SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES (Policies)
|12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2015
|Accounting Policies [Abstract]
|Basis of Accounting
Basis of Accounting — The accompanying Consolidated Financial Statements are prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP’’). The Consolidated Financial Statements include the accounts of Newcastle and its consolidated subsidiaries. All significant intercompany transactions and balances have been eliminated. Newcastle consolidates those entities in which it has an investment of 50% or more and has control over significant operating, financial and investing decisions of the entity as well as those entities deemed to be variable interest entities (“VIEs”) in which Newcastle is determined to be the primary beneficiary. VIEs are defined as entities in which equity investors do not have the characteristics of a controlling financial interest or do not have sufficient equity at risk for the entity to finance its activities without additional subordinated financial support from other parties. A VIE is required to be consolidated only by its primary beneficiary, which is defined as the party who has the power to direct the activities of a VIE that most significantly impact its economic performance and who has the obligation to absorb losses or the right to receive benefits from the VIE that could potentially be significant to the VIE. Newcastle’s CDO subsidiaries (with the exception of CDO V) (Note 11) are special purpose entities which are considered VIEs of which Newcastle is the primary beneficiary. Therefore, the debt issued by such entities is considered a non-recourse secured borrowing of Newcastle. The subprime securitizations and CDO V (Note 4) are also considered VIEs, but Newcastle does not control the decisions that most significantly impact their economic performance and, for the subprime securitizations, no longer receive a significant portion of their returns, and therefore do not consolidate them.
For entities over which Newcastle exercises significant influence, but which do not meet the requirements for consolidation, Newcastle uses the equity method of accounting whereby it records its share of the underlying income of such entities. Newcastle’s investments in equity method investees were not significant at December 31, 2015, 2014 or 2013. With respect to investments in entities over which Newcastle does not meet the requirements for consolidation and does not exercise significant influence, Newcastle records these investments at cost, subject to impairment.
Noncontrolling interests represent the ownership interests in certain consolidated subsidiaries held by entities or persons other than Newcastle. This is primarily related to noncontrolling interests in the Golf business.
Certain prior period amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current period’s presentation.
|Risks and Uncertainties
Risks and Uncertainties — In the normal course of business, Newcastle encounters primarily two significant types of economic risk: credit and market. Credit risk is the risk of default on Newcastle’s investments in securities, loans, derivatives and leases that results from a borrower’s, derivative counterparty’s or lessee’s inability or unwillingness to make contractually required payments. Market risk reflects changes in the value of investments in securities, loans and derivatives or in real estate due to changes in interest rates, spreads or other market factors, including the value of the collateral underlying loans and securities and the valuation of real estate held by Newcastle. Management believes that the carrying values of its investments are reasonable taking into consideration these risks along with estimated prepayments, financings, collateral values, payment histories, and other borrower information.
Additionally, Newcastle is subject to significant tax risks. If Newcastle were to fail to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year, Newcastle would be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax (including any applicable alternative minimum tax), which could be material. Unless entitled to relief under certain statutory provisions, Newcastle would also be disqualified from treatment as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which qualification is lost.
|Use of Estimates
Use of Estimates — The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenue and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Comprehensive Income — Comprehensive income is defined as the change in equity of a business enterprise during a period from transactions and other events and circumstances, excluding those resulting from investments by and distributions to owners. For Newcastle’s purposes, comprehensive income represents net income, as presented in the Consolidated Statements of Operations, adjusted for unrealized gains or losses on securities available for sale and derivatives designated as cash flow hedges and net unrecognized gain and prior period service costs and credits relating to pension and other postretirement benefits (included in discontinued operations).
