minimizes the use of unobservable inputs. The three levels of inputs used to measure fair value are as follows:
 
Level 1 – Quoted market prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities as of the reporting date.
 
Level 2 – Observable market-based inputs or unobservable inputs that are corroborated by market data.
 
Level 3 – Unobservable inputs that are not corroborated by market data.
 
The fair values of the Company's merchant portfolios, assets and liabilities acquired in mergers and business combinations, and contingent consideration are primarily based on Level 3 inputs and are generally estimated based upon valuation techniques that include discounted cash flow analysis based on cash flow projections and, for years beyond the projection period, estimates based on assumed growth rates. Assumptions are also made regarding appropriate discount rates, perpetual growth rates, and capital expenditures, among others. In certain circumstances, the discounted cash flow analysis is corroborated by a market-based approach that utilizes comparable company public trading values and, where available, values observed in public market transactions.
 
The carrying values of accounts and notes receivable, accounts payable and accrued expenses, long-term debt and cash, including settlement assets and the associated deposit liabilities approximate fair value due to either the short-term nature of such instruments or the fact that the interest rate of the debt is based upon current market rates.


New Accounting and Reporting Standards

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Prior to July 25, 2018, Priority was defined as a non-public entity for purposes of applying transition guidance related to new or revised accounting standards under U.S. GAAP, and as such was typically required to adopt new or revised accounting standards subsequent to the required adoption dates that applied to public companies. MI Acquisitions was classified as an EGC. Subsequent to the Business Combination, the Company will cease to be an EGC no later than December 31, 2021. The Company will maintain the election available to an EGC to use any extended transition period applicable to non-public companies when complying with a new or revised accounting standards. Therefore, as long as the Company retains EGC status, the Company can continue to elect to adopt any new or revised accounting standards on the adoption date (including early adoption) required for a private company.


Accounting Standards Adopted in 2020

Disclosures for Fair Value Measurements (ASU 2018-13)

On January 1, 2020, the Company adopted Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") No. 2018-13, Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820): Disclosure Framework — Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Fair Value Measurement ("ASU 2018-13"). ASU 2018-13 eliminated, added, and modified certain disclosure requirements for fair value measurements as part of the Financial Accounting Standards Board's ("FASB") disclosure framework project. Certain amendments must be applied prospectively while others are applied on a retrospective basis to all periods presented. As disclosure guidance, the adoption of this ASU had no effect on the Company's results of operations, financial position, or cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2020. Note 17, Fair Value, reflects the disclosure provisions of ASU 2018-13.


Share-Based Payments to Non-Employees (ASU 2018-07)

In June 2018, the FASB issued ASU 2018-07, Share-based Payments to Non-Employees, to simplify the accounting for share-based payments to non-employees by aligning it with the accounting for share-based payments to employees, with certain exceptions. As an EGC, the ASU was effective for the Company's annual reporting period that began on January 1, 2020 and will be effective for interim periods beginning first quarter of 2021. The adoption of ASU 2018-07 had no material effect on the Company's results of operations, financial position, or cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2020.


Share-Based Payments to Customers (ASU 2019-08)

In November 2019, the FASB issued ASU 2019-08, Stock Compensation and Revenue from Contracts with Customers ("ASU 2019-08"). ASU 2019-08 applies to share-based payments granted in conjunction with the sale of goods and services to a customer that are not in exchange for a distinct good or service. Entities apply ASC 718 to measure and classify share-based sales incentives, and reflect the measurement of such incentives, as a reduction of the transaction price and also recognize such incentives in accordance with the guidance in ASC 606 on consideration payable to a customer. Entities that receive distinct goods or services from a customer account for the share-based payment in the same manner as they account for other purchases from suppliers (i.e., by applying the guidance in ASC 718). Any excess of the fair-value-based measure of the share-based payment award over the fair value of the distinct goods or services received is reflected as a reduction to the transaction price and recognized in accordance with the guidance in ASC 606 on consideration payable to a customer. ASU 2019-08 was effective for the Company at the same time it adopted ASU 2018-07, which was for its annual reporting period that began January 1, 2020 and will be effective for interim periods beginning first quarter 2021. The adoption of ASU 2018-07 had no material effect on the Company's results of operations, financial position, or cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2020.


Accounting Standards Adopted in 2019

Revenue Recognition (ASC 606) and Related Costs to Obtain or Fulfill a Contracts with Customers (ASC 340-40)

For the annual reporting period that began on January 1, 2019, the Company adopted ASU 2014-09 and the other clarifications and technical guidance issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") related to this new revenue standard that
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have been collectively codified in ASC 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, and the related ASC Subtopic 340-40, Other Assets and Deferred Costs - Contracts with Customers, (together, "ASC 606"). As an emerging growth company, the Company adopted ASC 606 under the extended transition provisions available to a non-public business entity. Accordingly, the Company was not required to report under the new standards until the Company’s annual reporting period for the year ended December 31, 2019.

In reporting the effects of the adoption of ASC 606 in its consolidated financial statements and related disclosures, the Company elected the full retrospective transition method. Under this method, all annual periods presented herein in these consolidated financial statements and related disclosures have been retrospectively recasted to reflect the provisions of ASC 606. In connection with the Company’s evaluation and adoption of ASC 606, the classification of certain transactions previously presented in revenue at their gross amounts were re-evaluated under the principal-agent guidance were retrospectively recasted within the Company’s statements of operations to a net presentation. There were no other adjustments as the result of the adoption of ASC 606 and, accordingly, no adjustment was required to the Company’s beginning retained earnings (deficit) at January 1, 2017 to reflect the cumulative effect of initially applying the new standards. The adoption of ASC 606 resulted only in offsetting reclassifications between revenues and costs of services within the same reporting periods. Accordingly, these reclassifications did not have any impact on income from operations, income (loss) before income taxes, net income (loss), assets, liabilities, stockholders’ deficit, or cash flows for any period.


Gains and Losses from Derecognition of Non-Financial Assets (ASU 2017-05)

Concurrent with the adoption of ASC 606, the Company was also required to adopt the provisions of ASU 2017-05, Other Income-Gains and Losses from the Derecognition of Non-financial Assets ("ASU 2017-05"). ASU 2017-05 clarifies that the guidance in ASC 610-20 on accounting for derecognition of a non-financial asset and an in-substance non-financial asset applies only when the asset or asset group does not meet the definition of a business or is not a non-for-profit entity. Non-financial assets include, but are not limited to, intangible assets, property and equipment. This ASU also clarifies that the provisions of ASC 606 apply if an entity transfers an asset to a customer. If an asset transfer in within the scope of ASU 2017-05, an entity measures its gain or loss on derecognition of each distinct asset as the difference between the amount of consideration received and the carrying amount of the distinct asset. The adoption of ASU 2017-05 had no impact on the Company's results of operations, financial position, or cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2019. However, the application of ASU 2017-05 to future transactions could be material.


Measurements of Certain Equity Investments (ASU 2016-01)
Under ASU 2016-01, Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities, entities have to measure equity investments (except those accounted for under the equity method, those that result in consolidation of the investee and certain other investments) at fair value and recognize any changes in fair value in net income. However, for equity investments that do not have readily determinable fair values and do not qualify for the existing practical expedient in ASC 820 to estimate fair value using the net asset value per share (or its equivalent) of the investment, the guidance provides a new measurement alternative. Entities may choose to measure those investments at cost, less any impairment, plus or minus changes resulting from observable price changes in orderly transactions for the identical or a similar investment of the same issuer. The Company early adopted the provisions of ASU 2016-01 on April 1, 2019 and applied them to an acquired warrant to purchase equity of another entity, the same entity that borrowed $3.5 million from the Company during 2019 under a $10.0 million loan and loan commitment agreement. The carrying value, at cost, and fair value of the warrant were not material. See Note 13Related Party Matters.

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Statement of Cash Flows (ASU 2016-15)
 
In August 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-15, Statement of Cash Flows (Topic 230). This ASU represents a consensus of the FASB's Emerging Issues Task Force on eight separate issues that each impact classifications on the statement of cash flows. In particular, issue number three addresses the classification of contingent consideration payments made after a business combination. Under ASU 2016-15, cash payments made soon after an acquisition's consummation date (i.e., approximately three months or less) will be classified as cash outflows from investing activities. Payments made thereafter will be classified as cash outflows from financing activities up to the amount of the original contingent consideration liability. Payments made in excess of the amount of the original contingent consideration liability will be classified as cash outflows from operating activities. As an EGC, this ASU was effective for the Company's annual reporting period beginning in 2019 and was effective for interim periods beginning in 2020. The Company made no payments in 2020 or 2019 for contingent consideration related to business combinations.


Income Taxes for Intra-Entity Transfers of Assets Other Than Inventory (ASU 2016-16)

In October 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-16, Intra-Entity Transfers of Assets Other Inventory ("ASU 2016-16"). ASU 2016-16 removes the prohibition in ASC 740 against the immediate recognition of the current and deferred income tax effects of intra-entity transfers of assets other than inventory. The ASU is intended to reduce the complexity of U.S. GAAP and diversity in practice related to the tax consequences of certain types of intra-entity asset transfers, particularly those involving intellectual property. ASU 2016-16 was effective for the Company's annual reporting period ended December 31, 2019 and interim periods beginning in 2020. The adoption of ASU 2016-16 did not have a material effect on the Company's results of operations, financial position, or cash flows. However, any future inter-entity transfers of assets within scope of this ASU may be affected.


Accounting Standards Adopted in 2018

Modifications to Share-Based Compensation Awards (ASU 2017-09)

As of January 1, 2018, the Company adopted Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") No. 2017-09, Compensation-Stock Compensation Topic 718 - Scope of Modification Accounting ("ASU 2017-09"). ASU 2017-09 clarifies when changes to the terms and conditions of share-based payment awards must be accounted for as modifications. Entities apply the modification accounting guidance if the value, vesting conditions, or classification of an award changes. The Company has not modified any share-based payment awards since the adoption of ASU 2017-09, therefore this new ASU has had no impact on the Company's financial position, operations, or cash flows. Should the Company modify share-based payment awards in the future, it will apply the provisions of ASU 2017-09.

Balance Sheet Classification of Deferred Income Taxes (ASU 2015-17)

In connection with the Business Combination and Recapitalization, the Company prospectively adopted the provisions of ASU No. 2015-17, Balance Sheet Classification of Deferred Taxes ("ASU 2015-17"), during the third quarter of 2018. ASU 2015-17 simplifies the balance sheet presentation of deferred income taxes by reporting the net amount of deferred tax assets and liabilities for each tax-paying jurisdiction as non-current on the balance sheet. Prior guidance required the deferred taxes for each tax-paying jurisdiction to be presented as a net current asset or liability and net non-current asset or liability.

Definition of a Business (ASU 2017-01)

On October 1, 2018, the Company prospectively adopted the provisions of ASU No. 2017-01, Business Combinations (Topic 805): Clarifying the Definition of a Business ("ASU 2017-01"). ASU 2017-01 assists entities in determining if acquired assets constitute the acquisition of a business or the acquisition of assets for accounting and reporting purposes. The guidance requires an entity to evaluate if substantially all of the fair value of the gross assets acquired is concentrated in a single identifiable asset or a group of similar identifiable assets; if so, the set of transferred assets and activities is not a business. In practice prior to ASU 2017-01, if revenues were generated immediately before and after a transaction, the acquisition was typically considered a
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business. The Company's December 2018 acquisition of certain assets of Direct Connect Merchant Services, LLC was not deemed to be the acquisition of a business under ASU 2017-01 because substantially all of the fair value was concentrated in a single identifiable group of similar identifiable assets.

Accounting for Share-Based Payments to Employees (ASU 2016-09)

For its annual reporting period beginning January 1, 2018, the Company adopted the provisions of ASU 2016-09, Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting ("ASU 2016-09"), which amends ASC Topic 718, Compensation–Stock Compensation. This adoption had the following effects:

Consolidated Statement of Operations - ASU 2016-09 imposes a new requirement to record all of the excess income tax benefits and deficiencies (that result from an increase or decrease in the value of an award from grant date to settlement date) related to share-based payments at settlement through the statement of operations instead of the former requirement to record income tax benefits in excess of compensation cost ("windfalls") in equity, and income tax deficiencies ("shortfalls") in equity to the extent of previous windfalls, and then to operations. This change is required to be applied prospectively upon adoption of ASU 2016-09 to all excess income tax benefits and deficiencies resulting from settlements of share-based payments after the date of adoption. This particular provision of ASU 2016-09 had no material effect on the Company's financial position, operations, or cash flows.

Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows - ASU 2016-09 requires that all income tax-related cash flows resulting from share-based payments, such as excess income tax benefits, are to be reported as operating activities on the statement of cash flows, a change from the prior requirement to present windfall income tax benefits as an inflow from financing activities and an offsetting outflow from operating activities. This particular provision of ASU 2016-09 had no material effect on the Company's financial position, operations, or cash flows.

Additionally, ASU 2016-09 clarifies that:

All cash payments made to taxing authorities on an employee's behalf for withheld shares at settlement are presented as financing activities on the statement of cash flows. This change must be applied retrospectively. This particular provision of ASU 2016-09 had no material effect on the Company's financial position, operations, or cash flows.

Entities are permitted to make an accounting policy election for the impact of forfeitures on the recognition of expense for share-based payment awards. Forfeitures can be estimated or recognized when they occur. Estimates of forfeitures will still be required in certain circumstances, such as at the time of modification of an award or issuance of a replacement award in a business combination. If elected, the change to recognize forfeitures when they occur needs to be adopted using a modified retrospective approach, with a cumulative effect adjustment recorded to opening retained earnings. The Company made a policy election to recognize the impact of forfeitures when they occur. This policy election primarily impacted the Company's new equity compensation plans originating in 2018 (see Note 15, Share-Based Compensation), thus not requiring a cumulative effect adjustment to opening retained earnings for these new plans. For the Company's previously existing equity compensation plan (the Management Incentive Plan), see Note 15, Share-Based Compensation. The amount of the cumulative effect upon adoption of ASU 2016-09 was not material and therefore has not been reflected in opening retained earnings on the Company's consolidated balance sheets or consolidated statements of changes in stockholders' deficit.


