AMERICAN TOWER CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED AND CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
DESCRIPTION OF BUSINESS, BASIS OF PRESENTATION AND SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
American Tower Corporation (together with its subsidiaries, “ATC” or the “Company”) is one of the largest global real estate investment trusts and a leading independent owner, operator and developer of multitenant communications real estate. The Company’s primary business is the leasing of space on communications sites to wireless service providers, radio and television broadcast companies, wireless data providers, government agencies and municipalities and tenants in a number of other industries. The Company refers to this business as its property operations. Additionally, the Company offers tower-related services in the United States, which the Company refers to as its services operations. These services include site acquisition, zoning and permitting and structural analysis, which primarily support the Company’s site leasing business, including the addition of new tenants and equipment on its sites.
The Company’s portfolio primarily consists of towers it owns and towers it operates pursuant to long-term lease arrangements, as well as distributed antenna system (“DAS”) networks, which provide seamless coverage solutions in certain in-building and certain outdoor wireless environments. In addition to the communications sites in its portfolio, the Company manages rooftop and tower sites for property owners under various contractual arrangements. The Company also holds other telecommunications infrastructure and property interests that it leases to communications service providers and third-party tower operators.
American Tower Corporation is a holding company that conducts its operations through its directly and indirectly owned subsidiaries and its joint ventures. ATC’s principal domestic operating subsidiaries are American Towers LLC and SpectraSite Communications, LLC. ATC conducts its international operations primarily through its subsidiary, American Tower International, Inc., which in turn conducts operations through its various international holding and operating subsidiaries and joint ventures.
The Company operates as a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes (“REIT”). Accordingly, the Company generally is not subject to U.S. federal income taxes on income generated by its REIT operations, including the income derived from leasing space on its towers, as it receives a dividends paid deduction for distributions to stockholders that generally offsets its REIT income and gains. However, the Company remains obligated to pay U.S. federal income taxes on earnings from its domestic taxable REIT subsidiaries (“TRSs”). In addition, the Company’s international assets and operations, regardless of their designation for U.S. tax purposes, continue to be subject to taxation in the foreign jurisdictions where those assets are held or those operations are conducted.
The use of TRSs enables the Company to continue to engage in certain businesses while complying with REIT qualification requirements. The Company may, from time to time, change the election of previously designated TRSs to be included as part of the REIT. As of September 30, 2017, the Company’s REIT-qualified businesses included its U.S. tower leasing business, most of its operations in Costa Rica, Germany and Mexico and a majority of its indoor DAS networks business and services segment.
The accompanying consolidated and condensed consolidated financial statements have been prepared by the Company pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The financial information included herein is unaudited. However, the Company believes that all adjustments, which are of a normal and recurring nature, considered necessary for a fair presentation of its financial position and results of operations for such periods have been included herein. The consolidated and condensed consolidated financial statements and related notes should be read in conjunction with the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 (the “2016 Form 10-K”). The results of operations for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017 are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for the entire year.
Principles of Consolidation and Basis of Presentation—The accompanying consolidated and condensed consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and those entities in which it has a controlling interest. Investments in entities that the Company does not control are accounted for using the equity or cost method, depending upon the Company’s ability to exercise significant influence over operating and financial policies. All intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated. As of September 30, 2017, the Company holds (i) a 51% controlling interest, and MTN Group Limited holds a 49% noncontrolling interest, in each of two joint ventures, one in Ghana and