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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For transition period from __________ to __________


Commission file number 001-39331
system1-logo (1).jpg
System1, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware
92-3978051
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
4235 Redwood Avenue
Marina Del Rey, CA
90066
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
(Zip Code)

(310) 924-6037
(Registrant’s telephone number including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per shareSSTThe New York Stock Exchange
Redeemable warrants, each whole warrant exercisable for one Class A common stock at an exercise price of $11.50 per shareSST.WSThe New York Stock Exchange

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes  ☐  No  ☒
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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 filer
Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer  
Smaller 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.

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to § 240.10D-1(b).

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes  ☐  No ☒

The aggregate market value of voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, as of June 30, 2022, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was $175,630,464 (based on the closing price for shares of the registrant’s Class A common stock as reported by the New York Stock Exchange on that date). Shares of common stock held by each executive officer, director, and holders of 10% or more of the outstanding common stock have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This determination of possible affiliate status is not a conclusive determination for other purposes.

As of May 15, 2023, there were 93,446,975 shares of Class A common stock, $0.0001 par value per share, and 21,512,757 shares of Class C common stock, $.0001 par value per share, outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

None.
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Table of Contents
Part I
Item 1. Business
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities 
Item 6. [ Reserved ]
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk 
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosures 
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures 
Item 9B. Other Information
Part III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance 
Item 11. Executive Compensation 
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owner and Management and Related Stockholder Matters 
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services 
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules 
Item 16. Form 10-K Summary 
Signatures

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CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements. We intend such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"). All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including statements concerning possible or assumed future actions, business strategies, events or results of operations, and any statements that refer to projections, forecasts or other characterizations of future events or circumstances, including any underlying assumptions, are forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.

In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as “may,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “could,” “intend,” “target,” “project,” “contemplate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions. The forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are only predictions. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and are subject to a number of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements, including the risks, uncertainties and assumptions described under the section in this Annual Report on Form 10-K titled “Risk Factors.” These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks, including, without limitation, the following:

The ability to maintain, grow, process, utilize and protect the data we collect from consumers;
The ability to maintain our relationships with network partners and advertisers;
The performance of our responsive acquisition marketing platform, or RAMP;
Changes in client demand for our services and our ability to adapt to such changes;
The ability to maintain and attract consumers and advertisers in the face of changing economic or competitive conditions;
The ability to improve and maintain adequate internal control over financial reporting and remediate identified material weaknesses;
The ability to successfully source and complete acquisitions and to integrate the operations of companies System1 acquires;
The ability to raise financing in the future as and when needed or on market terms;
The ability to compete with existing competitors and the entry of new competitors in the market;
Changes in applicable laws or regulations and the ability to maintain compliance with the various laws that our business and operations are subject to;
The ability to protect our intellectual property rights; and
Other risks and uncertainties indicated from time to time in our filings with the SEC, including those described herein under the heading “Risk Factors.”

Because forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified and some of which are beyond our control, you should not rely on these forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The events and circumstances reflected in our forward-looking statements may not be achieved or occur, and actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors and uncertainties may emerge from
4


time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all risk factors and uncertainties. As a result of these factors, we cannot assure you that the forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K will prove to be accurate. Except as required by applicable law, we do not plan to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements contained herein, whether as a result of any new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise.

You should read this Annual Report on Form 10-K, along with our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.


SUMMARY OF RISK FACTORS

The following is a summary of the principal risks described below in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We believe that the risks described in the “Risk Factors” section are material to investors, but other factors not presently known to us or that we currently believe are immaterial may also adversely affect us. The following summary should not be considered an exhaustive summary of the material risks facing us, and it should be read in conjunction with the “Risk Factors” section and the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

We have a limited operating history, which makes it difficult to evaluate our business and prospects and may increase the risks associated with your investment.
Our revenue is tied to the effectiveness and performance of our responsive acquisition marketing platform (RAMP).
A meaningful portion of our revenue is attributable to our agreements with Google, and therefore is subject to their practices and willingness to maintain these arrangements.
We rely on large-scale acquisition marketing channels, such as Google, Facebook and Taboola, as well as our network partners, for a significant portion of our consumer Internet traffic.
We identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. If we are unable to remediate the material weaknesses, or if other material weaknesses are identified, we may not be able to report our financial results accurately, prevent or detect material misstatements due to fraud or error, or file our periodic reports as a public company in a timely manner.
If we fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting in the future, we may not be able to accurately or timely report our financial condition or results of operations. If our internal control over financial reporting is not effective, it may adversely affect investor confidence in us and the price of our common stock.
A significant portion of our assets consists of other intangible assets, the value of which may be reduced if we determine that those assets are impaired.
We may not be able to secure additional financing on favorable terms, or at all, to meet our future capital needs, which may in turn impair our growth.
Operational and performance issues with our platform, whether real or perceived, including a failure to respond to technological changes or to upgrade our technology systems, may adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
We operate in a highly competitive environment. If we fail to innovate and make the right investment decisions in our offerings and platform, we may not attract and retain advertisers, and our competitors may gain market share in the markets for our solutions that could adversely affect our business and cause our revenues and results of operations to decline.
We compete for advertising spend from our advertisers, and if we are unable to maintain or increase our share of the advertising spend of our advertisers, our business could be harmed.
Our advertising business is dependent on advertisers buying mobile, display and video advertising. A decrease in the use of these advertising channels would harm our business, growth prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
Unfavorable global economic conditions, including as a result of health and safety concerns related to a pandemic, could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
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We may experience outages and disruptions on RAMP, our websites and other software products if we fail to maintain adequate security and supporting infrastructure as we scale RAMP, websites and other software products, which may harm our reputation and negatively impact our business, financial condition and operating results.
We depend on search engines, display advertising, social media, email, content-based online advertising and other online sources to attract consumers to our websites and convert them into sales for our advertisers. If we are unable to drive traffic cost-effectively our business and financial results may be harmed.
We depend on third-party website publishers for a significant portion of our visitors, and any decline in the supply of media available through these websites or increase in the price of this media could cause our revenue to decline or our cost to reach visitors to increase.
Our failure to meet content and inventory standards and provide services that our advertisers and inventory suppliers trust could harm our brand and reputation and negatively impact our business, financial condition and operating results.
If the non-proprietary technology, software, products and services that we use are unavailable, have future terms we cannot agree to, or do not perform as we expect, our business, financial condition and operating results could be harmed.
Privacy and data protection laws to which we are subject may cause us to incur additional or unexpected costs, subject us to enforcement actions for compliance failures, or cause us to change RAMP or our business model, which may have a material adverse effect on our business.
We typically collect and store IP addresses, other device identifiers (such as unique mobile application identifiers) and email addresses, which are or may be considered personal data or personal information in some jurisdictions or otherwise may be the subject of regulation.
Our success depends, in part, on our ability to access, collect and use first-party data about our users and subscribers. If that access is restricted or otherwise subject to unfavorable regulation, blocked or limited by technical changes on end users’ devices and web browsers, or our and our clients’ ability to use data on RAMP is otherwise restricted, our performance may decline and we may lose advertisers and revenue.
Our proprietary rights may be difficult to enforce, which could enable others to copy or use aspects of our technology without compensating us, thereby eroding our competitive advantages and harming our business.
We face potential liability and harm to our business based on the nature of our business and the content on RAMP.
You may only be able to exercise the Public Warrants on a “cashless basis” under certain circumstances, and if you do so, you will receive fewer shares of Common Stock from such exercise than if you were to exercise such Warrants for cash.
We may amend the terms of the Warrants in a manner that may have an adverse effect on holders of Public Warrants with the approval by the holders of at least 50% of the then outstanding Public Warrants. As a result, the exercise price of your Warrants could be increased, the exercise period could be shortened and the number of shares of Common Stock purchasable upon exercise of a Warrant could be decreased, all without your approval.
Our Warrant Agreement designates the courts of the State of New York or the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by holders of the Warrants, which could limit the ability of Warrant holders to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us.
We may redeem your unexpired Warrants prior to their exercise at a time that is disadvantageous to you, thereby making your Warrants worth less than what you paid for them.

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Part I
Item 1. Business

Unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, references in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the “Company,” “System1,” “we,” “us,” “our” and other similar terms refer to System1, Inc. and its subsidiaries and references to “Trebia” refer to the Company, formerly known as Trebia Acquisition Corp., prior to the Merger (as defined below). References to “Notes” are notes included in our consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. All figures are presented in thousands, except percentages, rates and unless otherwise noted.

Overview

We operate an omnichannel customer acquisition platform, delivering high-intent customers to advertisers and marketing antivirus software packages to end user customers.

We provide our omnichannel customer acquisition platform services through our proprietary responsive acquisition marketing platform (“RAMP”). Operating seamlessly across major advertising networks and advertising category verticals to acquire users, RAMP allows us to monetize these acquired users through our relationships with third party advertisers and advertising networks (“Advertising Partners”). RAMP also allows third party advertising platforms and publishers (“Network Partners”) to send user traffic to, and monetize user traffic on, our owned and operated websites or throughout our monetization agreements. RAMP operates across our network of owned and operated websites, allowing us to monetize user traffic that we source from various acquisition marketing channels, including Google, Facebook, Taboola and Zemanta.

Through RAMP, we process approximately 28 million daily advertising campaign optimizations and ingest approximately 5 billion rows of data daily across more than 40 advertising categories as of December 31, 2022. We are able to efficiently monetize user intent by linking data on consumer engagement, such as first party search data, with data on monetization and advertising spend. This context-enriched data, combined with our proprietary and data science driven algorithms, creates a closed-loop system that is not reliant on personally identifiable information or information obtained through third-party cookies, but which allows RAMP to efficiently match consumer demand with the appropriate advertiser or advertising experience across advertising verticals.

The business of S1 Holdco, LLC (“S1 Holdco”), a Delaware limited liability company, one of the entities acquired in the Merger described below, was founded in 2013 with a focus on monetizing user traffic acquired by its Network Partners. Since launching, it has expanded to support additional advertising formats across numerous advertising platforms, and has acquired several leading websites, enabling it to control user acquisition and experience, and monetize user traffic on its behalf via its network of owned and operated websites. Today S1 Holdco owns and operates approximately 40 websites, including leading search engines like info.com and Startpage.com, and publishing digital media sites and utilities such as HowStuffWorks, MapQuest, CouponFollow and ActiveBeat.