Recently Issued Accounting Standards Pending Adoption

The following standards are pending adoption and will likely apply to the Company in future periods based on the Company's current business activities.

Implementation Costs Incurred in Cloud Computing Arrangements (ASU 2018-15)

In August 2018, the FASB issued ASU 2018-15, Implementation Costs Incurred in Cloud Computing Arrangements ("ASU 2018-15"), which aligns the requirements for capitalizing implementation costs incurred in a hosting arrangement that is a
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service contract with the requirements for capitalizing implementation costs incurred to develop or obtain internal-use software (and hosting arrangements that include an internal-use software license). As an EGC, this ASU will be effective for the Company's annual reporting period beginning January 1, 2021, and will be effective for interim periods beginning in 2022. The amendments are applied either retrospectively or prospectively to all implementation costs incurred after the date of adoption, and the Company has not yet made a determination to use the retrospective or prospective adoption method. Based on current operations of the Company, the adoption of ASU 2018-15 is not expected to have a material effect on the Company's results of operations, financial position, or cash flows.

Reference Rate Reform (ASU 2020-04)

On March 12, 2020, the FASB issued ASU 2020-04, Reference Rate Reform (Topic 848), Facilitation of the Effects of Reference Rate Reform on Financial Reporting. This ASU provides temporary optional expedients and exceptions to the GAAP guidance on contract modifications and hedge accounting to ease the financial reporting burdens of the expected market transition from the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") and other interbank offered rates to alternative reference rates, such as the Secured Overnight Financial Rate. Entities can elect not to apply certain modification accounting requirements to contracts affected by what the guidance calls reference rate reform, if certain criteria are met. An entity that makes this election would not have to remeasure the contact at the modification date or reassess a previous accounting determination. ASU 2021-01 ASU 2020-04 can be adopted at any time before December 31, 2022. The provisions of ASU 2020-04 may impact the Company if future debt modifications or refinancings utilize one or more of the reference rates covered by the provisions of this ASU.


Leases (ASC 842)

In February 2016, the FASB issued new lease accounting guidance in ASU No. 2016-02, Leases-Topic 842, which has been codified in ASC 842, Leases. Under this new guidance, lessees will be required to recognize for all leases (with the exception of short-term leases): 1) a lease liability equal to the lessee's obligation to make lease payments arising from a lease, measured on a discounted basis and 2) a right-of-use asset which will represent the lessee's right to use, or control the use of, a specified asset for the lease term. As an EGC, this standard is effective for the Company's annual and interim reporting periods beginning 2022. The adoption of ASC 842 will require the Company to recognize non-current assets and liabilities for right-of-use assets and operating lease liabilities on its consolidated balance sheet, but it is not expected to have a material effect on the Company's results of operations or cash flows. ASC 842 will also require additional footnote disclosures to the Company's consolidated financial statements.


Credit Losses (ASU 2016-13 and ASU 2018-19)

In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments-Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments. This new guidance will change how entities account for credit impairment for trade and other receivables, as well as for certain financial assets and other instruments. ASU 2016-13 will replace the current "incurred loss" model with an "expected loss" model. Under the "incurred loss" model, a loss (or allowance) is recognized only when an event has occurred (such as a payment delinquency) that causes the entity to believe that a loss is probable (i.e., that it has been "incurred"). Under the "expected loss" model, a loss (or allowance) is recognized upon initial recognition of the asset that reflects all future events that leads to a loss being realized, regardless of whether it is probable that the future event will occur. The "incurred loss" model considers past events and current conditions, while the "expected loss" model includes expectations for the future which have yet to occur. The standard will require entities to record a cumulative-effect adjustment to the balance sheet as of the beginning of the first reporting period in which the guidance is effective. The Company is currently evaluating the potential impact that ASU 2016-13 may have on the timing of recognizing future provisions for expected losses on the Company's accounts receivable and notes receivable. Since the Company was a smaller reporting company ("SRC") on November 15, 2019, the Company must adopt this new standard no later than the beginning of 2023 for annual and interim reporting periods.


Goodwill Impairment Testing (ASU 2017-04)
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In January 2017, the FASB issued ASU No. 2017-04, Intangibles-Goodwill and Other (Topic 350): Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment. ASU 2017-04 will eliminate the requirement to calculate the implied fair value of goodwill (i.e., step 2 of the current goodwill impairment test) to measure a goodwill impairment charge. Instead, entities will record an impairment charge based on the excess of a reporting unit's carrying amount over its fair value (i.e., measure the charge based on the current step 1). Any impairment charge will be limited to the amount of goodwill allocated to an impacted reporting unit. ASU 2017-04 will not change the current guidance for completing Step 1 of the goodwill impairment test, and an entity will still be able to perform the current optional qualitative goodwill impairment assessment before determining whether to proceed to Step 1. Upon adoption, the ASU will be applied prospectively. Since the Company was a SRC on November 15, 2019, the Company must adopt this new standard no later than the beginning of 2023 for annual and interim reporting periods. The impact that ASU 2017-04 may have on the Company's financial condition or results of operations will depend on the circumstances of any goodwill impairment event that may occur after adoption.


Simplifying the Accounting for Income Taxes (ASU 2019-12)

In December 2019, the FASB issued ASU 2019-12, Simplifying the Accounting for Income Taxes ("ASU 2019-12"). ASU 2019-12 will affect several topics of income tax accounting, including: tax-basis step-up in goodwill obtained in a transaction that is not a business combination; intra-period tax allocation; ownership changes in investments when an equity method investment becomes a subsidiary of an entity; interim-period accounting for enacted changes in tax law; and year-to-date loss limitation in interim-period tax accounting. This ASU is effective for the Company on January 1, 2022. We are evaluating the effect of ASU 2019-12 on our consolidated financial statements.


Concentration of Risk

A substantial portion of the Company's revenues and receivables are attributable to merchants. For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, no one merchant customer accounted for 10% or more of the Company's consolidated revenues. Most of the Company's merchant customers were referred to the Company by an ISO or other referral partners. If the Company's agreement with an ISO allows the ISO to have merchant portability rights, the ISO can move the underlying merchant relationships to another merchant acquirer upon notice to the Company and completion of a "wind down" period. For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, merchants referred by one ISO organization with merchant portability rights generated revenue within the Company's Consumer Payments reportable segment that represented approximately 21%, 18%, and 14%, respectively, of the Company's consolidated revenues.

A majority of the Company's cash and restricted cash is held in certain financial institutions, substantially all of which is in excess of federal deposit insurance corporation limits. The Company does not believe it is exposed to any significant credit risk from these transactions.

Reclassifications

Certain prior year amounts in these consolidated financial statements have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation, with no net effect on the Company's income from operations, income (loss) before income tax expense (benefit), net income (loss), stockholders' deficit, or cash flows from operations, investing, or financing activities.


2.    DISPOSAL OF BUSINESS

On September 1, 2020, PRET, a majority-owned and consolidated subsidiary of the Company, entered into an asset purchase agreement (the "Agreement") with MRI Payments LLC and MRI Software LLC (together, "MRI" or the buyer) to sell certain assets from PRET's real estate services business. The buyer also agreed to assume certain obligations associated with the assets. The transaction contemplated by the Agreement was completed on September 22, 2020 after receiving regulatory approval. Prior to execution of the Agreement, the buyer was not a related party of PRET or the Company.
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The assets covered by the Agreement were substantially the same assets that PRET acquired in March 2019 from YapStone, Inc. and these assets constituted PRET's RentPayment component, which was part of the Integrated Partners reporting unit, operating segment and reportable segment. These assets consist of contracts with customers, an assembled workforce, technology-related assets, Internet domains, trade names and trademarks. The buyer also assumed obligations under an in-place and off-balance-sheet operating lease for office space. Since PRET's acquisition of these assets from YapStone, Inc. in March 2019, PRET and the Company have made operational changes that resulted in these assets becoming a business as defined by the provisions of ASU 2017-01, Clarifying the Definition of a Business, before their sale to MRI.

Proceeds received by PRET were $179.4 million, net of $0.6 million for a working capital adjustment. The gain amounted to $107.2 million as follows:


(in thousands)
Gross cash consideration from buyer$180,000 
Less working capital adjustment paid in cash(584)
Net proceeds from buyer179,416 
Transaction costs incurred(5,383)
Assets sold:
Intangible assets(62,158)
Other assets sold, net of obligations assumed(716)
Goodwill assigned to business sale(2,683)
Other intangible assets(1,237)
Pre-tax gain on sale of business$107,239 


PRET is a limited liability company and is a pass-through entity for income tax purposes. Income tax expenses associated with the gain attributable to the stockholders of the Company were estimated to be approximately $12.3 million.

Allocation of net proceeds, after transaction costs, to the PRET members included return of each member's invested capital in PRET and excess proceeds were distributed in accordance with the distribution provisions of the PRET LLC governing agreement. The Company's invested capital amounted to $71.8 million, which included the assets sold, goodwill and other intangible assets. The non-controlling interest's invested capital was $5.7 million. Approximately $51.4 million and $45.1 million of the excess proceeds were distributed to the Company and the non-controlling interests, respectively.

The working capital adjustment of $584 thousand and the allocation of net proceeds described above remain subject to final adjustment with the buyer and PRET members, respectively. Any remaining payments made or received by the Company will be recorded in the period in which such amounts are finalized.

As disclosed in Note 10, Long-Term Debt and Warrant Liability, $106.5 million of cash received by the Company was used on September 25, 2020 to reduce the outstanding balance of the term loan facility under the Company's Senior Credit Facility.

Operating Lease Obligation

The buyer assumed an in-place operating lease in Dallas, Texas which expires on November 1, 2024. The Company has not adopted ASC 842; therefore this lease obligation was not reflected in the Company's balance sheet prior to the assumption by the buyer. The Company was relieved of minimum lease payment obligations totaling $0.5 million for the remainder of the current lease term.

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Continuing Operations

Based on historical financial results, the Company does not believe the sale of the RentPayment component represents a strategic shift. Therefore, in accordance with ASC 205-20, Presentation of Financial Statements - Discontinued Operations, the Company will not classify or report the business that was sold as discontinued operations in its consolidated financial statements for any reporting period. The Company will continue to serve the rental property market through its ongoing PRET operations.


Pro Forma Information

The following unaudited pro forma information is provided for the business (the RentPayment component) that was sold under the Agreement, excluding the gain recognized on the sale transaction:

Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)20202019
Revenues$12,042 $11,694 
Income from operations (1)
$1,825 $2,275 
Net income (2) (3)
$1,725 $2,218 
Net income attributable to the stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. (4)
$1,725 $2,218 
Income per common share for stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. - Basic and Diluted (4)
$0.03 $0.03 


(1) Historical financial results are not being reported as discontinued operations.
(2) Does not reflect interest expense on the borrowings used to acquire the YapStone assets in March 2019.
(3) Pro forma income tax expense based on the following consolidated effective tax rates of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.: 5.5% and 2.5% for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. These rates exclude the effect of the $107.2 million net gain on the sale recognized during the year ended December 31, 2020.
(4) Prior to the September 2020 sale transaction that resulted in the gain on the sale, no earnings or losses of the PRET LLC were attributable to the NCIs of PRET.



3.    REVENUE

For all periods presented, most of the Company’s revenues were recognized over time. Revenues and commissions earned from the sales of payment equipment are typically recognized at a point in time.

Nature of our Customer Arrangements

The Company’s payment services customers contract with the Company for payment services, which the Company provides in exchange for consideration for completed transactions. Some of these payment services are performed by third parties.

The Company’s consumer payment services enable the Company’s customers to accept card, electronic, and digital-based payments at the point of sale. These services may include authorization services, settlement and funding services, customer support and help-desk functions, chargeback resolution, payment security services, consolidated billing and statements, and online reporting. The Company also earns revenue and commissions from resale of electronic point-of-sale (“POS”) equipment.
The Company’s commercial payment services enable the Company’s customers to automate their accounts payable and other commercial payments functions with the Company’s payment services that utilize physical and virtual payment cards as well as
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ACH transactions. In addition, the Company provides cost-plus-fee turnkey business process outsourcing and assists commercial customers with programs that are designed to increase acceptance of electronic payments.

The Company's Integrated Partners segment uses payment-adjacent technologies to facilitate the acceptance of electronic payments from customers in the rental real estate, medical, and hospitality industries.

Revenue Recognition

At contract inception, the Company assesses the services and goods promised in its contracts with customers and identifies the performance obligation for each promise to transfer to the customer a service or good that is distinct. For substantially all of the Company's services, the nature of the Company’s promise to the customer is to stand ready to accept and process the transactions that customers request on a daily basis over the contract term. Since the timing and quantity of transactions to be processed is not determinable, the services comprise an obligation to stand ready to process as many transactions as the customer requires. Under a stand-ready obligation, the evaluation of the nature of the Company’s performance obligation is focused on each time increment rather than the underlying activities. Therefore, the Company has determined that its services comprise a series of distinct days of service that are substantially the same and have the same pattern of transfer to the customer. Accordingly, the promise to stand ready is accounted for as a single-series performance obligation.

When third parties are involved in the transfer of services or goods to the customer, the Company considers the nature of each specific promised service or good and applies judgment to determine whether the Company controls the service or good before it is transferred to the customer or whether the Company is acting as an agent of the third party. The Company follows the requirements of ASC 606-10, Principal Agent Considerations, which states that the determination of whether an entity should recognize revenue based on the gross amount billed to a customer or the net amount retained is a matter of judgment that depends on the facts and circumstances of the arrangement. To determine whether or not the Company controls the service or good, it assesses indicators including: 1) whether the Company or the third party is primarily responsible for fulfillment; 2) if the Company or the third party provides a significant service of integrating two or more services or goods into a combined item that is a service or good that the customer contracted to receive; 3) which party has discretion in determining pricing for the service or good; and 4) other considerations deemed to be applicable to the specific situation.