|Revenue Recognition - Real Estate Securities and Loans Receivable
Real Estate Securities and Loans Receivable — Newcastle invests in securities, including commercial mortgage backed securities, senior unsecured debt issued by property REITs, real estate related asset backed securities and FNMA/FHLMC securities. Income on these securities is recognized using a level yield methodology based upon a number of cash flow assumptions that are subject to uncertainties and contingencies. For securities that are not acquired at a discount for credit quality, these assumptions include the rate and timing of principal and interest receipts (which may be subject to prepayments and defaults). For securities acquired at a discount for credit quality and with respect to which management has determined at acquisition that it is probable that all contractually required principal and interest payments will not be collected, these assumptions also include expected losses. For these securities, Newcastle recognizes the excess of all expected cash flows over the investment in the securities, referred to as accretable yield, as interest income on a loss-adjusted yield basis. The loss adjusted yield is determined based on an evaluation of the credit status of securities, as described in connection with the analysis of impairment. The excess of total contractual cash flows over the cash flows expected to be collected is referred to as the nonaccretable difference and is not recognized as income. The assumptions that impact income recognition are updated on at least a quarterly basis if applicable to reflect changes related to a particular security, actual historical data, and market changes. These uncertainties and contingencies are difficult to predict and are subject to future events, and economic and market conditions, which may alter the assumptions.
Newcastle also invests in loans, including real estate related loans, commercial mortgage loans, residential mortgage loans and subprime mortgage loans. Newcastle determines at acquisition whether loans will be aggregated into pools based on common risk characteristics (credit quality, loan type, and date of origination or acquisition); loans aggregated into pools are accounted for as if each pool were a single loan. The loans are evaluated at acquisition for evidence of credit quality deterioration. Interest income on performing loans is accrued and recognized as interest income at the contractual rate of interest. Loans for which it is determined that it is probable that all contractually required principal and interest payments at acquisition will not be collected are categorized as loans acquired at a discount for credit quality. Loans receivable are presented in the Consolidated Balance Sheets net of any unamortized discount (or gross of any unamortized premium) and an allowance for loan losses. Discounts or premiums are accreted into interest income on an effective yield or “interest” method, based upon a comparison of actual and expected cash flows, through the expected maturity date of the security or loan. Depending on the nature of the investment, changes to expected cash flows may result in a prospective change to yield or a retrospective change which would include a catch up adjustment. For loans acquired at a discount for credit quality, the difference between contractual cash flows and expected cash flows at acquisition is not accreted (non-accretable difference) and is not recognized as income. Probable increases in expected cash flows would first reverse any previously recorded allowance for loan losses with any remaining increases recognized prospectively as a yield adjustment over the remaining expected life of the loan. Newcastle discontinues the accretion of discounts and amortization of premium on loans if they are reclassified from held-for-investment to held-for-sale. Interest income with respect to non-discounted securities or loans is recognized on an accrual basis. Deferred fees and costs, if any, are recognized as a reduction to the interest income over the terms of the securities or loans using the interest method. Upon settlement of securities and loans, the excess (or deficiency) of net proceeds over the net carrying value of such security or loan is recognized as a gain (or loss) in the period of settlement. Interest income includes prepayment penalties received of $0.2 million in 2013. There were no prepayment penalties received in 2015 and 2014.
|Impairment Of Securities and Loans
Impairment of Securities and Loans — Newcastle continually evaluates securities and loans for impairment. Securities and loans are considered to be other-than-temporarily impaired, for financial reporting purposes, generally when it is probable that Newcastle will be unable to collect all principal or interest when due according to the contractual terms of the original agreements, or, for securities or loans purchased at a discount for credit quality, whenever there has been a probable adverse change in the timing or amounts of expected cash flows, or that represent retained beneficial interests in securitizations, when Newcastle determines that it is probable that it will be unable to collect as anticipated. The evaluation of a security’s estimated cash flows includes the following, as applicable: (i) review of the credit of the issuer or the borrower, (ii) review of the credit rating of the security, (iii) review of the key terms of the security or loan, (iv) review of the performance of the loan or underlying loans, including debt service coverage and loan to value ratios, (v) analysis of the value of the collateral for the loan or underlying loans, (vi) analysis of the effect of local, industry and broader economic factors, and (vii) analysis of historical and anticipated trends in defaults and loss severities for