We, through our wholly owned subsidiary Protected.net Group Limited, incorporated in England and Wales (“Protected.net”), also provide antivirus and consumer privacy software solutions, offering our customers a single packaged solution that provides protection and reporting to the end user. We deliver our antivirus software solutions directly to end-user customers across the world. The antivirus software solutions product offering comprises a core security package with varying levels of extra protection based on customers' specific needs. These products include unlimited devices, Adblock and ID Protect, and are managed to ensure they provide a value-added service to the customer base. The software is sold in either a monthly or annual subscription predominantly through the flagship brand TotalAV. As of December 31, 2022, Protected.net had over 2.4 million active subscribers for its products.

Our primary operations are in the United States, and we also have operations in Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Operations outside the United States are subject to risks inherent in operating under different legal systems and various political and economic environments. Among the risks are changes in existing tax laws, possible limitations on foreign investment and income repatriation, government foreign exchange controls
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and exposure to currency exchange fluctuations. We do not engage in hedging activities to mitigate our exposure to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates.

The Merger

On June 28, 2021, we entered into a Business Combination Agreement (as amended on November 30, 2021, January 10, 2022 and January 25, 2022) (the "Business Combination Agreement" or “BCA”) by and among us, S1 Holdco and System1 SS Protected Holdings, Inc. (“Protected”). On January 26, 2022 (the “Closing Date”), the Company consummated the business combination (the “Merger”) pursuant to the BCA. Following the consummation of the Merger, the combined company was organized via an “Up-C” structure, in which substantially all of the assets and business operations of System1 are held by S1 Holdco. Our combined business continues to operate through the subsidiaries of S1 Holdco and Protected. Additionally, Trebia’s ordinary shares and public warrants ceased trading on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”), and System1 Inc.'s Class A common stock, $0.0001 par value per share ("Class A common stock" or "Class A Common Stock") and the public warrants (the "Public Warrants") began trading on the NYSE on January 28, 2022 under the symbols “SST” and “SST.WS,” respectively.

The consideration paid to the existing equity holders of S1 Holdco and Protected in connection with the Merger was a combination of cash, Class A common stock, Class C common stock, $.0001 par value per share ("Class C common stock" or "Class C Common Stock") and a combination of restricted stock units in System1 and cash awards. The aggregate consideration under the BCA was $440,155 of cash and $411,453 of equity. Additionally, the aggregate Class B units in S1 Holdco retained by S1 Holdco equity holders at the Closing Date resulted in a non-controlling interest with an estimated value of $198,691.

The Company was deemed the accounting acquirer in the Merger, and S1 Holdco was deemed to be the predecessor entity. Accordingly, the historical financial statements of S1 Holdco became the historical financial statements of the Company, upon the consummation of the Merger. As a result, the financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K reflect: (i) the historical operating results of S1 Holdco prior to the Merger; and (ii) the consolidated results of the Company, including S1 Holdco and Protected following the closing of the Merger. The accompanying financial information includes a Predecessor period, which includes the periods through January 26, 2022 concurrent with the Merger, and a Successor period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022. A black-line between the Predecessor and Successor periods has been placed in the consolidated financial statements and in the tables within the notes to the consolidated financial statements to highlight the lack of comparability between these two periods as the Merger resulted in a new basis of accounting for S1 Holdco.

Refer to Note 3—MERGER of our consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information.

Our Industry

Today, advertisers seeking to reach their target consumers are confronted by significant operational and systemic challenges. Legacy mediums, including print, television and radio, represent a smaller and shrinking portion of media consumption than they have historically, as digital media formats, in particular those best served by mobile devices, have proliferated. Spending on global digital advertising has grown rapidly, reaching an estimated $523 billion in 2021, and is projected to grow to an estimated $766 billion in 2025. Additionally, spending on global digital advertising accounted for approximately 65% of total global advertising spend in 2021, a percentage that is expected to grow to almost 71% in 2025, continuing a trend of supplanting traditional advertising models to support advertisers’ customer acquisition efforts.

Digital marketing has become an increasingly complex ecosystem due to several trends. These trends include the rapid diversification of digital platforms, ever-evolving and more sophisticated advertising networks and ad exchange platforms, increasing audience fragmentation, rapidly changing technology infrastructure and a greater regulatory and audience focus on consumer and data privacy. As a result, advertisers continue to struggle to efficiently find high quality audiences that drive strong and consistent return on advertising spend. Since consumer
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demand is cyclical, constantly evolving and difficult to identify, marketing strategies are often tied to particular channels or verticals, which in turn makes identifying intent-driven consumer demand at the appropriate decision point a challenge for advertisers. We believe we are well positioned to address these challenges and match consumer demand with the appropriate advertiser, regardless of seasonality or economic cycle.

Some of the key industry trends are as follows:

Advertisers Have Significantly Shifted Their Budgets from Traditional Media to a Diverse Array of Digital Channels. Media content and advertising is increasingly becoming digital due to rapid advances in technology, increasing distribution channels and changes in consumer behavior. This shift has facilitated an unprecedented array of options for advertisers to better target and measure their advertising campaigns across nearly every media channel and device-type. This seismic shift in and across digital advertising has placed a significant premium on advertising decisions that are based on actual consumer behavior and temporal data. We believe that the digital advertising market will continue to grow and evolve rapidly, and that advertisers will shift more of their advertising spend to these digital media channels.

Better Execution Against Highly Fragmented Audiences. As digital media channels grow and consumption patterns change, highly fragmented audiences make it challenging to consistently reach a large relevant audience. Individual media consumption is becoming more individualized and fragmented, as the audience spends more time on an increasing number of personal devices while deciding what media to consume and search for rather than having those choices made for them in a large consistent platform. Both trends contribute to the ever-increasing demand from advertisers for programmatic advertising platforms that integrate options to buy advertising and provide data on how to optimize the financial returns of an ad campaign.

Top Digital Advertisers Are Transitioning Budgets to Performance-Based Models Where Data and Analytics Drive Decision Making. The shift to digital performance-based advertising models can be explained by mounting pressure on advertisers to demonstrate tangible results against their advertising efforts, and the corresponding shift of advertising budgets to distribution channels that facilitate the ability to better monitor results. We have designed RAMP to specifically address this constantly evolving landscape. Through our network of owned and operated websites, we have access to valuable first party intent data, which our platform combines with real-time feedback on the intent-driven consumer’s reaction to ads, thereby increasing the value of user traffic sent to advertisers and the publishers on which they are displayed.

Automation of Ad Buying. The growing complexity and increasing speed of digital marketing and advertising decisions has increased the need for automation. Technology that enables fast, accurate and cost-effective decision-making through computer algorithms that use extensive (and iterative) data sets has become critical for the success of digital advertising campaigns. By using programmatic inventory buying tools, advertisers are able to automate their campaigns, thereby providing them with better price discovery on an impression-by-impression basis. As a result, advertisers are able to efficiently bid on and purchase the advertising inventory they value the most, pay less for the inventory they do not value as much, and abstain from buying advertising inventory that does not fit their campaign parameters or reach their target audience.

Regulatory and Audience Focus on Consumer & Data Privacy. Both digital audiences and consumer focused regulatory bodies and agencies are becoming increasingly focused on consumer and data privacy, including the collection and sharing of users' personal data, as advertisers, marketing partners and publishers place a premium on high-quality consumer intent data. Governing bodies throughout the United States (including state and local governments), the European Union and other jurisdictions continue to respond to these growing consumer concerns by proposing and enacting new laws and regulations that are reshaping industry standards regarding consumer privacy, data protection and information security. As advertisers, marketing partners and publishers seek to remain compliant with this evolving regulatory landscape, while avoiding the reputational and financial costs of potential investigations or fines, financial
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penalties or private actions, first party intent data (i.e. consumer intent and related data properly collected and used directly by the party offering the service or media content) becomes increasingly more valuable. Our owned and operated search engines and publishing websites provide a continuous stream of anonymized and aggregated proprietary first party search intent data that is leveraged directly by RAMP, with proper disclosure as to how such data was collected, processed and is used.

Our Opportunity

Traditional advertising agencies are focused on creative services and allocating large advertising budgets across media platforms, but are often not as sophisticated in deploying the cutting-edge technology necessary to deliver responsive customers. While advertising consultants provide strategic advice, they are limited in their ability to deliver actual customers. Advertising buying platforms are not able to offer our data-science and algorithmic driven optimization of real-time bids. Most digital marketing providers are confined to a few forms of monetization, like lead generation or display advertising, and are typically not agnostic as to which method of monetization they employ. We believe we offer a differentiated platform, as we are channel and monetization-agnostic. We offer transparent measurement and real-time monitoring of return on advertising spend at a detailed level, which allows for purchase and sale decisions to be based on predictive modeling in order to drive superior results from our various advertisers.

Our Business Model

We initially began as a monetization platform that connected user traffic acquired by our network partners with advertising demand from our advertisers and advertising networks. We have significantly expanded the scope of our platform through organic growth, strategic acquisitions and the development of RAMP, which enables us to control user acquisition, consumer experience and monetization across all traffic. RAMP is integrated directly with our owned and operated search and digital media publishing websites and utilities, while supporting and utilizing multiple advertising formats across numerous platforms. RAMP is efficiently deployed across various websites and monetization channels, which has allowed us to accelerate our growth through the integration of multiple websites over the past several years.

Attracting and Monetizing User Traffic through Owned and Operated Websites—We own and operate approximately 40 websites, including search engines, publishing properties and utilities in a variety of categories, including health, how-to, general interest, finance, business, technology, travel and automotive. We work seamlessly with acquisition marketing channels to acquire user traffic to our properties. We deploy RAMP across our media properties to efficiently match consumer intent with our own products or services, or engage advertisers that seek to bid for the ability to interact with these consumers. We utilize an efficient content production and distribution strategy through RAMP that is both data-driven and engaging.

Drive New Subscribers to Subscription Offerings—We will employ a similar strategy by utilizing RAMP to acquire new customers to Protected.net’s security software subscription product, Total AV, as well as to future subscription products that Protected.net intends to offer in the future.

Monetizing User Traffic for Our Network Partners—We monetize user traffic on behalf of our more than 135 network partners, which include Yahoo!, WebMD and Publisher’s Clearing House. These network partners are companies that direct traffic to us in exchange for a share of advertising revenue. In 2022, we processed over 1.4 billion sessions.