Based on assessments of these indicators, the Company concluded:
Promises to customers to provide certain payment services is distinct from the other payment services provided by the card-issuing financial institutions, payment networks, and sponsor banks. The Company does not have the ability to direct the use of and obtain substantially all of the benefits of the services provided by the card-issuing financial institutions, payment networks, and sponsor banks before those services are transferred to the customer, and on that basis, the Company does not control those services prior to being transferred to the customer. The Company has either no or little discretion in setting the price that the customer pays for these specific services. The Company therefore acts as agent for these payment services provided by the card-issuing financial institutions, payment networks, and sponsor banks.
For other promises to customers to provide other significant payment services such as onboarding, underwriting, processing, customer service, and fraud detection/prevention services, the Company has discretion in setting the price that the customer ultimately pays for these services and the Company either is responsible for fulfillment or has shared responsibility. If a third party is partially responsible for fulfillment, the Company provides a significant service of integrating two or more services, which may include services from other parties, and directs their use to create a combined item that is a specified service requested by the customer. For services that involve these other parties, the Company has direct contractual relationships with these parties.

Substantially all of the Company’s payment services are priced as a percentage of transaction value or a specified fee per transaction, or a combination of both. Given the nature of the promise and the underlying fees based on unknown quantities or outcomes of services to be performed over the contract terms with customers, the total consideration is determined to be variable consideration. The variable consideration for payment services is usage-based and therefore it specifically relates to efforts to satisfy the payment services obligation. Said another way, the variability is satisfied each day the service is provided to the customer. The Company directly ascribes variable fees to the distinct day of service to which it relates, and considers the services performed each day in order to ascribe the appropriate amount of total fees to that day. Therefore, the Company measures revenue for payment services on a daily basis based on the services that are performed on that day.
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Once the Company determines the performance obligations and the transaction price, including an estimate of any variable consideration, the Company then allocates the transaction price to each performance obligation in the contract using a relative standalone selling price method. The Company determines standalone selling price based on the price at which the service or good is sold separately. If the standalone selling price is not observable through past transactions, the Company estimates the standalone selling price by considering all reasonably available information, including market conditions, trends or other company-specific or customer-specific factors. Substantially all of the performance obligations described above that involve services are satisfied over time. Equipment sales are generally transferred to the customer at a point in time.
In delivering payment services to the customer, the Company may also provide a limited license agreement to the customer for use of one or more of the Company’s proprietary cloud-based software applications. The Company grants a right to use its software applications only when the customer has contracted with the Company to receive related payment services. When combined with the underlying payment services, the license and the payment services provided to the customer are a single stand-ready obligation and the Company’s performance obligation is defined by each time increment, rather than by the underlying activities, satisfied over time based on days elapsed.

Interest income is reported separately on the Company’s statements of operations within Other, net and was approximately $0.8 million, $0.6 million, and $0.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively.
Transaction Price Allocated to Future Performance Obligations

ASC 606 requires disclosure of the aggregate amount of the transaction price allocated to unsatisfied performance obligations. However, as allowed by ASC 606, the Company has elected to exclude from this disclosure any contracts with an original duration of one year or less and any variable consideration that meets specified criteria. As described above, the Company’s most significant performance obligations consist of variable consideration under a stand-ready series of distinct days of service. Such variable consideration meets the specified criteria for the disclosure exclusion. Therefore, the majority of the aggregate amount of transaction price that is allocated to performance obligations that have not yet been satisfied is variable consideration that is not required for this disclosure. The aggregate fixed consideration portion of customer contracts with an initial contract duration greater than one year is not material.

Contract Costs

For new, renewed, or anticipated contracts with customers, the Company does not incur material amounts of incremental costs to obtain such contracts, as those costs are defined by ASC 340-40.
Fulfillment costs, as defined by ASC 340-40, typically benefit only the period (typically a month in duration) in which they are incurred and therefore are expensed in the period incurred (i.e., not capitalized) unless they meet criteria to be capitalized under other accounting guidance.
The Company pays commissions to most of its ISOs, and for certain ISOs the Company also pays (through a higher commission rate) them to provide customer service and other services directly to our merchant customers. The ISO is typically an independent contractor or agent of the Company. Although certain ISOs may have merchant portability rights, the merchant meets the definition of a customer for the Company even if the ISO has merchant portability rights. Since payments to ISOs are dependent substantially on variable merchant payment volumes generated after the merchant enters into a new or renewed contract, these payments to ISOs are not deemed to be a cost to acquire a new contract since the ISO payments are based on factors that will arise subsequent to the event of obtaining a new or renewed contract. Also, payments to ISOs pertain only to a specific month’s activity. For payments made, or due, to an ISO, the expenses are reported within costs of services on our statements of operations.
The Company from time-to-time may elect to buy out all or a portion of an ISO’s rights to receive future commission payments related to certain merchants. Amounts paid to the ISO for these residual buyouts are capitalized by the Company under the accounting guidance for intangible assets and included in intangible assets, net on our consolidated balance sheets.


Contract Assets and Contract Liabilities

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A contract with a customer creates legal rights and obligations. As the Company performs under customer contracts, its right to consideration that is unconditional is considered to be accounts receivable. If the Company’s right to consideration for such performance is contingent upon a future event or satisfaction of additional performance obligations, the amount of revenues recognized in excess of the amount billed to the customer is recognized as a contract asset. Contract liabilities represent consideration received from customers in excess of revenues recognized. Material contract assets and liabilities are presented net at the individual contract level in the consolidated balance sheet and are classified as current or non-current based on the nature of the underlying contractual rights and obligations.

Supplemental balance sheet information related to contracts from customers as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 was as follows:
(in thousands)Consolidated Balance Sheet LocationDecember 31, 2020December 31, 2019
Liabilities:
Contract liabilities, net (current)Customer deposits and advance payments$1,494 $1,912 
The balance for the contract liabilities was approximately $1.8 million and $2.2 million at January 1, 2019 and January 1, 2018, respectively. The changes in the balances during the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018 were due to the timing of advance payments received from the customer.
Net contract assets were not material for any period presented.
Impairment losses recognized on receivables or contract assets arising from the Company's contracts with customers were not material for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, or 2018.

Disaggregation of Revenues
The following table presents a disaggregation of our consolidated revenues by type for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018:
Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)202020192018
Revenue Type:
Merchant card fees$377,346 $339,450 $343,791 
Outsourced services and other services23,103 28,712 29,099 
Equipment3,893 3,692 2,932 
Total revenues$404,342 $371,854 $375,822 


4.    ASSET ACQUISITIONS, ASSET CONTRIBUTIONS, AND BUSINESS COMBINATIONS


Asset Acquisitions


YapStone

In March 2019, the Company, through one of its subsidiaries, PRET, acquired certain assets and assumed certain related liabilities (the "YapStone net assets") from YapStone, Inc. under an asset purchase and contribution agreement. The purchase price for the YapStone net assets was $65.0 million in cash plus a non-controlling interest ("NCI") in PRET issued to YapStone, Inc. with a fair value that was estimated to be approximately $5.7 million. The total purchase price was assigned to customer relationships, except for $1.0 million and $1.2 million which were assigned to a software license agreement and a services
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agreement, respectively. The $65.0 million of cash was funded from the Company's Senior Credit Facility. PRET is part of the Company's Integrated Partners reportable segment.

During the third quarter of 2020, substantially all of the YapStone net assets were sold to a third party. See Note 2, Disposal of Business, to the consolidated financial statements. Approximately $45.1 million of PRET's 2020 earnings through the disposal date, which were composed mostly of gain recognized on the sale, were attributed and distributed in cash to the NCI during the third quarter 2020 pursuant to the profit-sharing agreement between the Company and the NCI. At the time of the sale, the NCI was also redeemed in cash for its $5.7 million interest in PRET.

For the year ended December 31, 2019, no earnings of PRET were allocated to the NCI.


Residual Portfolio Rights Acquired

On March 15, 2019, a subsidiary of the Company paid $15.2 million cash to acquire certain residual portfolio rights. Of the $15.2 million, $5.0 million was funded from the Senior Credit Facility, $10.0 million was funded from revolving credit facility under the Senior Credit Facility, and cash on hand was used to fund the remaining amount. This acquisition became part of the Company's Consumer Payments reportable segment. The purchase price was subject to a potential increase of up to $6.4 million in accordance with the terms of the agreement between the Company and the sellers over a three-year period. Additional purchase price is accounted for when payment to the seller becomes probable and is added to the carrying value of the asset and amortization expense is adjusted to reflect the new carrying value at the original purchase date. The first period for determining contingent consideration ended in March 2020, and the Company paid the seller $2.1 million of additional cash consideration, partially offset by an amount owed to the Company by the seller. At December 31, 2020, it became apparent that the Company would owe the seller an additional $2.1 million for the second period for determining contingent consideration ending March 2021, and the Company recorded this estimated amount in its consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2020.


Direct Connect

In December 2018, the Company acquired a merchant portfolio for $44.8 million from Direct Connect Merchant Services, LLC. The purchase price included cash contingent consideration of up to approximately $7.3 million, determinable over a period that ended on December 31, 2019. At December 31, 2019, the Company determined that it did 0t owe the contingent consideration.

Asset Assignments and Contributions

Merchant Portfolio Rights and Reseller Agreement

In October 2019, the Company simultaneously entered into 2 agreements with another entity.  These 2 related agreements 1) assign to the Company certain perpetual rights to a merchant portfolio and 2) form a 5-year reseller arrangement whereby the Company will offer and sell to its customer base certain online services to be fulfilled by the other entity.  NaN cash consideration was paid to, or received from, the other entity at execution of either agreement.  It was not initially determinable if the Company would have to pay any amount as consideration for the merchant portfolio rights due to the provisions of the related reseller agreement. The Company does not anticipate any net losses under the 2 contracts. Subsequent cash payments from the Company to the other entity for the merchant portfolio rights are determined based on a combination of both: 1) the actual financial performance of the acquired merchant portfolio rights and 2) actual sales and variable wholesale costs for the online services sold by the Company under the reseller arrangement.  Prior to December 31, 2020, amounts paid to the other entity were accounted for as either 1) standard costs of the services sold by the Company under the 5-year reseller agreement or 2) consideration for the merchant portfolio rights.

At December 31, 2020, the Company believes it has accumulated the additional data and historical experience that it deems necessary in order to reasonably estimate an amount of cash that the Company believes it will ultimately have to transfer as remaining consideration for the merchant portfolio rights. Accordingly, at December 31, 2020 the Company accrued
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approximately $6.2 million of estimated remaining cash consideration and additional accumulated costs for the merchant portfolio. At December 31, 2020, the Company has recorded aggregate costs, including both actual costs and estimated remaining consideration, totaling $11.1 million. As of December 31, 2019, the Company had recorded aggregate actual costs of approximately $1.1 million. Amortization expense was adjusted to reflect the new carrying value at the original purchase date. As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, accumulated amortization was $2.8 million and $0.1 million, respectively. The merchant portfolio has an estimated remaining life of 3.5 years at December 31, 2020.

The Company will continue to review its estimate of the remaining consideration to be funded and adjust the value of the intangible asset and accrual for its obligation accordingly.

eTab and Cumulus (Related Party)

In February 2019, a subsidiary of the Company, PHOT, received a contribution of substantially all of the operating assets of eTab, LLC ("eTab") and CUMULUS POS, LLC ("Cumulus") under asset contribution agreements. No material liabilities were assumed by PHOT. These contributed assets were composed substantially of technology-related assets. Prior to these transactions, eTab was 80% owned by the Company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. No cash consideration was paid to the contributors of the eTab or Cumulus assets on the date of the transactions. As consideration for these contributed assets, the contributors were issued redeemable preferred equity interests in PHOT. Under these redeemable preferred equity interests, the contributors are eligible to receive up to $4.5 million of profits earned by PHOT, plus a preferred yield (6% per annum) on any of the $4.5 million amount that has not been distributed to them. The Company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer owns 83.3% of the redeemable preferred equity interests in PHOT. Once a total of $4.5 million plus the preferred yield has been distributed to the holders of the redeemable preferred equity interests, the redeemable preferred equity interests will cease to exist. The Company determined that the contributor's carrying value of the eTab net assets (as a common control transaction under GAAP) was not material. Under the guidance for a common control transaction, the contribution of the eTab net assets did not result in a change of entity or the receipt of a business, therefore the Company's financial statements for prior periods have not been adjusted to reflect the historical results attributable to the eTab net assets. Additionally, no material amount was estimated for the fair value of the contributed Cumulus net assets. PHOT is a part of the Company's Integrated Partners reportable segment.

Pursuant to the limited liability company agreement of PHOT, any material future earnings generated by the eTab and Cumulus assets that are attributable to the holders of the preferred equity interests will be reported by the Company as a form of non-controlling interests classified as mezzanine equity on the Company's consolidated balance sheet until $4.5 million and the preferred yield have been distributed to the holders of the preferred equity interests. Subsequent changes, if material, in the value of the NCI will be reported as an equity transaction between the Company's consolidated retained earnings (accumulated deficit) and any carrying value of the non-controlling interests in mezzanine equity. For the year ended December 31, 2020, a total of $250,000 of PHOT's earnings were attributable to the NCIs of PHOT, and this same amount was also distributed in cash to the NCIs during the same reporting period. Accordingly, there is no material amount to classify as mezzanine equity on the Company's consolidated balance sheet at December 31, 2020.

Such amounts were not material to the Company's results of operations, financial position, or cash flows for the period covering February 1, 2019 (date the assets were contributed to the Company) through December 31, 2019, and therefore no recognition of the NCI was reflected in the Company's consolidated financial statements for reporting periods prior to 2020.