similar securities or loans. Furthermore, Newcastle must have the intent and ability to hold loans whose fair value is below carrying value until such fair value recovers, or until maturity, or else a write-down to fair value must be recorded. Similarly for securities, Newcastle must record a write-down if it has the intent to sell a given security in an unrealized loss position, or if it is more likely than not that it will be required to sell such a security. For certain securities which represent beneficial interests in securitized financial assets and non-Agency RMBS acquired with evidence of deteriorated credit quality for which it was deemed probable, at acquisition, that we would be unable to collect all contractually required payments as they come due, an other-than-temporary impairment also will be deemed to have occurred whenever there is a probable adverse change in the timing or amounts of previously projected estimated cash flows. Upon determination of impairment, Newcastle establishes specific valuation allowances for loans or records a direct write-down for securities based on the estimated fair value of the security or underlying collateral using a discounted cash flow analysis or based on an observable market value. Newcastle also establishes allowances for estimated unidentified incurred losses on pools of loans. The allowance for each loan is maintained at a level believed adequate by management to absorb probable losses, based on periodic reviews of actual and expected losses. It is Newcastle’s policy to establish an allowance for uncollectible interest on performing securities or loans that are past due more than 90 days or sooner when, in the judgment of management, the probability of collection of interest is deemed to be insufficient to warrant further accrual. Upon such a determination, those loans are deemed to be non-performing and put on nonaccrual status. Actual losses may differ from Newcastle’s estimates. Newcastle may resume accrual of income on a security or loan if, in management’s opinion, full collection is probable. Subsequent to a determination of impairment, and a related write-down, income is accrued on an effective yield method from the new carrying value to the related expected cash flows, with cash received treated as a reduction of basis. Newcastle charges off the corresponding loan allowance when it determines the loans to be uncollectable.
Golf Revenues — Revenue from green fees, cart rentals, food and beverage sales, merchandise sales and other activities (consisting primarily of range income, banquets, instruction, and club and other rental income) are generally recognized at the time of sale, when services are rendered and collection is reasonably assured.
Revenue from membership dues is recognized in the month earned. Membership dues received in advance are included in deferred revenues and recognized as revenue ratably over the appropriate period, which is generally twelve months or less. The monthly dues are generally structured to cover the club operating costs and membership services.
Private country club members generally pay an advance initiation fee deposit upon their acceptance as a member to the respective country club. Initiation fee deposits are refundable 30 years after the date of acceptance as a member. The difference between the initiation fee deposit paid by the member and the present value of the refund obligation is deferred and recognized into revenue in the Consolidated Statements of Operations on a straight-line basis over the expected life of an active membership, which is estimated to be seven years. The present value of the refund obligation is recorded as a membership deposit liability in the Consolidated Balance Sheets and accretes over a 30-year nonrefundable term using the effective interest method. This accretion is recorded as interest expense in the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
Interest Expense — Newcastle finances its investments using both fixed and floating rate debt, including securitizations, loans, repurchase agreements, and other financing vehicles. Certain of this debt has been issued at a discount. Discounts are accreted into interest expense on the effective yield or interest method, based upon a comparison of actual and expected cash flows, through the expected maturity date of the financing.
|Deferred Costs and Interest Rate Cap Premiums
Deferred Costs and Interest Rate Cap Premiums — Deferred costs consist primarily of costs incurred in obtaining financing which are amortized into interest expense over the term of such financing using either the straight-line basis or the interest method. Deferred financing costs are presented as a direct deduction from the carrying amount of the related debt liability. Interest rate cap premiums, if any, are included in receivables and other assets, and are amortized as described below.
|Derivatives and Hedging Activities
Derivatives and Hedging Activities — All derivatives are recognized as either assets or liabilities on the balance sheet and measured at fair value. Newcastle reports the fair value of derivative instruments gross of cash paid or received pursuant to credit support agreements and fair value is reflected on a net counterparty basis when Newcastle believes a legal right of offset exists under an enforceable netting agreement. Fair value adjustments affect either equity or net income depending on whether the derivative instrument qualifies as a hedge for accounting purposes and, if so, the nature of the hedging activity. For those derivative instruments that are designated and qualify as hedging instruments, Newcastle designates the hedging instrument, based upon the exposure being hedged, as either a cash flow hedge, a fair value hedge or a hedge of a net investment in a foreign operation.