Our Proprietary Assets

At the core of our business is our proprietary Responsive Acquisition Marketing Platform, or RAMP. RAMP’s predictive power is informed and enhanced by the following:

Owned and Operated Websites—We own and operate websites where we are able to attract user traffic across channels and present relevant offers. Our platform analyzes user interactions, builds a
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comprehensive view of the customer’s intent and enables advertisers to maximize return on their spend. The first party intent data that we are able to capture from our owned and operated search and media sites is a differentiated element of our platform enabling more informed and targeted decision-making in the bid parameters that we provide to our network partners.

Subscription Products—Our current subscription product, TotalAV, is a source of recurring subscription revenue. TotalAV provides consumers with security and privacy online through a variety of features, including real-time antivirus and identity protection. Our goal is to be the trusted cyber security partner for consumers across the globe, by enabling our subscribers to securely manage their digital lives across their various devices. As the risks to consumers continue to expand from device-based attacks to more sophisticated threats such as fraud, ransomware, identity theft and privacy intrusions, our products have evolved to provide a multi-layered approach in protecting against these threats, detecting ongoing and/or future attacks and helping our subscribers manage their digital footprint across the Internet, including their technology, applications, networks and identities. The cornerstone of our strategy is to provide consumers with a secure platform that brings together software and service capabilities to enable all facets of cyber safety, including real-time antivirus protection, safe browsing, adblocking, blocking of malicious websites and data breach monitoring. TotalAV is managed by an experienced team of approximately 86 employees who together have been awarded over 28 malware detection certifications from independent testers and industry trade-groups. We plan to continue expanding the scope of our platform through the development of other subscription products - including Total AdBlock and RoadWarrior.

System1’s Focus on First Party Data—In addition to acquiring large volumes of user traffic via RAMP, upon reaching our websites, RAMP utilizes its proprietary access to our first party data in order to further qualify consumer intent and offer the most appropriate user experience and most effective monetization. We are able to combine this dataset with historical information on ad spend across vertical categories, content and ad-creative automation, which is used to optimize monetization performance in order to provide a closed-loop view of the customer and advertising ecosystem. As a result, we have built a robust and valuable asset consisting of proprietary first party data based on more than 550 million distinct search queries a month. This valuable first party data is used by RAMP to target specific consumer audiences based on millions of precedent interactions, and allows us to provide our clients with deeper insights into consumer habits as they continue to interact with our owned and operated websites.

Network Partner Integrations—RAMP is seamlessly integrated with acquisition marketing channels, such as Google, Facebook, Zemanta, Taboola and Bing. This technical integration allows us to optimize our advertising campaigns and bids on a real-time basis, where RAMP processes over 28 million campaign optimizations per day.

Our Strengths

We believe that we are well positioned to continue to deliver high performance marketing solutions, including in the delivery of optimized bids and higher return on advertising spend, through the following strengths:

Proprietary Technology—The technology powering RAMP was designed to provide a dynamic closed-loop platform that is able to operate efficiently at scale, while optimizing in real-time across several key advertising considerations, including dynamic ad pricing, consumer intent and historical consumer interaction with relevant ad content. The components of RAMP include our programmatic buying platform, ad media interface, content and ad engine monetization decisioning, real-time revenue attribution, machine learning and data science algorithms, and back-end systems. As a result of the seamless integration of these proprietary technologies, we are able to continually improve performance as we incorporate additional data and evolving product enhancements.

Omni-Vertical and Monetization Agnostic Service Offering—RAMP is designed to work across vertical consumer categories, leveraging consumer data efficiently matched to consumer intent on a real-time basis. RAMP is also integrated with multiple forms of monetization, facilitating display and search advertising,
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lead generation, video, e-commerce and subscriptions. We believe that our platform adds significant value across the entire digital marketing landscape.

Best in Class Subscription Products—Our subscription products, led by TotalAV, delivers recurring revenue from its over 2.4 million active subscribers as of December 31, 2022. We believe the synergies in integrating RAMP with Protected’s customer monetization and relationship management platform have significant potential for additional high-value, point-of-sale monetization of consumers across a large and growing portfolio of online subscription offerings, where we intend to release both new and complimentary subscription products/services.

Substantial First-Party Data Consumer Information—Our websites typically experience an average of 170 million visits per month in aggregate. As a result, we have collected significant data (across search queries and decision-making behavior) from consumers, including first party intent data, and data on how consumers have historically responded to different types of ad content, creatives and formats.

This data is stored within our platform, so that it can be analyzed and iteratively enriched as consumers return to our websites and continue to interact with us. When this data is fed into our data science and machine learning algorithms, it becomes a powerful tool for identifying new monetization opportunities and increasing return on advertising spend.

Proven M&A Experience—We seek out complimentary or ancillary businesses where we can benefit from identified synergies by relying on our industry expertise, significant acquisition experience and in-house strategies to seamlessly integrate targets into RAMP. We have historically evaluated acquisition opportunities along several criteria, including building strong brands in advertising verticals, diversifying monetization capabilities, developing and augmenting new user acquisition channels, accelerating international growth and demonstrating expansion of our owned and operated properties.

Experienced Management Team—Our management team is founder-led, with a deep bench across product, engineering, business & corporate development and compliance.

Our Growth Strategies

We believe RAMP can be efficiently deployed across the quickly evolving and rapidly expanding digital advertising market. As the total available market for digital advertising expands, we believe we are well-positioned to deliver superior results and performance to advertisers and our network partners through our extensive relationships with leading advertisers and advertising networks, and to better match consumers with the products or services that match their intent.

Our goal is to continue to improve and extend the scope of RAMP by continuing to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of new sources of online user traffic, better monetization tools and growing areas of advertising demand. To achieve this goal, we intend to continue to grow our business by pursuing the following growth strategies:

Grow Existing Business Lines. We plan to expand the number of advertising partners that are utilizing or integrated with RAMP by continuing to attract and monetize users with commercial intent to our owned and operated web properties in high value vertical consumer categories. We will also continue to monetize users on behalf of our network partners.

Expand Our Subscription Product Offerings. We believe identifying new customers for our current subscription product, TotalAV, will demonstrate the power of applying RAMP to downloadable and similar subscription offerings, as we optimize to maximize return on advertising spend and increase the lifetime value of our subscribers. We plan to release new subscription product offerings and use RAMP to acquire and monetize subscribers through these new and enhanced products.

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Grow Internationally. We plan to selectively expand our business to international markets over time. We believe that we can expand into these new markets by investing in native language resources and continuing to invest in RAMP.

Continue Executing Strategic Acquisitions. We believe we are operating in a target-rich environment for strategic acquisitions that will enhance RAMP and add to our portfolio of owned and operated websites and subscription offerings. By continuing to execute on our successful track-record of identifying, evaluating, executing and integrating M&A targets, we believe that we will be able to continue plugging new acquisitions into our overall business strategy to enhance RAMP and expand the diversity and scope of our owned and operated properties.

Our websites cover a diverse range of consumer demand and traffic. For example, MapQuest is a web-based navigation software that delivers turn-by-turn direction services to users. Info.com is a metasearch engine that consumers can use to search for relevant information. HowStuffWorks is a commercial website focused on helping people solve problems in their daily lives by using various types of digital media to easily breakdown and explain complex concepts, terminology and mechanisms. Startpage is the world’s most private search engine, allowing our users to browse and search the Internet in complete privacy. CouponFollow is one of the largest coupon destinations for online shoppers.

Protected.net’s online subscription consumer security and privacy software, TotalAV, provides award-winning antivirus protection to its users by scanning, locating, quarantining and eliminating viruses, trojans, adware, spyware, ransomware and similar malicious actors in real-time. In addition to scheduled antivirus scans, TotalAV offers a website extension powered by an extensive database of known malicious phishing URLs designed to steal and harvest personal data in order to block phishing URLs, as well as remote firewall access. TotalAV also provides enhanced performance as computers slow down over time by identifying specific errors and programs which impact device performance. Protected.net also has an ad blocking product, Total Adblock, which is a plug-in that allows users to experience a cleaner browsing experience. It eliminates pop-ups, banners and video ads, which improves page load times, and blocks third-party trackers to protect users’ privacy and information.

Our Human Capital

We believe that our values of support, teamwork, individuality, ownership, impact and improvement have been an important component of our success. Behind all our innovations are the talented people around the world who bring them to life. To continue to produce such innovations, we believe that it is crucial that we continue to attract and retain top talent. We strive to make System1 a diverse and inclusive workplace, where our people feel they belong, with opportunities for our employees to grow and develop their careers, supported by strong compensation, benefits and health and wellness programs, and by programs that build connections between our employees and their communities. To ensure we live our values, and our culture stays unique and strong, our board of directors (the "Board" or the "Board of Directors") and executive team have put significant focus on our human capital resources.

As of December 31, 2022, we had 500 full-time employees in 5 countries. Regionally, North America and the rest of the world make up approximately 80% and 20% of our workforce, respectively.

Diversity and Inclusion

We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and belonging in which all employees are empowered to bring their whole, authentic selves to work every day. At System1, we believe in the people who work for us, and as part of our investment in our people, we prioritize diversity and inclusion. Our goal is to create a culture where we value, respect, and provide fair treatment and opportunities for all employees. We conduct an employee annual survey to give employees the opportunity to provide feedback on our culture. This survey is managed by a third-party vendor to encourage candor and solicit feedback on many aspects of engagement, including company
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leadership, culture, inclusion, and career development. Our leaders review the survey feedback and work with their teams to take action based on survey results.

We demonstrate this commitment through a strategy of education, celebration, donations to the community, diversifying our talent, and creating forums for internal dialogue and listening. Our global leadership team is approximately 67% male and 33% female.

Talent Development

Despite our rapid growth, we still cherish our roots as a startup and our company culture of ownership. We empower employees to develop their skills and abilities by acting on great ideas regardless of their role or function, which translates into personal investment in building our organization. We work to provide an environment where talented individuals and teams can thrive in fulfilling careers.

To set our global team up for success, we define key competencies for roles that are aligned to our values and extend to all levels of leadership regardless of experience and role. We encourage everyone to create individual development plans leveraging competency frameworks tied into their chosen career path, outlining a specific plan and actions to increase proficiency or learn new skills. We seek to provide a wide range of learning and development opportunities in both individual and group settings with formal, social and experiential learning.

Compensation and Benefits

We provide compensation and benefits programs to help meet the needs of our employees and reward their efforts and contributions. We seek fairness in total compensation with reference to external comparisons, internal comparisons and the relationship between management and non-management compensation.