Business Combinations in 2018

PayRight

In April 2018, Priority PayRight Health Solutions, LLC ("PPRHS"), a subsidiary of the Company, purchased the majority of the operating assets and certain operating liabilities of PayRight Health Solutions LLC ("PayRight"). This asset purchase was deemed to be a business under ASC 805. This purchase allowed PPRHS to gain control over the PayRight business and therefore the Company's consolidated financial statements include the financial position, results of operations, and cash flows of PayRight from the date of acquisition. PayRight utilizes technology assets to deliver customized payment solutions to the health care industry. The results of the acquired business and goodwill of $0.3 million from the transaction are being reported by the
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Company as part of its Integrated Partners reportable segment. The acquisition resulted in the recognition of intangible and net tangible assets with a fair value of $0.6 million. The Company transferred total consideration with a fair value of $0.9 million consisting of: $0.5 million in cash and forgiveness of amounts owed to the Company by PayRight; $0.3 million fair value of the Company's previous equity-method investment in PayRight described in the following paragraph; and $0.1 million of other consideration. Certain PayRight sellers were provided profit-sharing rights in PayRight as non-controlling interests "NCIs"), however, based on this arrangement no losses or earnings were allocated to the NCIs for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018. At December 31, 2020, all of the NCIs' interest have been redeemed for amounts that were not material.

Previously, in October 2015, the Company purchased a non-controlling interest in the equity of PayRight, and prior to April 2018 the Company accounted for this investment using the equity method of accounting. At January 1, 2018, the Company's carrying value of this investment was $1.1 million. Immediately prior to PPRHS' April 2018 purchase of substantially all of PayRight's business assets, the Company's existing non-controlling investment in PayRight had a carrying value of approximately $1.1 million with an estimated fair value on the acquisition date of approximately $0.3 million. The Company recorded an impairment loss of $0.8 million during the second quarter of 2018 for the difference between the carrying value and the fair value of the non-controlling equity-method investment in PayRight. The loss is reported within Other, net in the Company's consolidated statements of operations for the year ended December 31, 2018.

RadPad and Landlord Station

In July 2018, the Company's subsidiary PRET, acquired substantially all of the operating assets of RadPad Holdings, Inc. ("RadPad") and Landlord Station, LLC ("Landlord Station"). RadPad is a marketplace for the rental real estate market. Landlord Station offers a complementary tool set that focuses on facilitation of tenant screening and other services to the fast-growing independent landlord market. These asset purchases were deemed to be a business under ASC 805. Due to the related nature of the two sets of business assets, same acquisition dates, and how the Company intends to operate them under the "RadPad" name and operating platform within PRET, the Company deemed them to be one business for accounting and reporting purposes. PRET is reported within the Company's Integrated Partners reportable segment.

Total consideration paid for RadPad and Landlord Station was $4.3 million consisting of $3.9 million in cash plus forgiveness of pre-existing debt owed by the sellers to the Company of $0.4 million. Net tangible and separately-identifiable intangible assets with an initial fair value of $2.1 million were acquired along with goodwill with an initial value of $2.2 million. During the fourth quarter of 2018, the Company received additional information about the fair values of assets acquired and liabilities assumed. Accordingly, measurement period adjustments were made to the opening balance sheet to decrease net assets acquired and increase goodwill by $0.2 million.

NCIs in PRET were issued to certain sellers of the RadPad and Landlord Station assets in the form of residual profit interests and distribution rights. However the fair value of these NCIs was deemed to not be material at time of acquisition due to the nature of the profit-sharing and liquidations provisions contained in the operating agreement for PRET. Under the terms of PRET's operating agreement, no material earnings or losses related to RadPad or Landlord Station were attributable to the NCIs for the years ended December 31, 2019 or 2018.

As disclosed in Note 2, Disposal of Business, to the consolidated financial statements, in third quarter 2020 PRET sold substantially all of its assets, composed mostly of the assets acquired from YapStone, Inc. in March 2019, to a third party. This disposal by PRET resulted in the redemptions of PRET's NCIs, including the NCIs that originated from PRET's July 2018 acquisition of the RadPad and Landlord Station assets.

Priority Payment Systems Northeast

In July 2018, the Company acquired substantially all of the operating assets of Priority Payment Systems Northeast, Inc. ("PPS Northeast"). This purchase of these net assets was deemed to be a business under ASC 805. Prior to this acquisition, PPS Northeast was an independent brand-licensed office of the Company where it developed expertise in software-integrated payment services designed to manage turnkey installations of point-of-sale and supporting systems, as well as marketing programs that place emphasis on online ordering systems and digital marketing campaigns. PPS Northeast is reported within the Company's Consumer Payments reportable segment.

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Initial consideration of $3.5 million consisted of $0.5 million plus 285,117 shares of common stock of the Company with a fair value of approximately of $3.0 million. In addition, contingent consideration in an amount up to $0.5 million was deemed to have a fair value of $0.4 million at acquisition date. If earned, the seller can receive this contingent consideration in either cash or additional shares of the Company's common stock, as mutually agreed by the Company and seller, over a two-year period from the date of the acquisition. Net tangible and separately-identifiable intangible assets with an initial fair value of $2.0 million were acquired along with goodwill with an initial value of $1.9 million, including the $0.4 million estimated fair value of the contingent consideration due to the seller. Transaction costs were not material and were expensed. As of December 31, 2020, the Company has determined that it will owe no contingent consideration to the seller, and accrued contingent consideration of approximately $0.2 million was credited to the Company's statements of operations for both years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.

Priority Payment Systems Tech Partners

In August 2018, the Company acquired substantially all of the operating assets of M.Y. Capital, Inc. and Payments In Kind, Inc., collectively doing business as Priority Payment Systems Tech Partners ("PPS Tech"). These related asset purchases were deemed to be a business under ASC 805. Due to the related nature of the two sets of business assets and how the Company intends to operate them, the Company deemed them to be one business for accounting and reporting purposes. Prior to this acquisition, PPS Tech was an independent brand-licensed office of the Company where it developed a track record and extensive network in the integrated payments and B2B marketplaces. PPS Tech is reported within the Company's Consumer Payments reportable segment.

Initial consideration of $5.0 million consisted of $3.0 million plus 190,078 shares of common stock of the Company with a fair value of approximately $2.0 million. In addition, contingent consideration in an amount up to $1.0 million was deemed to have a fair value of $0.6 million at acquisition date. If earned, the seller would have received half of any contingent consideration in cash and the other half in a number of shares of common stock of the Company equal to the portion of the earned contingent consideration payable in shares of common stock of the Company, over a two-year period from the date of acquisition. Net tangible and separately-identifiable intangible assets with an initial fair value of $2.2 million were acquired along with goodwill with an initial value of $3.4 million, including the $0.6 million estimated fair value of the contingent consideration due to the seller. Transaction costs were not material and were expensed. As of December 31, 2020, the Company has determined that it will owe no contingent consideration to the seller, and accrued contingent consideration of approximately $0.2 million and $0.4 million was credited to the Company's statement of operations for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.


Other Information

Based on their purchase prices and pre-acquisition operating results and assets, none of the business combinations consummated by the Company in 2018, as described above, met the materiality requirements for disclosure of pro-forma financial information, either individually or in the aggregate. The measurement periods, as defined by ASC 805, Business Combination ("ASC 805"), is closed for these 2018 business combinations.

Goodwill for all 2018 business combinations is deductible by the Company for income tax purposes.




5.    SETTLEMENT ASSETS AND OBLIGATIONS

Consumer Payments Segment

In the Company’s Consumer Payments reportable segment, funds settlement refers to the process of transferring funds for sales and credits between card issuers and merchants. The standards of the card networks restrict non-members, such as the Company, from performing funds settlement or accessing merchant settlement funds. Instead, these funds must be in the possession of a member bank until the merchant is funded. The Company has agreements with member banks which allow the Company to route transactions under the member bank's control to clear transactions through the card networks. Timing
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differences, interchange fees, merchant reserves and exception items cause differences between the amounts received from the card networks and the amounts funded to the merchants. Since settlement funds are required to be in the possession of a member bank until the merchant is funded, these funds are not assets of the Company and the associated obligations related to these funds are not liabilities of the Company. Therefore, neither is recognized in the Company’s consolidated balance sheets. Member banks held merchant funds of approximately $103.8 million and $79.8 million at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Exception items include items such as customer chargeback amounts received from merchants and other losses. Under agreements between the Company and its merchant customers, the merchants assume liability for such chargebacks and losses. If the Company is ultimately unable to collect amounts from the merchants for any charges or losses due to merchant fraud, insolvency, bankruptcy or any other reason, it may be liable for these charges. In order to mitigate the risk of such liability, the Company may 1) require certain merchants to establish and maintain reserves designed to protect the Company from such charges or losses under its risk-based underwriting policy and 2) engage with certain ISOs in partner programs in which the ISOs assume liability for these charges or losses. A merchant reserve account is funded by the merchant and held by the member bank during the term of the merchant agreement. Unused merchant reserves are returned to the merchant after termination of the merchant agreement or in certain instances upon a reassessment of risks during the term of the merchant agreement.

Exception items that become the liability of the Company are recorded as merchant losses, a component of costs of services in the consolidated statements of operations. Exception items that the Company is still attempting to collect from the merchants through the funds settlement process or merchant reserves are recognized as settlement assets in the Company’s consolidated balance sheets, with an offsetting reserve for those amounts the Company estimates it will not be able to recover. Expenses for actual and estimated merchant losses for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018 were $4.1 million, $3.1 million, and $3.1 million, respectively.

Commercial Payments Segment

In the Company’s Commercial Payments segment, the Company earns revenue from certain of its services by processing ACH transactions for financial institutions and other business customers. Customers transfer funds to the Company, which are held in bank accounts controlled by the Company until such time as the ACH transactions are made. The Company recognizes these cash balances within restricted cash and settlement obligations in its consolidated balance sheets.

The Company's settlement assets and obligations at December 31, 2020 and 2019 were as follows:
(in thousands)December 31, 2020December 31, 2019
Settlement Assets:
Card settlements due from merchants, net of estimated losses$753 $446 
Card settlements due from processors87 
Total Settlement Assets$753 $533 
Settlement Obligations:
Card settlements due to merchants$$44 
Due to ACH payees (1)72,878 37,745 
Total Settlement Obligations$72,878 $37,789 

(1) Amounts due to ACH payees are held by the Company in restricted cash.



6.     NOTES RECEIVABLE

The Company has notes receivable from ISOs and another entity (see Note 13, Related Party Matters) totaling approximately $7.7 million and $5.7 million as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. These notes receivable are reported as current
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and non-current on the Company's consolidated balance sheet. The notes bear a weighted-average interest rate of 13.1% and 12.4% as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.
 
Under the terms of the agreements with ISOs, the Company preserves the right to hold back residual payments due to the ISOs and to apply such residuals against future payments due to the Company. The note receivable due from another entity is secured by business assets and a personal guarantee.

The allowance for doubtful note receivable is shown net of the current outstanding principal balances for notes receivable on the consolidated balance sheet and the $0.5 million provision for doubtful note receivable is included within selling, general and administrative expense on the consolidated statement of operations and within other noncash items, net on the consolidated statement of cash flows.

Principal contractual maturities on the notes receivable, including payment-in-kind interest, at December 31, 2020 were as follows:
(in thousands)
Year Ended December 31,Maturities
2021$2,657 
20221,463 
2023132 
20243,970 
Total principal due8,222 
Discount (long-term)(38)
Allowance for doubtful note receivable (current)(467)
Notes receivable, net$7,717 



7.    GOODWILL AND OTHER INTANGIBLE ASSETS

Goodwill

The Company records goodwill when an acquisition is made and the purchase price is greater than the fair value assigned to the underlying separately-identifiable tangible and intangible assets acquired and the liabilities assumed. The Company's goodwill was allocated to reporting units as follows:

(in thousands)December 31, 2020December 31, 2019
Consumer Payments$106,832 $106,832 
Integrated Partners2,683 
 $106,832 $109,515 


The following table summarizes the changes in the carrying value of goodwill for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018:
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(in thousands)Amount
Balance at January 1, 2018 (all Consumer Payments)$101,532 
Additions for the year ended December 31, 2018:
  PayRight (Integrated Partners)298 
  RadPad/Landlord Station (Integrated Partners)2,385 
  PPS Northeast (Consumer Payments)1,920 
  PPS Tech (Consumer Payments)3,380 
Balance at December 31, 2019 and 2018109,515 
Disposal of goodwill in Integrated Partners reporting unit (Note 2, Disposal of Business)
(2,683)
Balance at December 31, 2020$106,832 

For business combinations consummated during the year ended December 31, 2018, goodwill is deductible for income tax purposes.

There were no impairment losses for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, or 2018. The Company performed its most recent annual goodwill impairment test as of October 1, 2020, as noted below, using the optional qualitative method. On October 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, only one of the Company's reporting units, Consumer Payments, had goodwill assigned to it due to the 2020 events described in Note 2, Disposal of Business.

Effective for the annual reporting period ended December 31, 2020, the Company voluntarily changed the date for its annual goodwill impairment assessment from November 30 to October 1. Both dates occur in the Company’s fourth quarter. The Company believes this prospective change does not represent a material change to a method of applying an accounting principle, even though the carrying value of goodwill is material to the Company’s consolidated financial statements. This change had no effect on the Company’s results of operations, financial condition, or cash flows for any reporting period. By using the October 1 annual assessment date, the Company believes that it will be able to utilize more readily available data from both internal and external sources and have additional time to evaluate the data prior to finalizing its year-end consolidated financial statements and disclosures. Based on the last quantitative assessment performed as of November 30, 2019, the estimated fair value of the Consumer Payments reporting unit exceeded the carrying value of the reporting unit. The Consumer Payments reporting unit passed the qualitative assessment as of October 1, 2020 and the Company believes that it is not more likely than not that the fair value of the Consumer Payments reporting unit is less than its carrying amount on October 1, 2020. This change in the date for the annual impairment assessment for goodwill does not change the Company’s requirements to assess goodwill on an interim date between scheduled annual testing dates if triggering events are present. As of December 31, 2020, the Company is not aware of any triggering events that have occurred since October 1, 2020.