Derivative transactions are entered into by Newcastle solely for risk management purposes, except for total rate of return swaps. Such total rate of return swaps are essentially financings of certain reference assets which are treated as derivatives for accounting purposes. The decision of whether or not a given transaction/position (or portion thereof) is hedged is made on a case-by-case basis, based on the risks involved and other factors as determined by management, including restrictions imposed by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Code") among others. In determining whether to hedge a risk, Newcastle may consider whether other assets, liabilities, firm commitments and anticipated transactions already offset or reduce the risk. All transactions undertaken as hedges are entered into with a view towards minimizing the potential for economic losses that could be incurred by Newcastle. Generally, all derivatives entered into are intended to qualify as hedges under GAAP, unless specifically stated otherwise. To this end, terms of hedges are matched closely to the terms of hedged items.
Description of the risks being hedged
Cash Flow Hedges
To qualify for cash flow hedge accounting, interest rate swaps and caps must meet certain criteria, including (1) the items to be hedged expose Newcastle to interest rate risk, (2) the interest rate swaps or caps are highly effective in reducing Newcastle’s exposure to interest rate risk, and (3) with respect to an anticipated transaction, such transaction is probable. Correlation and effectiveness are periodically assessed based upon a comparison of the relative changes in the fair values or cash flows of the interest rate swaps and caps and the items being hedged, or using regression analysis on an ongoing basis to assess retrospective and prospective hedge effectiveness.
For derivative instruments that are designated and qualify as a cash flow hedge (i.e., hedging the exposure to variability in expected future cash flows that is attributable to a particular risk), the effective portion of the gain or loss, and net payments received or made, on the derivative instrument are reported as a component of other comprehensive income and reclassified into earnings in the same period or periods during which the hedged transaction affects earnings. The remaining gain or loss on the derivative instrument in excess of the cumulative change in the present value of future cash flows of the hedged item, if any, is recognized in current earnings during the period of change. The premiums paid for interest rate caps, treated as cash flow hedges, are amortized into interest expense based on the estimated value of such cap for each period covered by such cap.
With respect to interest rate swaps which have been designated as hedges of anticipated financings, periodic net payments are recognized currently as adjustments to interest expense; any gain or loss from fluctuations in the fair value of the interest rate swaps is recorded as a deferred hedge gain or loss in accumulated other comprehensive income and treated as a component of the anticipated transaction. In the event the anticipated refinancing failed to occur as expected, the deferred hedge credit or charge would be recognized immediately in earnings. Newcastle’s hedges of such financings were terminated upon the consummation of such financings.
Newcastle has designated certain of its derivatives, and in some cases re-designated all or a portion thereof as hedges. As a result of these designations, in the cases where the originally hedged items were still owned by Newcastle, the unrealized gain or loss was recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income as a deferred hedge gain or loss and is being amortized over the life of the hedged item.
As of December 31, 2015, Newcastle no longer has derivative instruments that are designated and qualify as hedging instruments based on ASC 815, Derivatives and Hedging. Newcastle terminated two interest rate swaps in connection with the liquidation of CDO VIII in June 2015, and an interest rate swap in CDO VI matured in March 2015.
With respect to interest rate swaps and caps that have not been designated as hedges, any net payments under, or fluctuations in the fair value of, such swaps and caps have been recognized currently in other income (loss). These derivatives may, to some extent, be economically effective as hedges. Under these agreements, we paid fixed monthly coupons at fixed rates of 4.85% of the notional amount to the counterparty and received floating rate LIBOR. Our interest rate swaps not designated as hedges matured in March 2015.
Newcastle also transacts in the To Be Announced MBS ("TBA") market. TBA contracts are forward contracts to purchase mortgage-backed securities that will be issued by a U.S. government sponsored enterprise in the future. Newcastle primarily engages in TBA transactions for purposes of managing interest rate risk and market risk associated with our investment strategies. For example, Newcastle takes short positions in TBAs to offset - to varying degrees - changes in the values of our Agency RMBS investments for which we have exposure to interest rate volatility; therefore, these derivatives may, to some extent, be economically effective as hedges.