In addition to salaries, we provide competitive compensation programs commensurate with our peers and industry. Such compensation and benefit programs may include short term incentives, equity awards, 401(k) plans, healthcare and insurance benefits, flexible spending accounts, paid time off, family leave, family care resources, employee assistance programs and tuition assistance, among many others. Such programs and our overall compensation packages seek to facilitate retention of key personnel.

Health, Safety and Wellness

The success of our business is fundamentally connected to the well-being of our people. Accordingly, we are committed to the health, safety and wellness of our employees. We provide our employees and their families with access to a variety of innovative, flexible and convenient health and wellness programs. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented significant changes, such as implementing and facilitating teleworking, that we determined were in the best interests of our employees, as well as the communities in which we operate, and which comply with applicable government regulations. We continue to evolve our programs to meet our employees’ health and wellness needs.

Intellectual Property

The protection of our technology and intellectual property is an important driver of our success. We rely on intellectual property laws, including trade secret, copyright, patent and trademark laws in the U.S. and abroad, and use contracts, confidentiality procedures, non-disclosure agreements, employee disclosure and invention assignment agreements and other contractual rights to protect our intellectual property. Our ability to continually develop new intellectual property and deliver new functionality quickly serves to protect us against competitors. We believe RAMP, along with our proprietary technology assets, is unique in the marketplace, difficult to replicate and would be expensive and time-consuming to build.

Seasonality

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In the advertising industry, companies commonly experience seasonal fluctuations in revenue. For example, many advertisers allocate the largest portion of their budgets to the fourth quarter of the calendar year in order to coincide with increased holiday purchasing. Historically, the fourth quarter of the year reflects our highest level of advertising activity as well as new customer activity to our subscription products, while the first quarter reflects the lowest level of such activity. We expect our revenue to continue to fluctuate based on seasonal factors that affect the industry as a whole.

Our Competition

Our industry is highly competitive and fragmented. We compete with other demand-side platform providers, some of which are smaller, privately-held companies and others are divisions of large, well-established companies such as Google and Microsoft. We believe that we compete primarily based on the performance, capabilities and transparency of our RAMP platform and our focus on the buy-side. We believe that we are differentiated from our competitors in the following areas:

we are an independent technology company focused on serving advertisers on the buy-side of our industry;

our client relationships are primarily based on auction platforms, where our success is determined by the quality and performance of our users for our advertising partners;

our platform provides comprehensive access to a wide range of inventory types and third-party data vendors; and

our platform allows clients to build proprietary advantages by integrating custom features and interfaces for their own use through our application programming interfaces, or APIs.

In addition, we believe that new entrants would find it difficult to gain direct access to inventory providers and advertising partners, given their limited scale and the costs that additional integrations impose on inventory providers.

The intense competition we face, in addition to general and economic business conditions, can put pressure on us to change our prices. If our competitors offer deep discounts on certain solutions or provide offerings, we may need to lower margins to compete successfully. Similarly, if there is pressure by competitors to raise prices, our ability to acquire new customers and retain existing customers may be diminished. Any such changes may reduce revenue and margins and could adversely affect our financial results.

Collection and Use of Data; Privacy and Data Protection Legislation and Regulation

We and our clients currently use pseudonymous data about Internet and mobile app users on our platform to manage and execute digital advertising campaigns in a variety of ways, including delivering advertisements to end users based on their geographic locations, the type of device they are using, their interests as inferred from their Internet search queries, web browsing or app usage activity or their relationships with our clients. Such data is passed to us from third parties, including original equipment manufacturers, application providers and publishers. We do not use this data to discover the identity of individuals, and we currently prohibit clients, data providers and inventory suppliers from importing data that directly identifies individuals onto our ad buying platform, though we do allow clients to share some directly identifying information, such as phone number and email address, with us for purposes of transforming that information into pseudonymous identifiers to use on our platform.

Our ability, like those of other advertising technology companies, to collect, process, augment, analyze, use and share data relies upon the ability to uniquely identify devices across websites and applications, and to collect data about user interactions with those devices for purposes such as serving relevant ads and measuring the
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effectiveness of ads. The processes used to identify devices and similar and associated technologies are governed by U.S. and foreign laws and regulations, and is dependent upon their implementation within the industry ecosystem. Such laws, regulations and industry standards may change from time to time, including those relating to the level of consumer notice, consent and/or choice required when a company employs cookies, pixels or other electronic tools to collect, process and share data about interactions with users online.

In the United States, both federal and state legislation govern activities such as the collection and use of data, and privacy in the advertising technology industry has frequently been subject to review by the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”), U.S. Congress, and individual state governments. Much of the federal oversight on digital advertising in the United States currently comes from the FTC, which has primarily relied upon Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits companies from engaging in “unfair” or “deceptive” trade practices, including alleged violations of representations concerning privacy protections and acts that allegedly violate individuals’ privacy interests. However, there is increasing consumer concern over data privacy and the use of personally identifiable information in recent years, which has led to a myriad of new and proposed legislation both at the federal and state levels, some of which has affected and will continue to affect our operations and those of our industry partners. For example, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (the “CCPA”), which went into effect January 1, 2020, defines “personal information” broadly enough to include online identifiers provided by individuals’ devices, applications and protocols (such as IP addresses, mobile application identifiers and unique cookie identifiers) and individuals’ location data, if there is potential that individuals can be identified by such data.

The CCPA created individual data privacy rights for consumers in the State of California (including rights to deletion of and access to, as well as rights to opt-out of the collection of, personal information), special rules on the collection of consumer data from minors, new notice obligations and new limits on, and rules regarding the “sale” of personal information (interpreted by many observers to include common advertising practices). The CCPA also includes a 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. The CCPA also offers the possibility to a consumer to recover statutory damages for certain violations and could open the door more broadly to additional risks of individual and class-action lawsuits even though the statute’s private right of action is limited in scope. There have been many class action lawsuits filed invoking the CCPA outside of the private right of action provided for by the law. It is unclear at this point whether any of these claims will be accepted by the courts. In addition, the recently-passed California Privacy Rights Act (the "CPRA"), which updates and supplements the CCPA, as well as similar laws recently adopted in Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut and Utah, will impose additional notice and opt out obligations on the digital advertising space, including an obligation to provide a prominent opt out for behavioral advertising. When the CPRA, as well as the recently adopted laws in Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut and Utah go into full effect in 2023 and 2024, as well as potentially similar laws being considered in other states, they will impose additional restrictions on us and on our industry partners. It is difficult to predict with certainty the full effect of these recently passed or pending laws and their implementing regulations on the Internet and advertising industries as a whole.

As our business is global, our activities are also subject to foreign legislation and regulation. In the United Kingdom and the European Union (including the European Economic Area (the “EEA”) and the countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), or EU, separate laws and regulations (and member states’ implementations thereof) govern the processing of personal data, and these laws and regulations continue to impact us. The General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), which applies to us, came into effect on May 25, 2018. Like the CCPA, the GDPR defines “personal data” broadly, and it enhances data protection obligations for controllers of such data and for service providers processing the data. It also provides certain rights, such as access and deletion, to the individuals about whom the personal data relates. The IAB Europe previously collaborated with the digital advertising industry to create a user-facing framework (the Transparency and Control Framework, or “TCF”) for establishing and managing legal bases under the GDPR and other U.K. and EU privacy laws including the ePrivacy Directive (discussed below). Although the TCF is still partially in use, its viability as a compliance mechanism has come under attack by the Belgian Data Protection Authority and others, and we cannot predict its effectiveness or applicability over the long term. In February 2022, the Belgium Data Protection Authority issued an order against IAB Europe that imposes specific remedies on IAB Europe and its operation of TCF. Further, other European regulators have questioned the framework’s viability and activists have filed complaints with regulators of alleged
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non-compliance by specific companies that employ the framework. Continuing to maintain compliance with the GDPR’s requirements, including monitoring and adjusting to rulings and interpretations that affect our approach to compliance, requires significant time, resources and expense, and may lead to significant changes in our business operations, as will the effort to monitor whether additional changes to our business and data collection practices and our backend configuration are needed, all of which may increase operating costs, or limit our ability to operate or expand our business.

Additionally, in the EU, EU Directive 2002/58/EC (as amended by Directive 2009/136/EC), commonly referred to as the ePrivacy or Cookie Directive, directs EU member states to ensure that accessing information on an Internet user’s computer or mobile device, such as through a cookie and other similar technologies, is allowed only if the Internet user has been informed about such access, and provided active and informed consent. A recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union clarified that such consent must be reflected by an affirmative act of the user, and European regulators are increasingly agitating for more robust forms of consent and bringing enforcement actions against large platforms, including Amazon, Facebook and Google, concerning their cookie consent mechanisms. These developments may result in decreased reliance on implied consent mechanisms that have historically been used to meet requirements of the ePrivacy Directive in some markets. A replacement for the ePrivacy Directive is currently under discussion by EU member states to complement and bring electronic communication services in line with the GDPR and force a harmonized approach across EU member states. Although it remains under debate, the proposed ePrivacy Regulation may further raise the bar for the use of cookies, and the fines and penalties for breach may be significant. We cannot yet determine the impact such future laws, regulations and standards may have on our business.

For the transfer of personal data from the EU to the United States, like many U.S. and European companies, we have historically relied upon the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks. The Privacy Shield Framework, however, was struck down in July 2020 by the Court of Justice of the European Union as an adequate mechanism by which EU companies may pass personal data to the US. Other EU mechanisms for adequate data transfer, such as the standard contractual clauses, were also questioned by the Court of Justice and, as a result, whether and how standard contractual clauses can be used to transfer personal data to the United States is in question. If there is no interim agreement and standard contractual clauses also cannot be relied upon, we could be left with no reasonable option for the lawful cross-border transfer of personal data. If successful challenges leave us with no reasonable option for the lawful cross-border transfer of personal data, and if we nonetheless continue to transfer personal data from the EU to the United States, that could lead to governmental enforcement actions, litigation, fines and penalties or adverse publicity, any of which could have an adverse effect on our reputation and business or cause us to need to establish various technical systems to maintain certain data in the EU, which may involve substantial expense and cause us to need to divert resources from other aspects of our operations. Other jurisdictions have adopted or are considering cross-border or data residency restrictions, which could reduce the amount of data we can collect or process and, as a result, significantly impact our business.