Other Intangible Assets

The Company's other intangible assets include acquired merchant portfolios, customer relationships, ISO relationships, trade names, technology, non-compete agreements, and residual buyouts. For the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company recognized costs, including accrued contingent consideration, of $10.0 million and $3.5 million for merchant portfolios and residual buyouts, respectively. For the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company recognized costs, including accrued contingent consideration, of $69.8 million for merchant portfolios (including $68.7 million related to the asset acquisition from YapStone, Inc.), $19.9 million for residual buyouts, and $1.0 million for technology intangibles.

See Note 4, Asset Acquisitions, Asset Contributions, and Business Combinations, for information about contingent consideration related to acquisitions consummated in 2019 and 2018.

See Note 2, Disposal of Business, for information about intangible assets that were disposed during the year ended December 31, 2020.
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At December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, other intangible assets consisted of the following:
As of December 31,
(in thousands)20202019
Capitalized:
Merchant portfolios$55,816 $114,554 
Customer relationships40,740 40,740 
Residual buyouts116,112 112,731 
Non-compete agreements3,390 3,390 
Trade names2,870 2,870 
Technology14,390 15,390 
ISO relationships15,200 15,200 
Total capitalized$248,518 $304,875 
Less accumulated amortization:
Merchant portfolios$(19,471)$(12,655)
Customer relationships(30,267)(25,836)
Residual buyouts(72,659)(59,796)
Non-compete agreements(3,390)(3,390)
Trade names(1,651)(1,273)
Technology(13,951)(12,758)
ISO relationships(7,319)(6,341)
Total accumulated amortization$(148,708)$(122,049)
Accumulated allowance for impairment$(1,753)$
Net carrying value$98,057 $182,826 



The weighted-average amortization periods for intangible assets held at December 31, 2020 are as follows:

Useful LifeAmortization MethodWeighted-Average Life
Merchant portfolios5 - 6 yearsStraight-line5.5 years
Residual buyouts1 - 9 yearsStraight-line and double declining6.8 years
Non-compete agreements3 yearsStraight-line3.0 years
Trade names5 -12 yearsStraight-line11.6 years
Technology6 - 7 yearsStraight-line6.1 years
ISO relationships11 - 25 yearsSum-of-years digits23.7 years
Customer relationships10 - 15 yearsStraight-line and sum-of-years digits11.0 years

Amortization expense for intangible assets was $33.1 million, $32.4 million, and $14.7 million for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

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The estimated amortization expense of intangible assets as of December 31, 2020 for the next five years and thereafter is:
(in thousands)
Estimated
Year Ending December 31,Amortization Expense
2021$28,216 
202227,066 
202321,280 
202410,126 
20253,671 
Thereafter7,698 
Total$98,057 


Actual amortization expense to be reported in future periods could differ from these estimates as a result of new intangible asset acquisitions, changes in useful lives, and other relevant events or circumstances.

The Company tests intangible assets for impairment when events occur or circumstances indicate that the fair value of an intangible asset or group of intangible assets may be impaired. In the Company's Consumer Payments segment, a residual buyout intangible asset with a net carrying value of $2.2 million was deemed to be impaired at December 31, 2020. The fair value of this intangible asset was estimated to be approximately $0.5 million, resulting in the recognition of an impairment charge of $1.8 million and this amount is included in selling, general and administrative expenses on the Company' consolidated statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2020. This impairment was the result of diminished cash flows generated by the merchant portfolio.

The Company also considered the market conditions generated by the COVID-19 pandemic and concluded that there were no additional impairment indicators present at December 31, 2020.




8.    PROPERTY, EQUIPMENT AND SOFTWARE
 
The Company's property, equipment, and software balance primarily consists of furniture, fixtures, and equipment used in the normal course of business, computer software developed for internal use, and leasehold improvements. Computer software represents purchased software and internally developed back office and merchant interfacing systems used to assist the reporting of merchant processing transactions and other related information.

A summary of property, equipment and software as of December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019 was as follows:

As of December 31,
(in thousands)20202019Estimated Useful Life
Furniture and fixtures$2,795 $2,787 2 - 7 years
Equipment10,216 10,101 3 - 7 years
Computer software44,320 37,440 3 - 5 years
Leasehold improvements6,250 6,367 5 - 10 years
 63,581 56,695  
Less accumulated depreciation(40,706)(33,177) 
Property, equipment and software, net$22,875 $23,518  
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Depreciation expense totaled $7.7 million, $6.6 million, and $5.1 million for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively.



9.    ACCOUNTS PAYABLE AND ACCRUED EXPENSES

The Company accrues for certain expenses that have been incurred and not paid, which are classified within accounts payable and accrued expenses in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets.

The components of accounts payable and accrued expenses that exceeded five percent of total current liabilities at December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019 consisted of the following:
As of December 31,
(in thousands)20202019
Accounts payable - trade$4,308 $6,968 
Accrued card network fees$8,041 $6,950 




10.    LONG-TERM DEBT AND WARRANT LIABILITY

Long-term debt owed by certain subsidiaries (the "Borrowers") of the Company consisted of the following as of December 31, 2012 and December 31, 2019:
As of December 31, 2020
(dollar amounts in thousands)20202019
Senior Credit Agreement:
Term Loan - Matures January 3, 2023 and bears interest at LIBOR (with a LIBOR "floor" of 1.00% beginning March 8, 2020) plus 6.50% and 5.0% at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively (actual rate of 7.50% and 6.71% at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively)$279,417 $388,837 
Revolving credit facility - $25.0 million line, matures January 22, 2022, and bears interest at LIBOR plus 6.50% and 5.0% at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively (actual rate of 6.65% and 6.71% at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively).11,500 
Term Loan - Subordinated, matures July 3, 2023 and bears interest at 5.0% plus an applicable margin at December 31, 2020 and 2019 (actual rate of 12.50% and 10.50% at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively)
102,623 95,142 
Total debt obligations382,040 495,479 
Less: current portion of long-term debt(19,442)(4,007)
Less: unamortized debt discounts and deferred financing costs(4,725)(5,894)
Total long-term debt, net$357,873 $485,578 


Substantially all of the Company's assets are pledged as collateral under the credit agreements. The Company is neither a borrower nor a guarantor of the credit agreements. The Company's subsidiaries that are borrowers or guarantors under the credit agreements are referred to as the "Borrowers."


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Long-Term Debt

On January 3, 2017, the Company refinanced existing long-term debt whereby the Borrowers entered into a credit agreement with a syndicate of lenders (the "Senior Credit Agreement"). The Senior Credit Agreement had an original maximum borrowing amount of $225.0 million, consisting of a $200.0 million term loan and a $25.0 million revolving credit facility. As part of the debt refinancing on January 3, 2017, the Borrowers also entered into a Credit and Guaranty Agreement (the "GS Credit Agreement") with Goldman Sachs Specialty Lending Group, L.P. ("Goldman Sachs" or "GS") for an $80.0 million term loan, the proceeds of which were used to refinance the amounts previously outstanding with Goldman Sachs. The Company determined that the 2017 debt refinancing should be accounted for as a debt extinguishment.


Amendments

The following table summarizes changes made as the results of key amendments to the 2017 credit agreements through December 31, 2020:
(in millions)GS Credit
Senior Credit AgreementAgreementDiscounts and Costs
Additional
AdditionalRevolving
PrincipalLineAmendmentPrincipalIssueCostsCosts
AmendmentEstablishedEstablishedTypeEstablished (a)DiscountExpensed (b)Capitalized
January 2017$200.0 $25.0 Extinguishment$80.0 $3.7 $1.8 $3.3 
January 201867.5 — Modification$0.4 $0.8 $0.7 
December 2018130.0 — Modification$0.3 $1.2 $0.1 
March 2020— Modification$$0.4 $2.7 
$397.5 $25.0 $80.0 

(a) The GS Credit Agreement allows for payment-in-kind interest which subsequently increases the amount outstanding. Beginning with the Sixth Amendment, the Senior Credit Agreement began to allow certain amounts of interest to be treated as payment-in-kind interest and added to the outstanding borrowings balance, as discussed below under the header "Changes to Applicable Interest Rate Margins."

(b) Reported within "Debt extinguishment and modification expenses" on the Company's consolidated statements of operations.


The Senior Credit Agreement and the GS Credit Agreement were also amended on November 14, 2017. This amendment allows for loan advances of less than $5.0 million and for certain liens on cash securing the Company's funding obligations under a new product involving a virtual credit card program. This amendment did not affect any of the material terms, conditions, or covenants of the Senior Credit Agreement or the GS Credit Agreement.

Additionally, two amendments were executed in 2019 that concerned procedural changes to the quarterly and annual reporting for lenders and did not affect any of the material terms, conditions, or covenants of the Senior Credit Agreement or the GS Credit Agreement.


Senior Credit Agreement

Outstanding borrowings under the Senior Credit Agreement accrue interest using either a base rate (as defined) or a LIBOR rate plus an applicable margin, or percentage per annum, as provided in the amended credit agreement. For the term loan facility of the Senior Credit Facility, the Sixth Amendment provides for a LIBOR "floor" of 1.0% per annum. Accrued interest is payable quarterly. The revolving credit facility incurs a commitment fee on any undrawn amount of the $25.0 million credit line, which equates to 0.5% per annum for the unused portion.
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GS Credit Agreement

Outstanding borrowings under the GS Credit Agreement accrue interest at 5.0%, plus an applicable margin, or percentage per annum, as indicated in the amended credit agreement. Accrued interest is payable quarterly at 5.0% per annum, and the accrued interest attributable to the applicable margin is capitalized as payment-in-kind ("PIK") interest each quarter.


Senior Credit Agreement - Partial Pay Down of Term Debt and Changes to Applicable Interest Rate Margins in 2020

Under the Sixth Amendment, the interest rate margins for the Senior Credit Agreement and the GS Credit Agreement increased incrementally by 1.0% on June 16, 2020, and then increased incrementally by 0.5% on each of the dates July 16, August 15, and September 14, 2020 because the Borrowers did not make a permitted accelerated principal payment of at least $100.0 million under the term loan facility of the Senior Credit Agreement on or before those dates as described in the Sixth Amendment (the "$100.0 million principal prepayment"). The additional interest expense incurred by the Borrowers due to the increases in the applicable margin for the revolving credit facility under the Senior Credit Agreement was paid in cash and such increases for the term facility of the Senior Credit Facility and the GS Credit Agreement were accounted for as PIK interest at the election of the Borrowers.

On September 25, 2020, the Borrowers made the $100.0 million principal prepayment plus an additional $6.5 million principal prepayment to reduce the outstanding indebtedness under the term loan facility of the Senior Credit Agreement. This $106.5 million prepayment resulted in simultaneous reductions in the applicable interest rate margins under the Senior Credit Agreement and the GS Credit Agreement, which prospectively eliminates and reverses the applicable margin increases described in the preceding paragraph.

Under the terms of the Senior Credit Agreement and the GS Credit Agreement, the future applicable interest rate margins may vary based on the Borrowers' future Total Net Leverage Ratio (as defined) in addition to future changes in the underlying market rates for LIBOR and the rate used for base-rate borrowings. The Senior Credit Agreement and the GS Credit Agreement also have incremental margins that would apply to the future applicable interest rates if the Borrowers are deemed to be in violation of the terms of the credit agreement.


Contractual Maturities

Principal outstanding at December 31, 2020 for term debt under the Senior Credit Agreement and the GS Credit Agreement are scheduled to be paid as follows:

(in thousands)Principal Due
Senior Credit AgreementGS Credit AgreementTotal
Year Ending December 31,TermRevolverTerm
2021 (current)
$19,442 $$$19,442 
202238,884 38,884 
2023221,091 102,623 323,714 
Total$279,417 $0 $102,623 $382,040 


Additionally, the Company may be obligated to make certain additional mandatory prepayments after the end of each year based on excess cash flow, as defined in the Senior Credit Agreement. No such prepayments were due for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.
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Under the Senior Credit Agreement, prepayments of outstanding principal may be made in permitted increments with a 1.0% penalty for certain prepayments. Under the GS Credit Agreement, prepayment of outstanding principal is subject to a 4.0% penalty for certain prepayments occurring prior to March 18, 2021 and 2.0% for certain prepayments occurring between March 18, 2021 and March 18, 2022. Such penalties will be based on the principal amount that is prepaid, subject to the terms of the credit agreements.

On March 5, 2021, the Company entered into a debt commitment letter with Truist Bank and Truist Securities, Inc., pursuant to which Truist has committed to provide Priority with a new Term Loan Facility and Revolving Credit Facility, which will replace existing Senior loan facilities. Also, on March 5, 2021, the Company entered into a preferred stock commitment letter (the “Equity Commitment Letter”) with Ares Capital Management LLC and Ares Alternative Credit Management LLC to issue preferred stock, the proceeds of which will be partially used to entirely repay our Subordinated Debt Facility. See Note 21, Subsequent Events, for additional information.

PIK Interest

The principal amount borrowed and outstanding under the GS Credit Agreement was $80.0 million at December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019. Included in the outstanding principal balance at December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019 was accumulated PIK interest of $22.6 million and $15.1 million, respectively. For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, the payment-in-kind (PIK) interest under the GS Credit Agreement added $7.5 million and $5.1 million, respectively, to the principal amount outstanding under the GS Credit Agreement.

Interest Expense and Amortization of Deferred Loan Costs and Discounts

Deferred financing costs and debt discount are being amortized using the effective interest method over the remaining term of the respective debt and are recorded as a component of interest expense. Unamortized deferred financing costs and debt discount are included in net long-term debt in the Company's consolidated balance sheets.