Newcastle typically does not take delivery of TBAs, but rather settles the associated receivable and payable with its trading counterparties on a net basis. As part of its TBA activities, Newcastle may "roll" its TBA positions, whereby we may sell (buy) securities for delivery (receipt) in an earlier month and simultaneously contract to repurchase (sell) similar securities at an agreed-upon price on a fixed date in a later month. Newcastle accounts for its TBA transactions as non-hedge instrument, with changes in market value recorded in the statement of operations. As of December 31, 2015, Newcastle held TBA contracts consisting of three short contracts totaling $705.0 million notional amount and two long contracts totaling $602.0 million notional amount of Agency RMBS.
Newcastle’s derivative financial instruments contain credit risk to the extent that its bank counterparties may be unable to meet the terms of the agreements. Newcastle reduces such risk by limiting its counterparties to major financial institutions. In addition, the potential risk of loss with any one party resulting from this type of credit risk is monitored. Management does not expect any material losses as a result of default by other parties. Newcastle does not require collateral for the derivative financial instruments within its CDO financing structures.
|Operating Leases and Other Operating Expenses
Operating Leases and Other Operating Expenses — Other operating expenses for the Golf business consist primarily of equipment leases, utilities, repairs and maintenance, supplies, seed, soil and fertilizer, and marketing. Many of the golf properties and related facilities are leased under long-term operating leases. In addition to minimum payments, certain leases require payment of the excess of various percentages of gross revenue or net operating income over the minimum rental payments. The leases generally require the payment of taxes assessed against the leased property and the cost of insurance and maintenance. The majority of lease terms range from 10 to 20 years, and typically, the leases contain renewal options. Certain leases include minimum scheduled increases in rental payments at various times during the term of the lease. These scheduled rent increases are recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease, resulting in an accrual, which is included in accounts payable, accrued expenses and other liabilities, for the amount by which the cumulative straight-line rent exceeds the contractual cash rent.
|Management Fees to Affiliate
Management Fees to Affiliate — These represent amounts due to the Manager pursuant to the Management Agreement.
|Investment in Real Estate Securities
Investment in Real Estate Securities — Newcastle has classified its investments in securities as available-for-sale. Securities available-for-sale are carried at market value with the net unrealized gains or losses reported as a separate component of accumulated other comprehensive income, to the extent impairment losses are considered temporary. At disposition, the net realized gain or loss is determined on the basis of the cost of the specific investments and is included in earnings. Unrealized losses on securities are charged to earnings if they reflect a decline in value that is other-than-temporary, as described above.
Loans Held-for-Sale — Loans held-for-sale are recorded net of any unamortized discount (or gross of any unamortized premiums), including any fees received and are measured at the lower of cost or fair value, with valuation changes recorded in other income. As loans held-for-sale are recognized at the lower of cost or fair value, Newcastle’s allowance for loss policy does not apply to these loans. Purchase price discounts or premiums are deferred in a contra loan account until the related loans is sold. The deferred discounts or premiums are an adjustment to the basis of the loan and are included in the quarterly determination of the lower of cost or fair value adjustments and/or the gain or loss recognized at the time of sale.
Acquisition Accounting — Newcastle has determined that all of its acquisitions should be accounted for under the acquisition method. The accounting for acquisitions requires the identification and measurement of all acquired tangible and intangible assets and assumed liabilities at their respective fair values, as of the respective transaction dates. The determination of the fair value of net assets acquired involves significant judgment and estimates, such as Newcastle's estimates of future cash flows based on a number of factors including known and anticipated trends, as well as market and economic conditions.
In measuring the fair value of tangible and identified intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed, management uses information obtained as a result of pre-acquisition due diligence, marketing, leasing activities and independent appraisals. In the case of buildings, the fair value of the tangible assets acquired is determined by valuing the property as if it were vacant. Significant estimates impacting the measurement at fair value of real property includes qualitative selection of comparable market transactions as well as the assessment of the relative quality and condition of the acquired properties.