As the collection and use of data for digital advertising has received media attention over the past several years, some government regulators, such as the FTC, and privacy advocates have suggested creating a universally accepted “Do Not Track” standard that would allow Internet users to express a preference, independent of cookie settings in their browser, not to have their online browsing activities tracked and shared across websites or devices. The CPRA and new Colorado consumer privacy law similarly contemplate the use of technical opt-outs for the sale and sharing of personal information for advertising purposes, and allow for rulemaking to develop these technical signals. If a universally accepted “Do Not Track,” “Do Not Sell,” or similar control is adopted by many Internet users, or if a “Do Not Track” or similar standard is imposed by additional states or by federal or foreign legislation, or is agreed upon by industry standard setting groups, we may have to change our business practices, our clients may reduce their use of our platform, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected.

We participate in several industry self-regulatory programs, mainly initiated by the Network Advertising Initiative, or NAI, the Digital Advertising Alliance, or DAA, and their international counterparts. Our efforts to comply with the self-regulatory principles of these programs include offering end users notice and choice when
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advertising is served to them based, in part, on their interests. We believe that this user-centric approach to addressing consumer privacy empowers consumers to make informed decisions on the use of their data.

Government Regulation

We are subject to a number of foreign and domestic laws and regulations that affect companies conducting business over the Internet and, in some cases, using services of third-party telecommunications and Internet service providers. These include, but are not limited to, laws and regulations addressing data and consumer privacy; data sharing, storage, retention and security; freedom of expression; content dissemination/distribution; taxation; advertising and intellectual property. Our ability, like those of other digital advertising and subscription companies, to collect, enhance, analyze, use and share data relies upon our ability to uniquely identify devices across websites and applications, and to collect data about user interactions with those devices for marketing purposes, including the effectiveness of targeted ads. The processes used to identify devices and similar technologies are governed by U.S. and foreign laws and regulations and dependent upon their implementation. Such laws, regulations, and industry standards may change from time to time, including those relating to the level of consumer notice and consent required before a company can employ cookies or other electronic tools to collect data about interactions with users online. Protected.net also collects, uses, and stores an increasingly high volume, variety and velocity of personal information, in connection with the operation of its business, particularly, in relation to Protected.net’s identity and information protection offerings, which rely on large data repositories of personal information and consumer transactions.

Available Information

We file Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements and related amendments, exhibits and other information with the SEC. You may access and read our filings without charge through the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov or through our website at https://ir.system1.com/, as soon as reasonably practicable after such materials are electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act.

Website addresses referred to in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are not intended to function as hyperlinks, and the information contained on our website is not incorporated into, and does not form a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any other report or documents we file with or furnish to the SEC.
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Item 1A. Risk Factors

Investing in our Class A common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should consider carefully the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including the consolidated financial statements and the related notes and Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, before making investment decisions related to our Class A common stock. If any of the following risks are realized, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In that event, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline and you could lose part or all of your investment.

Risks Related to Our Business Strategy and Industry Generally

We have a limited operating history, which makes it difficult to evaluate our business and prospects and may increase the risks associated with your investment.

S1 Holdco was formed in 2013 and, as a result, has only a limited operating history upon which our business and prospects may be evaluated. Although we have experienced substantial revenue growth in our limited operating history, we may not be able to sustain this rate of growth or maintain our current revenue levels. We have encountered and will continue to encounter risks and challenges frequently experienced by growing companies in rapidly developing industries, including risks related to our ability to:
•    build and maintain a reputation for providing a superior platform for monetizing consumer intent, and for creating trust and maintaining long-term relationships with consumers and platform customers;

•    drive consumers with relevant commercial intent to our owned and operated websites and to websites operated by our advertisers;

•    maintain and expand our relationships with suppliers of quality advertising inventory;

•    distinguish ourselves from competitors;

•    develop, offer, maintain and continually improve a competitive customer acquisition marketing platform that meets the evolving needs of our consumers and platform customers;

•    scale our business efficiently to keep pace with demand for services such as RAMP and other digital media and advertising technology offerings;

•    create new revenue opportunities through acquiring new businesses and successfully integrate and meaningfully grow those businesses;

•    respond to evolving industry standards and the enactment of government regulations that impact our business, particularly in the areas of data collection and consumer privacy;

•    prevent or mitigate failures or breaches of data security and our technology infrastructure;

•    expand our businesses internationally; and

•    hire and retain qualified and motivated employees.

We cannot assure you that we will be successful in addressing these and other challenges we may face in the future. If we are unable to do so, our business may suffer, our revenue and operating results may decline and we may not be able to achieve further growth or sustain profitability.

Our revenue is tied to the effectiveness and performance of our Responsive Acquisition Marketing Platform.
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If RAMP does not acquire users with the relevant commercial intent to our websites via acquisition marketing channels, we may not be able to profitability monetize users. Our revenue and operating results depend on our ability to generate revenue from advertisers and advertising networks by cost-effectively acquiring consumer Internet traffic and then directing these intent-driven consumers to our advertising partners. If we are unable to cost-effectively acquire users or provide value to our advertising partners based on their traffic acquisition costs, they may decline to utilize us to acquire and monetize users, which would harm our revenue and operating results.

A meaningful portion of our revenue is attributable to our agreements with Google, and therefore is subject to their practices.

We have multiple services agreements with Google pursuant to which we display and syndicate paid listings provided by Google in response to search queries generated through some of our businesses. In exchange for making our search traffic available to Google, we receive a share of the revenue generated by the paid listings supplied to us, as well as other search related services. For the period January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022, 68% of our total revenue was attributable to our agreements with Google.

The amount of revenue we receive from Google depends on a number of factors outside of our control, including the amount Google charges third parties for the display or delivery of advertisements, the efficiency of Google’s system in attracting advertisers and serving up paid listings in response to search queries and parameters established by Google regarding the time period for and scope of chargebacks or credits sought by advertisers on the basis of fraudulent and/or low quality clicks, clawbacks for bad traffic brought by our network partners, and placement of paid listings displayed in response to search queries that are not contextually relevant to the applicable search query.

Changes to the amount Google charges advertisers, the efficiency of Google’s paid listings network, Google’s judgment about the relative attractiveness to advertisers of clicks on paid listings from our websites or to the parameters applicable to the display of paid listings generally could result in a decrease in the amount of revenue we receive from Google, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Such changes could be driven by a number of factors, including general market conditions, competition or policy and operating decisions made by Google.

Our agreements with Google also require that we comply with certain guidelines for the use of Google brands and services, which govern whether our platform may access Google services or be distributed through its Chrome Web Store, and the manner in which Google’s paid listings are displayed within search results across various third party platforms and products (including our websites). Google may generally unilaterally update its policies and guidelines without advance notice, which could in turn require modifications to, or prohibit or render obsolete, certain of our services or business practices. Such changes could be costly to address or otherwise adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Noncompliance with Google’s guidelines by us or the third parties to whom we are permitted to syndicate paid listings or through which we secure distribution arrangements for the businesses could result in the suspension of some or all Google services to us (or the websites of our third party partners) or the termination of our agreements by Google.

The termination of our agreements by Google, the curtailment of our rights under the agreements (including the failure to allow our platform to access Google services, whether pursuant to the terms thereof or otherwise), the failure of Google to perform its obligations under the agreements or policy changes implemented by Google under the agreements or otherwise would have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. If any of these events were to occur, we may not be able to find another suitable alternate provider of paid listings (or if an alternate provider were found, the economic and other terms of the agreement and the quality of paid listings may be inferior relative to our current arrangements).

We collect, process, store, share, disclose and use consumer information and other data, and our actual or perceived failure to protect such information and data or respect users’ privacy could damage our reputation and brand and harm our business and operating results.
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Use of our technology solutions involves the storage and transmission of certain consumers’ information, including limited amounts of personally identifiable information. Security breaches could expose us to a risk of loss or exposure of this information, which could result in potential liability, litigation and remediation costs, as well as reputational harm, all of which could materially adversely affect our business and financial results. For example, unauthorized parties could steal our users’ names, email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers and other information that we collect when providing referrals. While we use encryption and authentication technology licensed from third parties designed to effect secure transmission of such information, we cannot guarantee the security of the transfer and storage of the personal information we collect from advertisers.

Our websites and information systems are vulnerable to computer viruses, break-ins, phishing and/or impersonation attacks, attempts to overload our servers with denial-of-service or other hacking attacks, ransomware and similar incidents or disruptions from unauthorized use of our computer systems, as well as unintentional incidents causing data leakage, any of which could lead to interruptions, delays or website shutdowns, or could cause loss of critical data or the unauthorized disclosure, access, acquisition, alteration or use of personal or other confidential information. The security measures we use internally, which are designed to detect unauthorized activity and prevent or minimize security breaches, may not function as expected or may not be sufficient to protect against certain attacks. Additionally, we may face delays in identifying or responding to security breaches or other security incidents. Further, outside parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees, consumers or advertisers to disclose sensitive information in order to gain access to our information or consumers’ or advertisers’ information.

Any or all of the issues above could adversely affect our ability to attract new users and increase engagement by existing users, cause existing users to curtail or stop use of our software products and/or visit our portfolio of websites, cause existing advertisers to stop using our platform and cancel their contracts or subject us to governmental or third-party lawsuits, investigations, regulatory fines or other actions or liability. Such issues may harm our business, results of operations and financial condition. Although we are not aware of any material information security incidents to date, we have detected common types of attempts to attack our information systems and data using means that have included viruses and phishing.

There are numerous federal, state and local laws in the United States and around the world regarding privacy and the collection, processing, storing, sharing, disclosing, using, cross-border transfer and protecting of personal information and other data, the scope of which are changing, subject to differing interpretations, and which may be costly to comply with, may result in regulatory fines or penalties, and may be inconsistent between countries and jurisdictions or conflict with other current or pending rules.

We are subject to the terms of our privacy policies and privacy-related obligations to third parties. We strive to comply with all applicable laws, policies, legal obligations and industry codes of conduct relating to privacy and data protection, to the extent possible. However, it is possible that these obligations may be interpreted and applied in new ways or in a manner that is inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another and may conflict with other rules or our practices or that new regulations could be enacted. Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with our privacy policies, our privacy-related obligations to consumers or other third parties, or our privacy-related legal obligations, or any compromise of security that results in the unauthorized release or transfer of sensitive information, which could include personally identifiable information or other user data, may result in governmental investigations, enforcement actions, regulatory fines, litigation or public statements against us by consumer advocacy groups or others, and could cause consumers and advertisers to lose trust in us, all of which could be costly and have an adverse effect on our business. In addition, new and changed rules and regulations regarding privacy, data protection and cross-border transfers of consumer information could cause us to delay planned uses and disclosures of data to comply with applicable privacy and data protection requirements. Moreover, if third parties that we work with violate applicable laws or our policies, such violations also may put consumer or advertiser information at risk and could in turn harm our reputation, business and operating results.