Interest expense, including fees for undrawn amounts under the revolving credit facility and amortization of deferred financing costs and debt discounts, was $44.8 million, $40.7 million, and $29.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Interest expense increased due to the amortization of deferred financing costs and debt discounts by $2.4 million, $1.7 million, and $1.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively.

Interest expense for the year ended December 31, 2019 also included a $0.4 million fee for the $70.0 million delayed principal draw under December 2018 amendment to the Senior Credit Agreement, which occurred during the first quarter of 2019.


Debt Extinguishment and Debt Modification Expenses

In addition to the $0.4 million of expenses associated with amounts paid to third parties related to the debt modification that occurred in March 2020, debt modification and extinguishment expenses for the year ended December 2020 also included the write off of certain previously deferred loan costs. The $106.5 million principal repayment made in September 2020 for the term facility of the Senior Credit Agreement was deemed to be a partial extinguishment of debt that was permitted and contemplated by the existing debt agreement, as previously amended. As a result, a proportional amount of unamortized loan costs and discount in the amount of $1.5 million were removed and expensed during the year ended December 31, 2020.


Covenants

The Senior Credit Agreement and the GS Credit Agreement, as amended, contain representations and warranties, financial and collateral requirements, mandatory payment events, events of default, and affirmative and negative covenants, including without limitation, covenants that restrict among other things, the ability to create liens, pay dividends or distribute assets from the Company's subsidiaries to the Company, merge or consolidate, dispose of assets, incur additional indebtedness, make certain investments or acquisitions, enter into certain transactions (including with affiliates), and to enter into certain leases.

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The Company is also required to comply with certain restrictions on its Total Net Leverage Ratio, which is defined in the credit agreements as the ratio of consolidated total debt of the Borrowers to the Company's consolidated adjusted EBITDA (as defined in the Senior Credit Agreement and GS Credit Agreement). The maximum permitted Total Net Leverage Ratio was 7.75:1.00 at December 31, 2020. As of December 31, 2020, the Company remained in compliance with the covenants.
The table below sets forth the maximum permitted Total Net Leverage Ratio for the indicated test periods:
Test Period EndingTotal Net Leverage Ratio Maximum Permitted
December 31, 20207.75 : 1.00
March 31, 20217.71 : 1.00
June 30, 20217.44 : 1.00
September 30, 20217.19 : 1.00
December 31, 20217.00 : 1.00
March 31, 20226.75 : 1.00
June 30, 20226.72 : 1.00
September 30, 2022 to December 31, 20226.50 : 1.00
Each test period thereafter5.50 : 1.00

Redeemed Goldman Sachs Warrant ("GS Warrant")

In connection with the prior GS Credit Agreement, Priority Holdings, LLC issued a warrant to GS to purchase 1.0% of Priority Holdings, LLC's outstanding Class A common units. As part of the 2017 debt amendment, the 1.0% warrant with GS was extinguished and Priority Holdings, LLC issued a new warrant to GS to purchase 1.8% of Priority Holding, LLC's outstanding Class A common units. As of December 31, 2017, the warrant had a fair value of $8.7 million and was presented as a warrant liability in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets.

On January 11, 2018, the 1.8% warrant was amended to provide GS with a warrant to purchase 2.2% of Priority Holdings, LLC's outstanding Class A common units. The change in the warrant percentage was the result of anti-dilution provisions in the warrant agreement, which were triggered by Priority Holdings, LLC's Class A common unit redemption that occurred during the first quarter of 2018. The warrant had a term of 7 years and an exercise price of $0. Since the obligation was based solely on the fact that the 2.2% interest in equity of Priority Holdings, LLC was fixed and known at inception as well as the fact that GS could exercise the warrant with a settlement in cash any time prior to the expiration date of December 31, 2023, the warrant was recorded as a liability in the Company's historical financial statements prior to redemption on July 25, 2018. On July 25, 2018, Priority Holdings, LLC and GS agreed to redeem the warrant in full in exchange for $12.7 million in cash.



11.    INCOME TAXES

In connection with the Business Combination as disclosed in Note 1, Nature of Business and Accounting Policies, the partnership tax status was terminated on July 25, 2018. Under the former partnership status, Priority Holdings, LLC was a dual member limited liability company and as such its financial statements reflected no income tax provisions as a pass-through entity. As a result of the Business Combination, for income tax purposes Priority Holdings, LLC became a disregarded subsidiary of the Company, the successor entity to MI Acquisitions, Inc., whereby its operations became taxable. For all periods subsequent to the Business Combination, the income tax provision reflects the taxable status of the Company as a corporation. The initial net deferred tax asset from the Business Combination is the result of the difference between initial tax basis, generally substituted tax basis, and the reflective carrying amounts of the assets and liabilities for financial statement purposes. The net deferred tax asset as of July 25, 2018 was approximately $47.5 million, which was recorded and classified on the Company's consolidated balance sheet in accordance with ASU 2015-17 and as an adjustment to Additional Paid-In Capital in
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the Company's consolidated statement of changes in stockholders' deficit. In addition, the Company's consolidated financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2018 presented herein reflects unaudited pro-forma income tax disclosure amounts to illustrate the income tax effects had the Company been subject to federal and state income taxes for the full year 2018.
Components of consolidated income tax expense (benefit) for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018 was as follows:
For the Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)202020192018
U.S. current income tax expense (benefit)
    Federal$4,766 $(11)$29 
    State and local3,173 75 418 
    Total current income tax expense$7,939 $64 $447 
U.S. deferred income tax expense (benefit)
    Federal$3,875 $1,920 $(2,541)
    State and local(915)(1,154)(396)
    Total deferred income tax expense (benefit)$2,960 $766 (2,937)
    Total income tax expense (benefit)$10,899 $830 $(2,490)

The Company's consolidated effective income tax rate was 13.3% for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to an consolidated effective income tax benefit rate of 2.5% for the year ended December 31, 2019. For the year ended December 31, 2018, the Company's consolidated effective income tax rate was 12.5%. The effective rate for 2020 differed from the statutory rate of 21% primarily due to earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests and valuation allowance changes against certain business interest carryover deferred tax assets. The effective rate for 2019 differed from the statutory federal rate of 21% primarily due to valuation allowance changes against certain business interest carryover deferred tax assets. The effective rate for 2018 differed from the statutory federal rate of 21% primarily due to the partnership status of Priority Holdings, LLC. for periods prior to July 25, 2018. The following table provides a reconciliation of the consolidated income tax expense (benefit) at the statutory U.S. federal tax rate to actual consolidated income tax expense (benefit) for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018:
For the Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)202020192018
U.S. federal statutory (benefit)$17,211 $(6,879)$(4,268)
Non-controlling interests(5,626)
Earnings as dual-member LLC1,643 
State and local income taxes, net1,140 (1,564)(2)
Excess tax benefits pursuant to ASU 2016-09(37)309 140 
Valuation allowance changes(2,945)9,302 (66)
Intangible assets1,056 
Nondeductible items233 125 86 
Tax credits(283)(323)(123)
Other, net150 (140)100 
Income tax expense (benefit)$10,899 $830 $(2,490)


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Deferred income taxes reflect the expected future tax consequences of temporary differences between the financial statement carrying amount of the Company's assets and liabilities, tax credits and their respective tax bases, and loss carry forwards. The significant components of consolidated deferred income taxes were as follows:
As of December 31,
(in thousands)20202019
Deferred Tax Assets:
Accruals and reserves$1,499 $1,566 
Intangible assets49,558 53,600 
Net operating loss carryforwards436 4,114 
Interest limitation carryforwards6,295 9,266 
Other2,115 1,877 
Gross deferred tax assets59,903 70,423 
     Valuation allowance(7,200)(10,144)
     Total deferred tax assets52,703 60,279 
Deferred Tax Liabilities:
Prepaid assets(973)(521)
Investments in partnership(19)(5,408)
Property and equipment(5,014)(4,693)
Total deferred tax liabilities(6,006)(10,622)
Net deferred tax assets$46,697 $49,657 


In accordance with the provisions of ASC 740, Income Taxes ("ASC 740"), the Company provides a valuation allowance against deferred tax assets when it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. The assessment considers all available positive and negative evidence and is measured quarterly. As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, the Company had a consolidated valuation allowance of approximately $7.2 million and $10.1 million, respectively, against certain deferred income tax assets related to business interest deduction carryovers and Business Combination costs that the Company believes are not more likely than not to be realized.
The Company recognizes the tax effects of uncertain tax positions only if such positions are more likely than not to be sustained based solely upon its technical merits at the reporting date. The Company refers to the difference between the tax benefit recognized in its financial statements and the tax benefit claimed in the income tax return as an "unrecognized tax benefit." As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, the net amounts of our unrecognized tax benefits were not material.

The Company is subject to U.S. federal income tax and income tax in multiple state jurisdictions. Tax periods for 2017 and all years thereafter remain open to examination by the federal and state taxing jurisdictions and tax periods for 2016 and all years thereafter remain open for certain state taxing jurisdictions to which the Company is subject.

At December 31, 2020, the Company has utilized all of its federal NOL carryforwards of approximately $26.5 million. Also, at December 31, 2020 and 2019, the Company had state NOL carryforwards of approximately $6.2 million and $19.5 million, respectively, with expirations dates ranging from 2023 to 2044.

On December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ("Tax Act") was enacted. The Tax Act included a number of changes to existing U.S. tax laws. The most notable provisions of the Tax Act that impacted the Company included a reduction of the U.S. corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% and the limitations on interest deductibility, both effective January 1, 2018, as well as immediate expensing for certain assets placed into service after September 27, 2017. The Company did not experience any material impacts of the provisions of the Tax Act for the year ended December 31, 2018 other than the impact of the reduction
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of the U.S. corporate rate from 35% to 21% and the limitation on interest deductibility. As of December 31, 2018, the Company had completed the accounting for the income tax effects of all elements of the Tax Act in accordance with the SEC's Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 118.

The Company has historically been impacted by the new interest deductibility rule under the Tax Act. This rule disallows interest expense to the extent it exceeds 30% of adjusted taxable income “ATI”, as defined. In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act") was enacted, which among other provisions, provides for the increase of the 163(j) ATI limitation from 30% to 50% for tax years 2019 and 2020. As a result of its earnings and the enactment of the CARES Act during 2020, the Company has fully utilized its federal, and the majority of its state, interest deduction limitation carryforwards of $21.2 million and $11.0 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.


12.    COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES

Leases

The Company has various operating leases for office space and equipment. These leases range in terms from 2 years to 16 years. Most of these leases are renewable at expiration, subject to terms acceptable to the lessors and the Company.

Future minimum lease commitments under non-cancelable operating leases with initial or remaining terms in excess of one year are as follows at December 31, 2020:
(in thousands)
Due InAmount Due
2021$1,356 
20221,307 
20231,356 
20241,394 
20251,367 
Thereafter2,388 
Total$9,168 


Total rent expenses for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018 was $2.5 million, $2.0 million, and $1.9 million, respectively, which is included in selling, general and administrative expenses in the Company's consolidated statements of operations.


Minimum Annual Commitments with Third-Party Processors

The Company has multi-year agreements with third parties to provide certain payment processing services to the Company. The Company pays processing fees under these agreements that are based on the volume and dollar amounts of processed payments transactions. Some of these agreements have minimum annual requirements for processing volumes. As of December 31, 2020, the Company is committed to pay minimum processing fees under these agreements of approximately $7.0 million over the next year.


Merchant Reserves

See Note 5, Settlement Assets and Obligations, for information about merchant reserves.

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Commitment to Lend

See Note 13Related Party Matters, for information on a loan commitment extended by the Company to another entity.


Contingent Consideration

See Note 4, Asset Acquisitions, Asset Contributions, and Business Combinations, for information about contingent consideration related to acquisitions consummated in 2019 and 2018.


Legal Proceedings

The Company is involved in certain legal proceedings and claims which arise in the ordinary course of business. In the opinion of the Company and based on consultations with inside and outside counsel, the results of any of these matters, individually and in the aggregate, are not expected to have a material effect on the Company's results of operations, financial condition, or cash flows. As more information becomes available, and the Company determines that an unfavorable outcome is probable on a claim and that the amount of probable loss that the Company will incur on that claim is reasonably estimable, the Company will record an accrued expense for the claim in question. If and when the Company records such an accrual, it could be material and could adversely impact the Company's results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows.




13.    RELATED PARTY MATTERS


Contributed Assets of eTab and Cumulus

See Note 4, Asset Acquisitions, Asset Contributions, and Business Combinations, for information about the contributions from related parties of certain assets and liabilities of eTab and Cumulus.


Loan with Warrant

During 2019, the Company, through one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries, executed an interest-bearing loan and commitment agreement with another entity. The Company loaned the entity a total of $3.5 million during 2019, with a commitment to loan up to $10.0 million based on certain growth metrics of the entity and continued compliance by the entity with the terms and covenants of the agreement. The Company's commitment to make additional advances under the loan agreement is dependent upon such advances not conflicting with covenants or restrictions under any of the Company's debt or other applicable agreements. Amounts loaned to this entity by the Company are secured by substantially all of the assets of the entity and by a personal guarantee. The note receivable has an interest rate of 12.0% per annum and is repayable in full in May 2024. The Company also received a warrant to purchase a non-controlling interest in this entity's equity at a fixed amount. The loan agreement also gives the Company certain rights to purchase some or all of this entity's equity in the future, at the entity's then-current fair value. The fair values of the warrant, loan commitment, and purchase right were not material at inception or at December 31, 2020.


Prior Management Services Agreement

During the year ended December 31, 2018, Priority Holdings, LLC had a management services agreement with PSD Partners LP, which is owned by Mr. Thomas Priore, the Company's President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. The Company incurred total expenses of $1.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 related to management service fees, annual bonus
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payout, and occupancy fees, which are recorded in selling, general and administrative expenses in the Company's consolidated statements of operations.