Acquisition and transaction expense includes costs related to completed and potential acquisitions and transactions and include advisory, legal, accounting, valuation and other professional or consulting fees.
|Investment in CDO Servicing Rights
Investments in CDO Servicing Rights — In February 2011, Newcastle, through one of its subsidiaries, purchased the management rights with respect to certain C-BASS Investment Management LLC (“C-BASS”) CDOs for $2.2 million pursuant to a bankruptcy proceeding. Newcastle initially recorded the cost of acquiring the collateral management rights as a servicing asset and subsequently amortizes this asset in proportion to, and over the period of, estimated net servicing income. Servicing assets are assessed for impairment on a quarterly basis, with impairment recognized as a valuation allowance. Key economic assumptions used in measuring any potential impairment of the servicing assets include the prepayment speeds of the underlying loans, default rates, loss severities and discount rates.
|Investments in Other Real Estate, Net
Investments in Other Real Estate, Net — Real estate and related improvements are recorded at cost less accumulated depreciation. Costs that both materially add value to an asset and extend the useful life of an asset by more than a year are capitalized. With respect to golf course improvements (included in buildings and improvements), costs associated with original construction, significant replacements, permanent landscaping, sand traps, fairways, tee boxes or greens are capitalized. All other asset-related costs that do not meet these criteria, such as minor repairs and routine maintenance, are expensed as incurred.
Long-lived assets to be disposed of by sale, which meet certain criteria, are reclassified to real estate held-for-sale and measured at the lower of their carrying amount or fair value less costs of sale. A disposal of a component of an entity or a group of components of an entity are reported in discontinued operations if the disposal represents a strategic shift that has or will have a major effect on Newcastle’s operations and financial results. Discontinued operations are retroactively reclassified to income (loss) from discontinued operations for all periods presented.
The Golf business leases certain golf carts and other equipment that are classified as capital leases. The value of capital leases is recorded as an asset on the balance sheet, along with a liability related to the associated payments. Amortization of capital lease assets is calculated using the straight-line method over the shorter of the estimated useful lives and the expected lease terms. The cost of equipment under capital leases is included in investments in other real estate in the Consolidated Balance Sheets. Payments under the leases are treated as reductions of the liability, with a portion being recorded as interest expense under the effective interest method.
Depreciation is calculated using the straight-line method based on the following estimated useful lives:
Intangibles — Intangible assets and liabilities relating to the Golf business consist primarily of leasehold advantages (disadvantages), management contracts and membership base. A leasehold advantage (disadvantage) exists to Newcastle when it pays a contracted rent that is below (above) market rents at the date of the transaction. The value of a leasehold advantage (disadvantage) is calculated based on the differential between market and contracted rent, which is tax effected and discounted to present value based on an after-tax discount rate corresponding to each golf property, and is amortized over the term of the underlying lease agreement. The management contract intangible represents Newcastle’s golf course management contracts for both leased and managed properties. The management contract intangible for leased and managed properties is valued utilizing a discounted cash flow methodology under the income approach and is amortized over the term of the underlying lease or management agreements, respectively. The membership base intangible represents Newcastle’s relationship with its private golf club members. The membership base intangible is valued using the multi-period excess earnings method under the income approach, and is amortized over the average membership life.
Amortization of leasehold intangible assets and liabilities are included within operating expense - golf and amortization of all other intangible assets is included within depreciation and amortization in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. Amortization of all intangible assets is calculated using the straight-line method based on the following estimated useful lives:
Other Investment — Newcastle owns 23% of equity interests in a commercial real estate project which is recorded as an equity method investment. As of December 31, 2015 and 2014, the carrying value of this investment was $20.6 million and $26.8 million, respectively. Newcastle evaluates its equity method investment for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the investment might not be recoverable. The evaluation of recoverability is based on management’s assessment of the financial condition and near term prospects of the investee, the length of time and the extent to which the market value of the investment has been less than cost and the intent and ability of Newcastle to retain its investment.
|Impairment of Real Estate and Finite-lived Intangible Assets
Impairment of Real Estate and Finite-lived Intangible Assets — Newcastle periodically reviews the carrying amounts of its long-lived assets, including real estate and finite-lived intangible assets, to determine whether current events or circumstances indicate that such carrying amounts may not be recoverable. The assessment of recoverability is based on management’s estimates by comparing the sum of the estimated undiscounted cash flows generated by the underlying asset, or other appropriate grouping of assets, to its carrying value to determine whether an impairment existed at its lowest level of identifiable cash flows. If the carrying amount of the asset is greater than the expected undiscounted cash flows to be generated by such asset, an impairment is recognized to the extent the carrying value of such asset exceeds its fair value. Newcastle generally measures fair value by considering sale prices for similar assets or by discounting estimated future cash flows using an appropriate discount rate. Assets to be disposed of are carried at the lower of their financial statement carrying amount or fair value less costs to sell.