We rely on large-scale acquisition marketing channels, such as Google, Facebook and Taboola, as well as our network partners, for a significant portion of our consumer Internet traffic.
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Consumer Internet traffic acquired and/or referred through acquisition marketing channels also provides a significant amount of the first party data that improves the predictive power of RAMP, which we leverage to deliver relevant users to our advertisers. If we are unable to maintain these relationships with these acquisition marketing channels, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Efforts designed to drive visitors to our various brands and businesses or those of our advertisers may not be successful or cost-effective.

Traffic building and conversion initiatives involve considerable expenditures for online advertising and marketing. We have made, and expect to continue to make, significant expenditures for search engine marketing (primarily in the form of developing and maintaining a database of keywords and search terms, for which we purchase advertising primarily through Google and, to a lesser extent, Microsoft and Yahoo!), online display advertising and native advertising in connection with these initiatives, which may not be successful or cost-effective. To continue to reach consumers and users, we will need to identify and devote more of our overall marketing expenditures to digital advertising channels (such as online video and other digital platforms), as well as reach consumers and users via these channels. Since these channels are constantly changing and evolving, it could be difficult to assess returns on related digital marketing investments. Historically, we have had to increase advertising and marketing expenditures over time in order to attract and convert consumers, retain users and sustain our growth.

The display, including rankings, of search results can be affected by a number of factors, many of which are not in our direct control, and may change frequently, and we may not know how (or otherwise be in a position) to influence actions taken by search engines. With respect to search results in particular, even when search engines announce the details of their methodologies, their parameters may change from time to time, be poorly defined or be inconsistently interpreted.

If we are unable to develop new and enhanced subscription solutions, or if we are unable to continually improve the performance, features, and reliability of our existing subscription solutions, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.

Our continued and future success depends on our ability to effectively respond with new and improved products that address evolving threats to consumers, as well as competitive technological developments and industry changes, by developing or introducing new and enhanced subscription solutions on a timely basis. We have in the past incurred, and will continue to incur, significant research and development expenses as we focus on organic growth through internal innovation and development. We believe that we also must continue to dedicate time and resources to our research and development efforts to decrease our reliance on third parties, including parties from which we license some of our subscription solutions. If we do not achieve the benefits anticipated from these investments, or if the achievement of these benefits is delayed, our operating results may be adversely affected. Additionally, we must regularly address the challenges of dynamic and accelerating market trends and competitive developments, including shifting consumer preferences and managing multiple marketing channels. Customers may require features and capabilities that our current solutions do not have. Our failure to develop new solutions and improve our existing solutions to satisfy these customer preferences and effectively compete with other market offerings in a timely and cost-effective manner may harm our ability to retain our customers and attract new customers. A loss of customers for our subscription solutions would adversely impact our business and operating results.

The development and introduction of new subscription solutions involve a significant commitment of time and resources, and are subject to a number of risks and challenges, including, but not limited to:

•    Lengthy development cycles;

•    Continually evolving industry and regulatory standards and technological developments by our competitors;

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•    Rapidly changing customer preferences;

•    Evolving platforms, operating systems, and hardware products, such as the proliferation and rapid improvements of mobile devices;

•    Product and service interoperability challenges with customer’s multi-device technology needs and third-party vendors;

•    The integration of products or solutions from newly acquired offerings;

•    Entering into new or unproven markets and product verticals; and

•    Executing against new product, service and marketing strategies.

In addition, third parties, including operating systems, mobile applications and Internet browser companies, may take steps to further limit the interoperability of our solutions across our customers' devices with their own products and services, in some cases to promote their own offerings. This could delay the development of our solutions or our solutions may be unable to operate effectively. This could also result in decreased demand for our subscription solutions and harm our reputation in a competitive marketplace, any of which would adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

If we are not successful in managing these risks and challenges, or if our new or improved subscription solutions are not technologically competitive or do not achieve market acceptance, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.

Our marketing efforts may not be successful.

We currently rely on performance marketing channels that must deliver against certain return on investment with respect to metrics that are selected by our advertisers and are subject to change at any time. We are unable to control how our advertisers evaluate our performance. Certain of these metrics are subject to inherent challenges in measurement, and real or perceived inaccuracies in such metrics may harm our reputation and adversely affect our business. In addition, the metrics we provide may differ from estimates published by third parties or from similar metrics of our competitors due to differences in methodology. If our advertisers do not perceive our metrics to be accurate, or if we discover material inaccuracies in our metrics, it could adversely affect our online marketing efforts and business.

We have entered into, and may in the future enter into, credit facilities which contain operating and financial covenants that restrict our business and financing activities.

We have entered into, and may in the future enter into, credit facilities which contain restrictions that limit our flexibility in operating our business. Our credit facilities contain various covenants that limit our ability to engage in specified types of transactions. Subject to limited exceptions, these covenants limit our ability to, among other things:

•    sell assets or make changes to the nature of our business;

•    engage in mergers or acquisitions;

•    incur, assume or permit additional indebtedness;

•    make restricted payments, including paying dividends on, repurchasing, redeeming or making distributions with respect to our capital stock;

•    make specified investments;
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•    engage in transactions with our affiliates; and

•    make payments in respect of subordinated debt.

Our obligations under our credit facilities are collateralized by a pledge of substantially all of our assets, including accounts receivable, deposit accounts, intellectual property, and investment property and equipment. The covenants in our credit facilities may limit our ability to take actions and, in the event that we breach one or more covenants (including the timely delivery of financial statements), our lenders may choose to declare an event of default and require that we immediately repay all amounts outstanding, terminate the commitment to extend further credit and foreclose on the collateral granted to them to collateralize such indebtedness, which includes our intellectual property. In addition, if we fail to meet the required covenants, we will not have access to further draw-downs under our credit facilities.

Our ability to continue as a going concern is dependent upon our ability to comply with, or obtain a waiver or modification of, certain of our debt covenants from our lenders.

Our Credit and Guaranty Agreement, dated as of January 27, 2022 (the "Credit Agreement"), among S1 Holdco, Orchid Merger Sub II, LLC, the other guarantors and each lender from time to time party thereto and Bank of America, N.A. ("BofA"), as the administrative agent, contains affirmative and negative covenants which, among other things, require us to timely deliver audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022. On June 1, 2023, we had not delivered the audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 to BofA as required by the Credit Agreement. The failure to timely deliver the audited financial statements is an event of default under the Credit Agreement and provides BofA the ability to immediately call the outstanding principal balances of the Term Loan and Revolving Facility of $430,000, as of the date of this filing, at the request of, or with the consent of, the required majority of lenders until such time that the audited financial statements are delivered to BofA. We do not have sufficient liquidity to settle the outstanding principal balances should they be called, nor has the Company identified sufficient alternative sources of capital. As a result, this matter raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.

Upon delivery of the audited financial statements by us, the event of default will be remediated and, once remediated, BofA would no longer have the ability to call the outstanding principal balances of the Term Loan and Revolving Facility. However, there can be no assurance that we will be able to deliver the audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 before BofA decides to immediately call the outstanding principal balances, or that we will be able to secure a waiver or forbearance in the future to prevent such an acceleration, which would raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.

We may not be able to secure additional financing on favorable terms, or at all, to meet our future capital needs, which may in turn impair our growth.

We intend to continue to grow our business, which will require additional capital to develop new features or enhance our platforms and portfolio of websites, create new software products, improve our operating infrastructure, finance working capital requirements, or acquire complementary businesses and technologies. We cannot assure you that our business will generate sufficient cash flow from operations or that future borrowings will be available to us under our existing credit facility in an amount sufficient to fund our working capital needs. Accordingly, we may need to undertake or seek out additional equity or debt financings to secure additional capital. We cannot assure you that we would be able to locate additional financing on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Any debt financing that we secure in the future could involve restrictive covenants relating to our capital raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities. If our cash flows and credit facility borrowings are insufficient to fund our working capital requirements, we may not be able to grow at the rate we currently expect or at all. In addition, in the absence of sufficient cash flows from operations, we might be unable to meet our obligations under our credit facility, and we may therefore be at risk of default thereunder. If we raise additional funds through future issuances
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of equity or convertible debt securities, our existing stockholders could suffer significant dilution, and any new equity securities we issue could have rights, preferences and privileges superior to those of holders of our common stock. If we are unable to secure additional funding on favorable terms, or at all, when we require it, our ability to continue to grow our business to react to market conditions could be impaired and our business may be harmed.

Operational and performance issues with our platform, whether real or perceived, including a failure to respond to technological changes or to upgrade our technology systems, may adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.

We depend upon the sustained and uninterrupted performance of our platform to manage our inventory supply; bid on inventory for each campaign; collect, process and interpret first party data; and optimize campaign performance in real time and provide billing information to our financial systems. If RAMP cannot scale to meet demand, if there are errors in our execution of any of these functions on our platform, or if we experience outages, then our business may be harmed. We may also face material delays in introducing new services, products and enhancements. If competitors introduce new products and services using new technologies or if new industry standards and practices emerge, our existing proprietary technology and systems may become obsolete.

RAMP is complex and multifaceted, and operational and performance issues could arise both from the platform itself and from outside factors. Errors, failures, vulnerabilities or bugs have been found in the past, and may in the future, be found. Our platform also relies on third-party technology and systems to perform properly, and our platform is often used in connection with computing environments utilizing different operating systems, system management software, equipment and networking configurations, which may cause errors in, or failures of, our platform or such other computing environments. Operational and performance issues with our platform could include the failure of our user interface, outages, errors during upgrades or patches, discrepancies in costs billed versus costs paid, unanticipated volume overwhelming our databases, server failure, or catastrophic events affecting one or more server farms. While we have built redundancies in our systems, full redundancies do not exist. Some failures will shut our platform down completely, others only partially. Partial failures, which we have experienced in the past, could result in unauthorized bidding, cessation of our ability to bid or deliver impressions or deletion of our reporting, in each case resulting in unanticipated financial obligations or impact.

Operational and performance issues with our platform could also result in negative publicity, damage to our brand and reputation, loss of or delay in market acceptance of our platform, increased costs or loss of revenue, loss of the ability to access our platform, loss of competitive position or claims by clients for losses sustained by them. Alleviating problems resulting from such issues could require significant expenditures of capital and other resources and could cause interruptions, delays or the cessation of our business, any of which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.