Due from Members of Priority Holdings, LLC

As noted in Note 1, Nature of Business and Accounting Policies, on July 25, 2018 the owners of Priority Holdings, LLC contributed their member equity interests in exchange for the issuance of MI Acquisitions Inc.'s common stock, and MI Acquisitions, Inc. simultaneously changed its name to Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. Subsequent to July 25, 2018, the Company has made cash payments to, and received cash refund payments from, the former owners of Priority Holdings, LLC, mostly related to pass-through tax amounts for periods prior to July 25, 2018. At December 31, 2020 and 2019, the net amounts receivable from these parties were approximately $0.2 million and $0.2 million, respectively.


Underwriting Commissions

During the year ended December 31, 2018, the Company paid and capitalized in additional paid-in capital underwriting commissions of $8.0 million related to the recapitalization. See Note 14, Stockholders' Deficit.


Call Right

The Company's President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman was given the right to require any of the founders of MI Acquisitions to sell all or a portion of their Company securities at a call-right purchase price, payable in cash. The call right purchase price for common stock will be based on the greater of: 1) $10.30; 2) a preceding volume-weighted average closing price (as defined in the governing document); or 3) a subsequent volume-weighted average closing price (as defined in the governing document). The call right purchase price for warrants will be determined by the greater of: 1) a preceding volume-weighted average closing price (as defined in the governing document) of the called security or 2) a subsequent volume-weighted average closing price of the called security. For the Company, the call right does not constitute a financial instrument or derivative under GAAP since it does not represent an asset or obligation of the Company, however the Company discloses it as a related party matter.


14.    STOCKHOLDERS' DEFICIT

As disclosed in Note 1, Nature of Business and Accounting Policies, on July 25, 2018, the Company executed the Business Combination which was accounted for as a "reverse merger" between Priority Holdings, LLC and MI Acquisitions, resulting in the Recapitalization of the Company's equity. The combined entity was renamed Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.
Common and Preferred Stock

For periods prior to July 25, 2018, equity has been retroactively revised to reflect the number of shares received as a result of the Recapitalization.
The equity structure of the Company was as follows as of December 31, 2020 and 2019:
(shares in thousands)December 31, 2020December 31, 2019
AuthorizedIssuedOutstandingAuthorizedIssuedOutstanding
Common stock, par value $0.0011,000,000 67,84267,3911,000,000 67,51267,061
Preferred stock, par value $0.001100,000 100,000 

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The difference between the issued and outstanding common stock at December 31, 2020 and 2019 is due to 451,224 shares of treasury stock held by the Company.

In connection with the Business Combination and Recapitalization, the following occurred in 2018:

In exchange for the 4.6 million common units of Priority Holdings, LLC, 60.1 million shares of common stock were issued in a private placement that resulted in the Company receiving approximately $49.4 million. The 60.1 million shares exclude 0.5 million shares issued as partial consideration in 2 business acquisitions (see Note 4, Asset Acquisitions, Asset Contributions, and Business Combinations) and includes 3.0 million shares issued in connection with the 2014 Management Incentive Plan (see Note 15, Share-Based Compensation).
Approximately 4.9 million shares of common stock were deemed to have been issued through share conversion in exchange for the publicly-traded shares of MI Acquisitions that originated from MI Acquisitions' 2016 IPO.
$2.1 million was paid to MI Acquisitions' founding shareholders (the "MI Founders") in exchange for 421,107 units and 453,210 shares of common stock held by the MI Founders. Each unit consisted of 1 share and 1 warrant of MI Acquisitions.
The MI Founders forfeited 174,863 shares of their common stock.

At December 31, 2018, the Company had 67,038,304 shares of common stock outstanding, of which: 1) 60,071,200 shares were issued in the Recapitalization through the private placement; 2) 874,317 shares were transferred to the sellers of Priority Holdings, LLC that were purchased from the MI Founders; 3) 4,918,138 shares were issued in MI Acquisitions' 2016 IPO; 4) 699,454 shares were issued to the MI Founders; and 5) 475,195 shares were issued as partial consideration for 2 business acquisitions. Certain holders of common stock from the private placement may be subject to holding period restrictions under applicable securities laws.

During the second quarter of 2019, the Company repurchased a total of 451,224 shares of its common stock at an average price of $5.29 per share. Total cash paid by the Company was approximately $2.4 million. The repurchases were authorized under a December 2018 resolution by the Company's board of directors, which expired during the second quarter of 2019.

Except as otherwise required by law or as otherwise provided in any certificate of designation for any series of preferred stock, the holders of the Company's common stock possess all voting power for the election of members of the Company's board of directors and all other matters requiring stockholder action and will at all times vote together as one class on all matters submitted to a vote of the Company's stockholders. Holders of the Company's common stock are entitled to 1 vote per share on matters to be voted on by stockholders. Holders of the Company's common stock will be entitled to receive such dividends and other distributions, if any, as may be declared from time to time by the Company's board of directors in its discretion. Since the Business Combination and Recapitalization, the Company has neither declared nor paid dividends. The holders of the Company's common stock have no conversion, preemptive or other subscription rights and there is no sinking fund or redemption provisions applicable to the common stock.

The Company is authorized to issue 100,000,000 shares of preferred stock with such designations, voting and other rights and preferences as may be determined from time to time by the board of directors. As of December 31, 2020, the Company has not issued any shares of preferred stock.

Warrants issued by MI Acquisitions

Prior to July 25, 2018, MI Acquisitions issued warrants that allow the holders to purchase up to 5,731,216 shares of the Company's common stock at an exercise price of $11.50 per share, subject to certain adjustments (5,310,109 of these warrants were designated as "public warrants" and 421,107 were designated as "private warrants"). The warrants, which survived the Business Combination, may be exercised before August 24, 2023, which is the end of the five-year period that commenced 30 days after the Business Combination of July 25, 2018. The Company has the option to redeem all (and not less than all) of the outstanding public warrants at any time from and after the warrants become exercisable, and prior to their expiration, at the price of $0.01 per warrant; provided that the last sales price of the Company's common stock has been equal to or greater than $16.00 per share (subject to adjustment for splits, dividends, recapitalizations and other similar events), for any 20 trading days within a 30 trading day period ending on the third business day prior to the date on which notice of redemption is given and
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provided further that (i) there is a current registration statement in effect with respect to the shares of common stock underlying the public warrants for each day in the 30-day trading period and continuing each day thereafter until the redemption date or (ii) the cashless exercise is exempt from the registration requirements under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. The warrants are classified as equity for accounting purposes.
In August 2018, the Company was informed by Nasdaq that Nasdaq intended to delist the Company's outstanding warrants and units due to an insufficient number of round lot holders for the public warrants. The Company subsequently filed a Registration Statement on Form S-4 with the SEC for the purpose of offering holders of the Company's outstanding 5,310,109 public warrants and 421,107 private warrants the opportunity to exchange each warrant for 0.192 shares of the Company's common stock. The exchange offer expired in February 2019 resulting in approximately 2.2 million warrants being tendered during 2019 in exchange for approximately 0.4 million shares of the Company's common stock plus cash in lieu of fractional shares. Nasdaq proceeded to delist the remaining outstanding warrants and units, which were comprised of one share of common stock and one warrant, from The Nasdaq Global Market at the open of business on March 6, 2019. The delisting of the remaining outstanding warrants and units had no impact on the Company's financial statements.

Purchase option issued by MI Acquisitions
Prior to July 25, 2018, a purchase option was sold to an underwriter by MI Acquisitions for consideration of $100. The purchase option, which survived the Business Combination, allows the holder to purchase up to a total of 300,000 units (each consisting of a share of common stock and a public warrant) exercisable at $12.00 per unit. The purchase option expires on August 24, 2023, which is the end of the five-year period that commenced 30 days after the Business Combination of July 25, 2018. The purchase option is classified as equity for accounting purposes. No exercises have occurred through December 31, 2020.

2018 Business Combination and Recapitalization Costs
In connection with the Business Combination and Recapitalization, the Company incurred $13.3 million in fees and expenses, of which $9.7 million of recapitalization costs were charged to Additional Paid in Capital in 2018 since these costs were less than the cash received in conjunction with the Recapitalization costs and were directly related to the issuance of equity for the Recapitalization. These costs are presented as Recapitalization costs in the accompanying consolidated statements of changes in stockholders' deficit. The remaining $3.6 million of expenses were related to the Business Combination and are presented in selling, general and administrative expenses in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations.

2018 Equity Events for Priority Holdings, LLC that Occurred Prior to July 25, 2018 (date of Business Combination)


On January 31, 2017, Priority entered into a redemption agreement with one of its minority unit holders to redeem their former Class A common membership units for a total redemption price of $12.2 million. Priority accounted for the Common Unit Repurchase Obligation as a liability because it was required to redeem these former Class A common units for cash. The liability was recorded at fair value at the date of the redemption agreement, which was equal to the redemption value. Under this agreement, Priority redeemed $3.0 million of 69,450 former Class A common units in April 2017. The remaining $9.2 million was redeemed through the January 17, 2018 redemption of 115,751 former Class A common units for $5.0 million and the February 23, 2018 redemption of 96,999 former Class A common units for $4.2 million.

In addition to the aforementioned redemptions, Priority redeemed 295,834 former Class A common units for $25.9 million on January 17, 2018 and 445,410 former Class A common units for $39.0 million on January 19, 2018. As a result of the aforementioned redemptions, Priority was 100% owned by Priority Investment Holdings, LLC and Priority Incentive Equity Holdings, LLC until July 25, 2018.

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The former Class A common units redeemed in January and February 2018 were then canceled by Priority. The redemption transactions and the amended and restated operating agreement resulted in one unit-holder gaining control and becoming the majority unit holder of the Company. These changes in the equity structure of Priority were recorded as capital transactions.

For the year ended December 31, 2018, Priority recorded distributions to its members of $7.1 million prior to the Business Combination.


15.    SHARE-BASED COMPENSATION

During 2020, 2019 and 2018, the Company had 3 share-based compensation plans: 2018 Equity Incentive Plan; Earnout Incentive Plan; and 2014 Management Incentive Plan. Total share-based compensation expense, for both equity-classified and liability-classified awards, was approximately $2.4 million, $3.7 million, $1.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively, which is included in salary and employee benefits in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations. For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, the Company recognized an income tax benefit of approximately $0.4 million, $0.5 million and $0.1 million, respectively, for share-based compensation expense.

For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, share-based compensation was recognized by plan as follows:
Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)202020192018
Plan:
2018 Equity Incentive Plan$2,430 $2,385 $187 
Earnout Incentive Plan
2014 Management Incentive Plan1,267 1,462 
Total$2,430 $3,652 $1,649 

NaN share-based compensation has been capitalized. Beginning in 2018, the Company elected to recognize the effects of forfeitures on compensation expense as the forfeitures occur for all plans.


2018 Equity Incentive Plan

The 2018 Equity Incentive Plan ("2018 Plan") was approved by the Company's board of directors and shareholders in July 2018. The 2018 Plan provides for the issuance of up to 6,685,696 of the Company's common stock, and these shares were registered on a Form S-8 during 2018. Under the 2018 Plan, the Company's compensation committee may grant awards of non-qualified stock options, incentive stock options, stock appreciation rights ("SARs"), restricted stock awards, restricted stock units RSU), other share-based awards (including cash bonus awards) or any combination of the foregoing. Any current or prospective employees, officers, consultants or advisors that the Company's compensation committee (or, in the case of non-employee directors, the Company's board of directors) selects, from time to time, are eligible to receive awards under the 2018 Plan. If any award granted under the 2018 Plan expires, terminates, or is canceled or forfeited without being settled or exercised, or if a SAR is settled in cash or otherwise without the issuance of shares, shares of the Company's common stock subject to such award will again be made available for future grants. In addition, if any shares are surrendered or tendered to pay the exercise price of an award or to satisfy withholding taxes owed, such shares will again be available for grants under the 2018 Plan.


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A summary of the activity in stock units for the 2018 Plan that occurred during the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 is as follows:
6,685,696 Common stock authorized for the 2018 Plan
(2,044,815)Stock options granted in December 2018
7,558 Stock option grants forfeited in 2018
(202,200)RSUs granted in 2018
4,446,239 Common stock available for issuance under the 2018 Plan at December 31, 2018
326,173 Stock option grants forfeited in 2019
(36,657)RSUs granted in 2019
60,421 RSUs forfeited in 2019
4,796,176 Common stock available for issuance under the 2018 Plan at December 31, 2019
(15,000)Stock options granted in 2020
220,045 Stock option grants forfeited in 2020
(1,031,740)RSUs granted in 2020
(128,624)RSU granted in 2020 with performance goals that have not been determined
21,277 RSUs forfeited in 2020
3,862,134 Common stock available for issuance under the 2018 Plan at December 31, 2020

    
The above table does not reflect a liability-classified award with an estimated fair value of $0.8 million included in accounts payable and accrued expenses in the consolidated balance sheet at December 31, 2020.

    
Stock Options

Substantially all stock options grants were granted in December 2018 when the Company issued stock option grants to substantially all of the Company's employees at the time, excluding the Company's executive officers. The stock options issued in December 2018 vest as follows: 50% on July 27, 2019; 25% on July 27, 2020; and 25% on July 27, 2021. If a participant terminates employment with the Company, vested options may be exercised for a short period of time while unvested options are forfeited. However, in any event, a stock option will expire ten years from date of grant.