|Cash and Cash Equivalents and Restricted Cash
Cash and Cash Equivalents and Restricted Cash — Newcastle considers all highly liquid short-term investments with maturities of 90 days or less when purchased to be cash equivalents. Substantially all amounts on deposit with major financial institutions exceed insured limits.
|Receivables and Other Assets
Accounts Receivable, Net – Accounts receivable are stated at amounts due from customers, net of an allowance for doubtful accounts. The allowance for doubtful accounts is based upon several factors including the length of time the receivables are past due, historical payment trends and current economic factors. Collateral is generally not required. The allowance for doubtful accounts increased by $0.09 million and $0.01 million for the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively.
Derivative Assets – All derivatives are recognized as either assets or liabilities on the balance sheet and measured at fair value.
Prepaid Expenses – Prepaid expenses consists primarily of prepaid insurance and prepaid rent and are expensed over the usage period of the goods or services.
Interest Receivable – Interest receivable consists of interest earned on real estate securities, real estate related and other loans and residential mortgage loans that has not yet been received.
Deposits – Deposits consist primarily of certificates of deposits used as collateral for letters of credit related to the Golf business.
Inventory – Inventory is valued at the lower of cost or market. Cost is determined on the first-in, first-out (“FIFO”) method. Inventories in our Golf business consist primarily of food, beverages and merchandise for sale.
Securities sold under repurchase agreements are treated as collateralized financing transactions. Securities financed through a repurchase agreement remain on the Consolidated Balance Sheets as an asset and cash received from the purchaser is recorded on the Consolidated Balance Sheets as a liability. Interest paid in accordance with repurchase agreements is recorded as interest expense in the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
|Membership Deposit Liabilities
Membership Deposit Liabilities
Private country club members generally pay an advance initiation fee deposit upon their acceptance as a member to the respective country club. Initiation fee deposits are refundable 30 years after the date of acceptance as a member. The difference between the initiation fee deposit paid by the member and the present value of the refund obligation is deferred and recognized into revenue in the Consolidated Statements of Operations on a straight-line basis over the expected life of an active membership, which is estimated to be seven years.
The present value of the refund obligation is recorded as a membership deposit liability in the Consolidated Balance Sheets and accretes over a 30-year nonrefundable term using the effective interest method. This accretion is recorded as interest expense in the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
|Accounts Payable, Accrued Expenses and Other Liabilities
Accounts Payable and Accrued Expenses – Accounts payable reflect expenses related to goods and services received that have not yet been paid and accrued expenses reflect invoices that have not yet been received.
Deferred Revenue – Payments received in advance of the performance of services are recorded as deferred revenue until the services are performed.
Security Deposits Payable – Security deposits payable relate to deposits received for events at golf properties.
Unfavorable Leasehold Interests – Unfavorable leasehold interests relates to leases acquired as part of the Golf business where the terms of the leasehold contracts are less favorable than the estimated market terms of the leases at the acquisition date.
Derivative Liabilities – All derivatives are recognized as either assets or liabilities on the balance sheet and measured at fair value.
Accrued Rent – Golf properties pay rent on certain leased properties in arrears and scheduled rent increases are recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease, resulting in an accrual.
Due to Affiliates – Represents amounts due to the Manager pursuant to the Management Agreement.
Options — The fair value of the options issued as compensation to the Manager for its successful efforts in raising capital for Newcastle was recorded as an increase in equity with an offsetting reduction of capital proceeds received. Options granted to Newcastle’s directors were accounted for using the fair value method.