We allow our clients to utilize application programming interfaces, or APIs, with MapQuest and for reporting or distribution of services for our other businesses, which could result in outages or security breaches and negatively impact our business, financial condition and operating results.

The use of APIs by our clients has significantly increased in recent years. Our APIs allow clients to build their consumer finding location services or access features or reporting for some of our other businesses. The increased use of APIs increases security and operational risks to our systems, including the risk for intrusion attacks, data theft, or denial of service attacks. Furthermore, while APIs allow clients greater ease and power in accessing our platform, they also increase the risk of overusing our systems, potentially causing outages. We have experienced system slowdowns due to client overuse of our systems through our APIs. While we have taken measures intended to decrease security and outage risks associated with the use of APIs, we cannot guarantee that such measures will be successful. Our failure to prevent outages or security breaches resulting from API use could result in government enforcement actions against us, claims for damages by consumers and other affected individuals, costs associated with investigation and remediation damage to our reputation and loss of goodwill, any of which could harm our business, financial condition and operating results.

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The market for paid traffic is extremely competitive, and we may not be able to compete successfully with our current or future competitors.

Our digital advertising business operates in a highly competitive and rapidly changing industry. With the introduction of new technologies and the influx of new entrants to the market, we expect competition to persist and intensify in the future, which could harm our ability to increase revenue and maintain profitability. New technologies and methods of buying advertising present a dynamic competitive challenge, as market participants offer multiple new products and services aimed at capturing advertising spend, such as analytics, automated media buying and exchanges. In addition to existing competitors and intermediaries, we may also face competition from new companies entering the market, which may include large established companies, all of which currently offer, or may in the future offer, products and services that result in additional competition for advertising spend or advertising inventory.

We may also face competition from companies that we do not yet know about or do not yet exist. If existing or new companies develop, market or resell competitive high-value digital marketing products or services, acquire one of our existing competitors or form a strategic alliance with one of our competitors, our ability to compete effectively could be significantly compromised and our results of operations could be harmed.

Our current and potential competitors may have significantly more financial, technical, marketing and other resources than we have, allowing them to devote greater resources to the development, promotion, sale and support of their products and services. They may also have more extensive advertiser bases and broader publisher relationships than we have, and may be better positioned to execute on advertising conducted over certain channels such as social media, mobile, CTV and video. Some of our competitors may have longer operating histories and greater name recognition. As a result, these competitors may be better able to respond quickly to new technologies, develop deeper advertiser relationships or offer services at lower prices. Any of these developments would make it more difficult for us to sell our platform and could result in increased pricing pressure, increased sales and marketing expense or the loss of market share.

We operate in a highly competitive environment. If we fail to innovate and make the right investment decisions in our offerings and platform, we may not attract and retain advertisers, and our competitors may gain market share in the markets for our solutions that could adversely affect our business and cause our revenues and results of operations to decline.

We operate in intensely competitive markets that experience frequent technological developments, changes in industry and regulatory standards, changes in customer requirements and preferences, and frequent new product introductions and improvements by our competitors. Our future success also depends on our ability to effectively respond to evolving threats to consumers, as well as competitive technological developments and industry changes, by developing or introducing new and enhanced solutions on a timely basis. We must constantly innovate and make investment decisions regarding offerings and technology to meet client demand and evolving industry standards. If we are unable to anticipate or react to these continually evolving conditions, or if we make bad decisions regarding investments, we could lose market share and experience a decline in our revenues that could adversely affect our business and operating results. Additionally, if new or existing competitors have more attractive offerings, we may lose customers or customers may decrease their use of RAMP and other software products and services that we provide.

To compete successfully, we must maintain an innovative research and development effort to develop new solutions and enhance our existing solutions, effectively adapt to changes in the technology or product rights held by our competitors, appropriately respond to competitive strategies, and effectively adapt to technological changes and changes in the ways that our information is accessed, used, and stored by our customers. We have in the past incurred, and will continue to incur, research and development expenses as we focus on organic growth through internal innovation. We believe that we also must continue to dedicate a significant amount of resources to our research and development efforts to decrease our reliance on third parties. If we do not achieve the benefits anticipated from these investments, or if the achievement of these benefits is delayed, our operating results may be adversely affected. Additionally, we must continually address the challenges of dynamic and accelerating market
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trends and competitive developments. Customers may require features and capabilities that our current solutions do not have. Our failure to develop new solutions and improve our existing solutions to satisfy customer preferences and effectively compete with other market offerings in a timely and cost-effective manner may harm our ability to retain our customers and attract new customers. A loss of customers would adversely impact our business and operating results.

The diversity of our websites means that we are competitive in many different verticals. As a result, we face a diversity of competitors that directly compete with our offerings, including but not limited to search engine providers, providers of programmatic advertising, content generators and privacy and security software providers. Because we compete in so many different verticals, if any of our competitors gain market share in some markets, it would make it more difficult for us to sell our advertising and could result in increased pricing pressure, increase sales and marketing expenses and loss of market share, which would cause our revenue to decline.

We compete for advertising spend from our advertisers, and if we are unable to maintain or increase our share of the advertising spend of our advertisers, our business could be harmed.

We compete for advertising spend with traditional offline media such as television, billboards, radio, magazines and newspapers, as well as online sources such as websites, social media and websites dedicated to providing information comparable to that provided in our websites. Additionally, we compete with other online marketing companies that offer acquisition marketing services similar to that provided by our platform. Our ability to attract and retain advertisers, and to generate advertising revenue from them, depends on a number of factors, including:

•    the ability of our advertisers to earn an attractive return on investment from their spending with us;

•    our ability to increase the number of consumers using our websites;

•    our ability to increase return on investment for advertisers that place advertisements on our platform;

•    our ability to provide a seamless, user-friendly advertising platform for our advertisers;

•    our ability to compete effectively with other media for advertising spending; and

•    our ability to keep pace with changes in technology and the practices and offerings of our competitors.

We may not succeed in retaining or capturing a greater share of our advertisers’ advertising spending compared to alternative channels. If our current advertisers reduce or end their advertising spending with us and we are unable to increase the spending of our other advertisers or attract new advertisers, our revenue and business and financial results would be materially adversely affected.

In addition, advertising spend remains concentrated in traditional offline media channels. Some of our current or potential advertisers have little or no experience using the Internet for advertising and marketing purposes and have allocated only limited portions of their advertising and marketing budgets to the Internet. The adoption of online marketing may require a cultural shift among advertisers, as well as their acceptance of a new way of conducting business, exchanging information and evaluating new advertising and marketing technologies and services. This shift may not happen at all or at the rate we expect, in which case our business could suffer. Furthermore, we cannot assure you that the market for online marketing services will continue to grow. If the market for online marketing services fails to continue to develop or develops more slowly than we anticipate, the success of our business may be limited, and our revenue may decrease.

We expect our results of operations to fluctuate on a quarterly and annual basis.

Our revenue and results of operations could vary significantly from period to period and may fail to match expectations as a result of a variety of factors, some of which are outside of our control, including seasonality,
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fluctuations in digital advertising demand and costs and the number, severity, and timing of threat outbreaks and cyber security incidents. As a result of the potential variations in our revenue and results of operations, period-to-period comparisons may not be meaningful and the results of any one period should not be relied on as an indication of future performance. In addition, our results of operations may not meet our expectations or the expectations of securities analysts and investors, which may adversely affect the trading price of our outstanding securities and may make it more difficult for us to raise capital in the future or pursue acquisitions.

As our costs increase, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to sustain profitability.

We have expended significant resources to grow our business in recent years by investing in the scope and breadth of RAMP, spending to acquire or develop software products and websites, growing our number of employees and expanding internationally. We anticipate continued growth would require substantial financial and other resources to, among other things:

•    develop our existing websites, invest in RAMP and our other software products, including by investing in our engineering team, creating, acquiring or licensing new products or features, and improving the availability and security of our platform and product offerings;

•    create new products and services to meet consumer and partner demands;
•    continue to expand internationally by and spend through RAMP by adding inventory and data from countries our clients are seeking;

•    improve our technology infrastructure, including investing in internal technology development and acquiring or licensing outside technologies;

•    cover general and administrative expenses, including legal, accounting, tax and other third party expenses necessary to support a larger organization;

•    cover sales and marketing expenses, including a significant expansion of our direct sales organization;

•    cover expenses related to data collection and consumer privacy compliance, including additional infrastructure, automation and personnel; and

•    explore strategic acquisitions.

Investing in the foregoing, however, may not yield anticipated returns. Consequently, as our costs increase, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to maintain or increase our historical profitability levels.

Our advertising business is dependent on advertisers buying mobile, display and video advertising. A decrease in the use of these advertising channels would harm our business, growth prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

Our advertising business is dependent on advertisers buying mobile, display and video advertising. A decrease in the use of these advertising channels would harm our business, growth prospects, financial condition and results of operations. Historically, our clients have predominantly used our advertising platform to purchase mobile, display and video advertising inventory. We expect that these will continue to be significant channels used by our clients for digital advertising. Should our clients lose confidence in the value or effectiveness of mobile, display and video advertising, the demand for RAMP could decline. We have been, and are continuing to, enhance our social, native, audio and CTV offerings. We refer to the ability to provide offerings across multiple advertising channels as omnichannel. We may not be able to maintain or grow advertising inventory for some of our omnichannels and some of our omnichannel offerings may not gain market acceptance. A decrease in the use of mobile, display and video advertising, or our inability to further penetrate these and other advertising channels, would harm our growth prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
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Our business and prospects would be harmed if changes to the technologies used across our websites or other products and services or new versions or upgrades of operating systems and Internet browsers adversely impact users.

The user interfaces implemented across our websites and advertising offerings are currently simple and straightforward. In the future, operating system providers, such as Microsoft or Apple, or any other provider of Internet browsers, could introduce new features that would make it difficult to use our websites or interact with our advertising offerings. In addition, Internet browsers for desktop or mobile devices could introduce new features, or change existing browser specifications such that they would be incompatible with our websites or other products and services, or prevent users from accessing our websites. Any changes to technologies, including within operating systems or Internet browsers that make it difficult for users to access our websites or other products and services, may materially adversely impact our business and prospects.

Our business depends on our customers’ continued and unimpeded access to the Internet and the development and maintenance of the global Internet infrastructure. Internet service providers may be able to block, degrade or charge for access to certain of our products, which could lead to additional expenses and the loss of customers.

