Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Fair Value Measurements

Fair Value Measurements
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2020
Fair Value Disclosures [Abstract]  
Fair Value Measurements Fair Value Measurements
In determining fair value, Sonic uses various valuation approaches, including market, income and/or cost approaches. “Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures” in the ASC establishes a hierarchy for inputs used in measuring fair value that maximizes the use of observable inputs and minimizes the use of unobservable inputs by requiring that the most observable inputs be used when available. Observable inputs are inputs that market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability developed based on market data obtained from sources independent of Sonic. Unobservable inputs are inputs that reflect Sonic’s assumptions about the assumptions market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability developed based on the best information available in the circumstances. The hierarchy is broken down into three levels based on the reliability of inputs as follows:
Level 1 – Valuations based on quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities that Sonic has the ability to access. Assets utilizing Level 1 inputs include marketable securities that are actively traded, including Sonic’s stock or public bonds.
Level 2 – Valuations based on quoted prices in markets that are not active or for which all significant inputs are observable, either directly or indirectly. Assets and liabilities utilizing Level 2 inputs include cash flow swap instruments and deferred compensation plan balances.
Level 3 – Valuations based on inputs that are unobservable and significant to the overall fair value measurement. Asset and liability measurements utilizing Level 3 inputs include those used in estimating fair value of non-financial assets and non-financial liabilities in purchase acquisitions, those used in assessing impairment of right-of-use assets (“ROU assets”), property, plant and equipment and other intangibles and those used in the reporting unit valuation in the goodwill impairment evaluation.
The availability of observable inputs can vary and is affected by a wide variety of factors. To the extent that valuation is based on models or inputs that are less observable or unobservable in the market, the determination of fair value requires more judgment. Accordingly, the degree of judgment required by Sonic in determining fair value is greatest for assets and liabilities categorized in Level 3. In certain cases, the inputs used to measure fair value may fall into different levels of the fair value hierarchy. In such cases, for disclosure purposes, the level in the fair value hierarchy within which the fair value measurement is disclosed is determined based on the lowest level input (Level 3 being the lowest level) that is significant to the fair value measurement.
Fair value is a market-based measure considered from the perspective of a market participant who holds the asset or owes the liability rather than an entity-specific measure. Therefore, even when market assumptions are not readily available, Sonic’s own assumptions are set to reflect those that market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability at the measurement date. Sonic uses inputs that are current as of the measurement date, including during periods when the market
may be abnormally high or abnormally low. Accordingly, fair value measurements can be volatile based on various factors that may or may not be within Sonic’s control.
Assets and liabilities recorded at fair value in the accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated balance sheets as of September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2019 are as follows:
Fair Value Based on Significant Other Observable Inputs (Level 2)
September 30, 2020 December 31, 2019
(In thousands)
Cash surrender value of life insurance policies (1) $ 34,235  $ 32,799 
Interest rate caps designated as hedges (1) 97 
Total assets $ 34,236  $ 32,896 
Deferred compensation plan (2) $ 20,049  $ 17,890 
Total liabilities $ 20,049  $ 17,890 
(1)Included in other assets in the accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated balance sheets.
(2)Included in other long-term liabilities in the accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated balance sheets.

There were $268.9 million of impairment charges related to indefinite and long-lived assets assessed during the nine months ended September 30, 2020 which required a fair value measurement of assets ordinarily measured at fair value on a non-recurring basis. Goodwill and property and equipment, net balances have been adjusted for fair value through impairment charges using Level 1 and Level 3 fair value inputs as discussed in Note 4, “Property and Equipment,” and Note 5, “Goodwill and Intangible Assets.” Remaining intangible and long-lived assets will be evaluated as of the annual valuation assessment date of October 1, 2020 or as events or changes in circumstances require.
As of September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2019, the fair values of Sonic’s financial instruments, including receivables, notes receivable from finance contracts, notes payable – floor plan, trade accounts payable, borrowings under the revolving credit facilities and certain mortgage notes, approximated their carrying values due either to length of maturity or existence of variable interest rates that approximate prevailing market rates.
At September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2019, the fair value and carrying value of Sonic’s significant fixed rate long-term debt were as follows:
September 30, 2020 December 31, 2019
Fair Value Carrying Value Fair Value Carrying Value
(In thousands)
6.125% Notes (1) $ 258,750  $ 250,000  $ 261,250  $ 250,000 
Mortgage Notes (2) $ 220,297  $ 217,090  $ 195,962  $ 194,535 
(1)As determined by market quotations as of September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2019, respectively (Level 1).
(2)As determined by discounted cash flows (Level 3) based on estimated current market interest rates for comparable instruments.