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Details about the time-based equity-classified stock options granted under the plan are as follows:
Weighted-
Options foraverageWeighted-averageAggregate
number ofexerciseremainingintrinsic value
sharespricecontractual terms(in thousands)
Outstanding, January 1, 2018
Granted in 20182,044,815 $6.95 
Exercised in 2018
Forfeited in 2018(7,558)$6.95 
Expired in 2018
Outstanding, December 31, 20182,037,257 $6.95 9.6 years$2,139 
Granted in 2019
Exercised in 2019
Forfeited or expired in 2019(326,173)$6.95 
Outstanding, December 31, 20191,711,084 $6.95 8.6 years$
Granted in 202015,000 $2.47 
Exercised in 2020
Forfeited or expired in 2020(220,045)$6.95 
Outstanding, December 31, 20201,506,039 $6.91 7.8 years$203 
Vested and Expected to Vest1,506,039 $6.91 7.8 years$203 
Exercisable at December 31, 20201,125,755 $6.95 7.8 years$101 


NaN stock options have been exercised as of December 31, 2020. For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, compensation expense of $0.8 million, $2.0 million and $0.2 million was recognized for stock option grants. As of December 31, 2020, there was approximately $0.4 million of unrecognized compensation cost related to stock options, which is expected to be recognized over a remaining weighted-average period of 0.7 years.

The table below presents the assumptions used to calculate the fair value of the stock options issued in 2020 and 2018:
20202018
Expected volatility94 %30 %
Risk-free interest rate0.5 %2.4 %
Expected term (years)7.54.3
Dividend yield%%
Exercise price$2.47$6.95

NaN stock options were granted in 2019.





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Equity-Classified Restricted Stock Units

UnderlyingWeighted-average(in thousands)
CommonGrant-dateAggregate
SharesFair ValueFair Value
Service-based vesting:
Unvested at January 1, 2018
Granted in 2018107,142 $7.00 $750 
Unvested at December 31, 2018107,142 
Granted in 201936,657 $6.82 $250 
Vested in 2019(53,571)$171 
Forfeited in 2019(36,657)$6.82 
Unvested at December 31, 201953,571 
Granted in 2020892,142 $2.93 $2,617 
Forfeited in 2020(21,277)$2.35 
Vested in 2020(328,035)$1,150 
Unvested at December 31, 2020596,401 
Performance-based vesting:
Unvested at January 1, 2018
Granted in 201895,057 $10.52 $1,000 
Unvested at December 31, 201895,057 
Forfeited in 2019(23,674)$10.52 
Unvested at December 31, 201971,383 
Granted in 2020 (a) (b)139,598 $2.56 $358 
Forfeited in 2020(71,383)$10.52 
Unvested at December 31, 2020139,598 

(a) Includes only the portions of grants for which the performance goals have been determined and communicated to the grant recipient. For the portions of any grants for which the required performance goals have not been determined and communicated to the grant recipient, a grant has not yet occurred for accounting purposes.

(b) Does not include a liability-classified performance-based RSU award with an estimated fair value of $0.8 million.


As of December 31, 2020, there was approximately $1.6 million and $0.2 million of unrecognized compensation cost for equity-classified service-based RSUs and performance-based RSUs, respectively, and these costs are expected to be recognized over a weighted-average period of 2.2 years and 2.6 years, respectively.


Liability-Classified Share-Based Arrangement
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In March 2020, the compensation committee of the Company's board of directors provided performance goals and achievement criteria to its CEO and Chairman. If these performance goals are met, the Company has committed to issue an RSU grant with a target fair value of $0.8 million on the future grant date, which occurred in the first quarter of 2021. The Company began accruing compensation expense in 2020 and through December 31, 2020 has accrued an aggregate of $0.3 million for this liability-classified award.

Earnout Incentive Plan

The Company's Earnout Incentive Plan (the "EIP") expired on December 31, 2019. NaN shares were issued under the EIP. During the fourth quarter of 2019, a total of 95,057 RSUs expired under the EIP with a grant-date fair value of $10.52 each (these grants were in addition to the 95,057 RSUs issued under the 2018 Plan, as previously noted above). Prior to December 31, 2019, it was not probable that the performance metrics would be achieved, thus 0 compensation expense was recognized for these RSUs for any reporting period.

2014 Management Incentive Plan

The Priority Holdings Management Incentive Plan (the "MIP") was established in 2014 to issue share-based compensation awards to selected employees. Simultaneously with the Business Combination and Recapitalization (see Note 14, Stockholders' Deficit), the fair value of the outstanding equity awards under the MIP were exchanged for approximately 3.0 million shares of common stock of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. having approximately the same fair value. As such, this exchange was not deemed to be a modification for accounting purposes. During the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company elected to accelerate vesting for all remaining unvested awards under the MIP, resulting in accelerated compensation expense. Compensation expense under the MIP was approximately $1.3 million and $1.5 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, there was 0 unrecognized compensation cost for the MIP and 0 grants remain outstanding under this plan.



16.    EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS

The Company sponsors a 401(k) defined contribution savings plan that covers substantially all of its eligible employees. Under the plan, the Company contributes safe-harbor matching contributions to eligible plan participants on an annual basis. The Company may also contribute additional discretionary amounts to plan participants. The Company's contributions to the plan were $1.3 million, $1.3 million, and $0.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively.

The Company offers a comprehensive medical benefit plan to eligible employees. All obligations under the plan are fully insured through third-party insurance companies. Employees participating in the medical plan pay a portion of the costs for the insurance benefits.


17.    FAIR VALUE

Fair Value Measurements

The following is a description of the valuation methodologies used for contingent consideration for business combinations and for the Goldman Sachs warrant prior to its July 2018 redemption (see Note 10, Long-Term Debt and Warrant Liability), both of which were initially recorded and remeasured at fair value at the end of each reporting period. The contingent consideration for business combinations are related to acquisitions made in 2018 and the contingency periods have expired at December 31, 2020. The Goldman Sachs warrant was fully redeemed in July 2018. Accordingly, at December 31, 2020, the Company no longer has any fair value estimates that are remeasured at the end of each reporting period.
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Redeemed Goldman Sachs Warrant

Prior to its redemption in July 2018, the Goldman Sachs warrant was classified as level 3 in the fair value hierarchy. Historically, the fair value of the Goldman Sachs warrant was estimated based on the fair value of Priority Holdings, LLC using a weighted-average of values derived from generally accepted valuation techniques, including market approaches, which consider the guideline public company method, the guideline transaction method, the recent funding method, and an income approach, which considers discounted cash flows. Priority Holdings, LLC adjusted the carrying value of the warrant to fair value as determined by the valuation model and recognized the change in fair value as an increase or decrease in interest and other expense. On July 25, 2018, the Goldman Sachs warrant was fully redeemed in exchange for $12.7 million cash, which resulted in a gain of $0.1 million, as the value of the Goldman Sachs warrant immediately prior to the cancellation was $12.8 million.


Contingent Consideration for Business Combinations

The initial estimated fair value of approximately $1.0 million for the contingent consideration related to the 2018 business combinations for PPS Tech and PPS Northeast (see Note 4, Asset Acquisitions, Asset Contributions, and Business Combinations) were based on a weighted payout probability at the measurement date, which falls within Level 3 on the fair value hierarchy since these recurring fair value measurements are based on significant unobservable inputs. The probabilities used to estimate the payout probability of the contingent consideration for the 2 business combinations ranged between 15% and 35% for one and between 5.0% and 80% for the other. The weighted average probabilities were based on present value of estimated projections for financial metrics for the remaining earnout periods. At December 31, 2019 and 2018, the fair value of this contingent consideration was estimated to be an aggregate of approximately $0.4 million and $1.0 million, respectively. During the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, the carrying values of these contingent consideration arrangements were reduced by approximately $0.4 million and $0.6 million, respectively, and these amounts are reported within selling, general and administrative expense on the Company's consolidated statements of operations. The Company paid no amounts under either of these earnout arrangements which expired during the year ended December 31, 2020.

The following table shows a reconciliation of the beginning and ending balances for liabilities measured at fair value on a recurring basis using significant unobservable inputs that are classified as Level 3 in the fair value hierarchy for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018:
(in thousands)Warrant LiabilityContingent Consideration
Balance at January 1, 2018$8,701 $0 
Extinguishment of GS 1.8% warrant liability (Note 10)(8,701)
GS 2.2% warrant liability (Note 10)12,182 
Adjustment to fair value included in earnings591 
Extinguishment of GS 2.2% warrant liability (Note 10)(12,701)
Change in fair value of warrant liability(72)
Earnout liabilities arising from business combinations (Note 4)980 
Balance at December 31, 20180 980 
Adjustment to fair value included in earnings0 (620)
Balance at December 31, 20190 360 
Adjustment to fair value included in earnings0 (360)
Balance at December 31, 2020$0 $

There were no transfers among the fair value levels during the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, or 2018.



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Fair Value Disclosures

Notes Receivable

Notes receivable are carried at amortized cost. Substantially all of the Company's notes receivable are secured, and the Company believes that all of its notes receivable are collectible. The fair value of the Company's notes receivable at December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019 was approximately $7.7 million and $5.7 million, respectively. On the fair value hierarchy, Level 3 inputs are used to estimate the fair value of these notes receivable.


Debt Obligations

The Borrower's outstanding debt obligations (see Note 10, Long-Term Debt and Warrant Liability) are reflected in the Company's consolidated balance sheets at carrying value since the Company did not elect to remeasure debt obligations to fair value at the end of each reporting period.

The fair value of the term loan facility under the Borrowers' Senior Credit Agreement at December 31, 2020 and 2019 was estimated to be approximately $278.0 million and $381.0 million, respectively. The fair value of these notes with a notional value and carrying value (gross of deferred costs and discounts) of $279.4 million and $388.8 million, respectively, was estimated using binding and non-binding quoted prices in an active secondary market, which considers the Borrowers' credit risk and market related conditions, and is within Level 3 of the fair value hierarchy.

The carrying values of the Borrowers' other long-term debt obligations approximate fair value due to mechanisms in the credit agreements that adjust the applicable interest rates and the lack of a market for these debt obligations.



18.    SEGMENT INFORMATION

The Company has 3 reportable segments that are reviewed by the Company's chief operating decision maker ("CODM"), who is the Company's President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. The Consumer Payments operating segment is 1 reportable segment. The Commercial Payments and Institutional Services (aka Managed Services) operating segments are aggregated into 1 reportable segment, Commercial Payments. The Integrated Partners operating segment is 1 reportable segment.

Prior to second quarter of 2019, the Integrated Partners operating segment was aggregated with the Commercial Payments and Institutional Services operating segments and reported as 1 aggregated reportable segment, Commercial Payments. As of the second quarter of 2019, the Integrated Partners operating segment is no longer aggregated into the Commercial Payments operating segment. All comparative periods have been adjusted to reflect the current 3 reportable segments.
More information about our 3 reportable segments:

Consumer Payments – represents consumer-related services and offerings including merchant acquiring and transaction processing services including the proprietary MX enterprise suite. Either through acquisition of merchant portfolios or through resellers, the Company becomes a party or enters into contracts with a merchant and a sponsor bank. Pursuant to the contracts, for each card transaction, the sponsor bank collects payment from the credit, debit or other payment card issuing bank, net of interchange fees due to the issuing bank, pays credit card association (e.g., Visa, MasterCard) assessments and pays the transaction fee due to the Company for the suite of processing and related services it provides to merchants, with the remainder going to the merchant.

Commercial Payments – represents services provided to certain enterprise customers, including outsourced sales force to those customers and accounts payable automation services to commercial customers.

110


Integrated Partners - represents payment adjacent services that are provided primarily to the rental real estate and rental storage, medical and hospitality industries. Integrated Partners had no material operations prior to 2018 and sold a significant portion of its business in September 2020.

Corporate includes costs of corporate functions and shared services not allocated to our reportable segments.

Information on segments and reconciliations to consolidated revenues, consolidated income (loss) from operations, and consolidated depreciation and amortization are as follows for the years presented:
Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)202020192018
Revenues:
Consumer Payments$367,816 $330,599 $347,013 
Commercial Payments20,922 25,980 27,056 
Integrated Partners15,604 15,275 1,753 
Consolidated revenues$404,342 $371,854 $375,822 
Income (loss) from operations:
Consumer Payments$38,392 $32,237 $47,002 
Commercial Payments923 (891)(952)
Integrated Partners1,404 725 (1,969)
   Corporate(19,858)(24,887)(27,688)
Consolidated income from operations$20,861 $7,184 $16,393 
Depreciation and amortization:
Consumer Payments$35,002 $32,842 $17,945 
Commercial Payments306 323 557 
Integrated Partners4,299 4,398 145 
   Corporate1,168 1,529 1,093 
Consolidated depreciation and amortization$40,775 $39,092 $19,740 


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A reconciliation of total income from operations of reportable segments to the Company's net income (loss) attributable to stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc. is provided in the following table:
Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)202020192018
Total income from operations of reportable segments$40,719 $32,071 $44,081 
Less Corporate(19,858)(24,887)(27,688)
Less interest expense(44,839)(40,653)(29,935)
Less debt modification and extinguishment expense(1,899)(2,043)
Add gain on sale of business107,239 
Add (less) other, net596 710 (4,741)
Income tax (expense) benefit(10,899)(830)2,490 
     Net income (loss)71,059 (33,589)(17,836)
Less earnings attributable to non-controlling interests(45,398)
Net income (loss) attributable to stockholders of Priority Technology Holdings, Inc.$25,661 $(33,589)$(17,836)


Total assets, all located in the United States, by reportable segment reconciled to consolidated assets as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 were as follows:
(in thousands)As of December 31,
20202019
Consumer Payments$261,675 $274,136 
Commercial Payments81,106 45,152 
Integrated Partners3,991 74,386 
Corporate71,057 70,831 
Total consolidated assets$417,829 $464,505 

Assets in Corporate at December 31, 2020 and 2019 primarily represent prepaid expenses and other current assets; property, equipment and software; and net deferred income tax assets. Substantially all assets related to business operations are assigned to one of the Company's 3 reportable segments even though some of those assets result in Corporate expenses.


19.     EARNINGS (LOSS) PER COMMON SHARE

As a result of the Recapitalization, the Company has retrospectively adjusted the weighted-average Class A units outstanding prior to July 25, 2018 by multiplying them by the exchange ratio used to determine the number of Class A common stock into which they converted.


The following tables set forth the computation of the Company's earnings (loss) per common share:
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Year Ended December 31,