Income Taxes – Newcastle operates so as to qualify as a REIT under the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Internal Revenue Code. Requirements for qualification as a REIT include various restrictions on ownership of stock, requirements concerning distribution of taxable income and certain restrictions on the nature of assets and sources of income. A REIT must distribute at least 90% of its taxable income to its stockholders of which 85% plus any undistributed amounts from the prior year must be distributed within the taxable year in order to avoid the imposition of an excise tax. Distribution of the remaining balance may extend until timely filing of Newcastle’s tax return in the subsequent taxable year. Qualifying distributions of taxable income are deductible by a REIT in computing taxable income.
Certain activities are conducted through taxable REIT subsidiaries (“TRS”) and therefore are subject to federal and state income taxes. Accordingly, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases upon the change in tax status. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax rates is recognized in income in the period that includes the enactment date.
Newcastle recognizes tax benefits for uncertain tax positions only if it is more likely than not that the position is sustainable based on its technical merits. Interest and penalties on uncertain tax positions are included as a component of the provision for income taxes in the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
|Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Loans
Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Loans — Newcastle’s accounting policy for its securitization of subprime mortgage loans is disclosed in Note 6.
|Recent Accounting Pronouncements
Recent Accounting Pronouncements — In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") and the International Accounting Standards Board ("IASB") issued Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") 2014-09 Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606). The standard’s core principle is that a company will recognize revenue when it transfers promised goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the company expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. In doing so, companies will need to use more judgment and make more estimates than under today’s guidance. These may include identifying performance obligations in the contract, estimating the amount of variable consideration to include in the transaction price and allocating the transaction price to each separate performance obligation. In August 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-14 Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606): Deferral of the Effective Date which defers the effective date by one year. The standard will be effective for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2017; however, all entities are allowed to adopt the standard as early as the original effective date (annual periods beginning after December 15, 2016). Entities have the option of using either a full retrospective or a modified approach to adopt the guidance. Newcastle is currently reviewing the guidance to determine its impact on the Consolidated Financial Statements.
In February 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-02, Consolidation (Topic 810): Amendments to the Consolidation Analysis. The standard amends the consolidation considerations when evaluating certain limited partnerships, variable interest entities and investment funds. The ASU is effective for Newcastle in the first quarter of 2016 and early adoption is permitted. The adoption of the new guidance will have no impact on the Consolidated Financial Statements.
In April 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-03, Interest-Imputation of Interest (Topic 835): Simplifying the Presentation of Debt Issuance Costs. The standard requires that debt issuance costs related to a recognized debt liability be presented in the balance sheet as a direct deduction from the carrying amount of that debt liability, consistent with debt discounts. The new guidance is effective in the first quarter of 2016 and early adoption is permitted. Newcastle elected to early adopt this new guidance effective for the first quarter of 2015 to simplify presentation of debt issuance costs and has applied the changes retrospectively to all periods presented. Accordingly, "Receivables and other assets" excludes deferred financing costs, "Repurchase Agreements" is reported net of deferred financing costs of $0.2 million as of December 31, 2015 and "Credit facilities and obligations under capital leases" is reported net of deferred financing costs of $0.4 million as of December 31, 2014 in the Consolidated Balance Sheets.
In January 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-01 Financial Instruments - Overall (Subtopic 825-10): Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities. The standard addresses certain aspects of recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure of financial instruments. The effective date of the standard will be for fiscal years, and interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after December 15, 2017. Newcastle is currently evaluating the new guidance to determine the impact it may have on its Consolidated Financial Statements.
In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-02 Leases (Topic 842). The standard requires lessees to recognize most leases on the balance sheet and addresses certain aspects of lessor accounting. The effective date of the standard will be for fiscal years, and interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after December 15, 2018 and early adoption is permitted. Entities are required to use a modified retrospective approach for leases that exist or are entered into after the beginning of the earliest comparative period in the financial statements, with an option to use certain relief. Newcastle is currently evaluating the new guidance to determine the impact it may have on its Consolidated Financial Statements.
The FASB has recently issued or discussed a number of proposed standards on such topics as financial statement presentation, leases, financial instruments and hedging. Some of the proposed changes are significant and could have a material impact on Newcastle’s reporting. Newcastle has not yet fully evaluated the potential impact of these proposals, but will make such an evaluation as the standards are finalized.