Our products and services depend on the ability of users to access the Internet. Currently, this access is provided by companies that have significant market power in the broadband and Internet access marketplace, including incumbent telephone companies, cable companies, mobile communications companies and government-owned service providers any of whom could take actions that degrade, disrupt or increase the cost of user access to our products, which would, in turn, negatively impact our business. In addition, third parties, including operating systems and Internet browser companies, may take steps to further limit the interoperability of our solutions with their own products and services, in some cases to promote their own offerings. This could delay the development of our solutions or our solutions may be unable to operate effectively. This could also result in decreased demand for our solutions, decreased revenue, and harm to our reputation, and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

Furthermore, the adoption of laws or regulations that adversely affect the growth, popularity or use of the Internet and mobile networks, including laws impacting Internet neutrality, could decrease the demand for our products or offerings, increase our operating costs, require us to alter the manner in which we conduct our business and/or otherwise adversely affect our business.

Unfavorable global economic conditions, including as a result of political or social conflict or unrest or health and safety concerns related to a global pandemic, could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Our business, financial condition or results of operations could be adversely affected by general conditions in the global economy and in the global financial markets, including conditions that are outside of our control, such as the impact of ongoing health and safety concerns from a pandemic. For example, the recent global financial crisis caused extreme volatility and disruptions in the capital and credit markets, and, in recent months, the global economy has been impacted by increasing interest rates and inflation. Likewise, the capital and credit markets may be adversely affected by the recent conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the possibility of a wider European or global conflict, and global sanctions imposed in response thereto. A severe or prolonged economic downturn could result in a variety of risks to our business, including diminished liquidity, weakened demand for our software products, RAMP and related products and services or delays in advertiser payments. A weak or declining economy could also strain our media supply channels and reduce the demand for or rates paid for advertising by brands and marketers. Any of the foregoing could harm our business and we cannot anticipate all the ways in which the current global economic crisis and financial market conditions could adversely impact our business.

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We identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. If we are unable to remediate the material weaknesses, or if other material weaknesses are identified, we may not be able to report our financial results accurately, prevent or detect material misstatements due to fraud or error, or file our periodic reports as a public company in a timely manner.

We have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2022. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

The material weaknesses identified were as follows:

We did not design and maintain an effective control environment commensurate with our financial reporting requirements. Specifically, we lacked a sufficient number of professionals with an appropriate level of accounting knowledge, training and experience to appropriately analyze, record and disclose accounting matters timely and accurately. Additionally, the limited personnel resulted in an inability to consistently establish appropriate authorities and responsibilities in pursuit of financial reporting objectives, as demonstrated by, among other things, insufficient segregation of duties in our finance and accounting functions.
We did not design and maintain effective controls in response to the risks of material misstatement. Specifically, changes to existing controls or the implementation of new controls have not been sufficient to respond to changes to the risks of material misstatement to financial reporting.

These material weaknesses contributed to the following additional material weaknesses:

We did not design and maintain effective controls to timely analyze and record the financial statement effects from acquisitions. Specifically, we did not design and maintain effective controls over the (i) application of U.S. GAAP to such transactions, including accounting for post-combination compensation arrangements, (ii) review of the inputs and assumptions used in the measurement of assets acquired and liabilities assumed, including discounted cash flow analysis to value acquired intangible assets at an appropriate level of precision, (iii) the tax impacts of acquisitions to the financial statements, and (iv) conforming of U.S. GAAP and accounting policies of acquired entities to that of the Company. In addition, we did not design and maintain effective controls relating to the oversight and ongoing recording of the financial statement results of the acquired businesses.
We did not design and maintain formal accounting policies, procedures and controls to achieve complete, accurate and timely financial accounting, reporting and disclosures, including controls over (i) the preparation and review of business performance reviews, account reconciliations and journal entries, and (ii) maintaining appropriate segregation of duties. Additionally, we did not design and maintain controls over the classification and presentation of accounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements, including the statement of cash flows.
We did not design and maintain effective controls over the completeness and accuracy of accrued liabilities, stock-based compensation and equity transactions.
We did not design and maintain effective controls over the accuracy and valuation of goodwill, including the allocation of goodwill to reporting units and the identification and measurement of goodwill impairment.

These material weaknesses resulted in the restatement of the Company's condensed consolidated financial statements: as of March 31, 2022 and for the predecessor period from January 1, 2022 to January 26, 2022 and for the successor period from January 27, 2022 to March 31, 2022; as of June 30, 2022 and for the predecessor period from January 1, 2022 to January 26, 2022 and for the successor periods for the three months ended June 30, 2022 and from January 27, 2022 to June 30, 2022; and as of September 30, 2022 and for the predecessor period from January 1, 2022 to January 26, 2022 and for the successor periods for the three months ended September 30, 2022 and from January 27, 2022 to September 30, 2022. These material weaknesses also resulted in immaterial misstatements to substantially all of the S1 Holdco, LLC accounts, which were recorded prior to the issuance of the
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consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018 and for the years then ended; as of March 31, 2021 and 2020 and for the three-month periods then ended; as of June 30, 2021 and 2020 and for the six-month periods then ended; and as of September 30, 2021 and 2020 and for the nine-month periods then ended.

We did not design and maintain effective controls over the accounting for complex financial instruments, including the impact of these instruments on earnings per share.

This material weakness also resulted in a material misstatement of the Trebia warrant liabilities, change in the fair value of the Trebia warrant liabilities, forward purchase agreement liabilities, change in the fair value of the forward purchase agreement liabilities, classification of redeemable shares of Class A common stock issued in connection with Trebia’s initial public offering, additional paid-in-capital, accumulated deficit, earnings per share, and related financial disclosures of Trebia Acquisition Corp. as of December 31, 2020 and for the period from February 11, 2020 (inception) through December 31, 2020, as of September 30, 2020 and for three month period ended September 30, 2020 and for the period from February 11, 2020 (inception) through September 30, 2020, as of June 30, 2020 and for three month period ended June 30, 2020 and for the period from February 11, 2020 (inception) through June 30, 2020, as of March 31, 2021 and for three month period ended March 31, 2021. This material weakness also resulted in material adjustments relating to the Trebia forward purchase agreement liabilities and repurchases of common stock impacting the accumulated deficit and additional paid-in capital in the opening balance sheet as of January 27, 2022 and the earnings per share computations for the quarter ended June 30, 2022 of the Company.

Additionally, these material weaknesses could result in a misstatement of substantially all of our accounts or disclosures that would result in a material misstatement to the annual or interim consolidated financial statements that would not be prevented or detected.

We did not design and maintain effective controls over information technology (“IT”) general controls for information systems that are relevant to the preparation of our financial statements. Specifically, we did not design and maintain:

i.program change management controls to ensure that IT program and data changes affecting financial IT applications and underlying accounting records are identified, tested, authorized, and implemented appropriately;
ii.user access controls to ensure appropriate segregation of duties and that adequately restrict user and privileged access to financial applications, programs, and data to appropriate Company personnel;
iii.computer operations controls to ensure that critical batch jobs are monitored and data backups are authorized and monitored; and
iv.testing and approval controls for program development to ensure that new software development is aligned with business and IT requirements.

These IT deficiencies did not result in a material misstatement to the financial statements; however, the deficiencies, when aggregated, could impact the effectiveness of IT-dependent controls (such as automated controls that address the risk of material misstatement to one or more assertions, along with the IT controls and underlying data that support the effectiveness of system-generated data and reports) that could result in misstatements potentially impacting all financial statement accounts and disclosures that would not be prevented or detected. Accordingly, we have determined these IT deficiencies in the aggregate constitute a material weakness.

Our remediation plan consists of the following:

Hiring additional senior level accounting personnel with applicable technical accounting knowledge, training and experience in accounting matters, supplemented by third-party resources;    
Designing and implementing controls to formalize roles and review responsibilities to align with our team’s skills and experience and designing and implementing controls over segregation of duties;
Engaging an accounting advisory firm to assist with the documentation, evaluation, remediation and testing of our internal control over financial reporting based on the criteria established in Internal Control
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- Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission;
Engaging third-party experts to assist with the preparation of technical accounting analyses and valuations associated with business combinations;
Designing and implementing controls related to accounting for acquisitions and other technical accounting and financial reporting matters, including controls over the preparation and review of accounting memoranda addressing these matters, valuations and key assumptions utilized in the valuations, tax impacts, and ongoing recording of the financial statement results of the acquired businesses;
Designing and implementing formal accounting policies, procedures and controls supporting our period-end financial reporting process, including controls over the preparation and review of account reconciliations and journal entries, business performance reviews, foreign exchange gains/losses for intercompany transactions, and classification and presentation of accounts and disclosures, including the statement of cash flows;
Designing and implementing controls over the completeness and accuracy of accrued liabilities, stock-based compensation and equity transactions;
Designing and implementing controls related to accounting for complex financial instruments, including the earnings per share impacts;
Designing and implementing controls over the accuracy and valuation of goodwill, including the allocation of goodwill to reporting units and the identification and measurement of goodwill impairment;
Implementing an enhanced enterprise resource planning software for automation and enforcing segregation of duties across the organization; and
Designing and implementing IT general controls, including controls over change management, the review and update of user access rights and privileges, controls over batch jobs and data backups, and program development approvals and testing.

The material weaknesses will not be considered remediated until management completes the design and implementation of the processes and controls described above and the controls operate for a sufficient period of time and management has concluded, through testing, that these controls are effective.

We are working to remediate the material weaknesses as efficiently and effectively as possible. At this time, we cannot provide an estimate of costs expected to be incurred in connection with implementing this remediation plan; however, these remediation measures will be time consuming, will result in us incurring significant costs, and will place significant demands on our financial and operational resources. This remediation will extend beyond December 31, 2023.

While we believe that these efforts will improve our internal control over financial reporting, the implementation of these procedures is ongoing and will require testing of the design and operating effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting over a sustained period of financial reporting cycles. We cannot be certain that these measures will successfully remediate the material weaknesses or that other material weaknesses will not be identified in the future. If our efforts are not successful or other material weaknesses are identified in the future, we may be unable to report our financial results accurately on a timely basis or prevent and detect fraud or errors that may be material, which could cause our reported financial results to be materially misstated and result in the loss of investor confidence or delisting and cause the market price of our shares to decline.

If we fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting in the future, we may not be able to accurately or timely report our financial condition or results of operations. If our internal control over financial reporting is not effective, it may adversely affect investor confidence in us and the price of our common stock.

As a public company, we are subject to the reporting obligations under the U.S. securities laws. The SEC, as required under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, has adopted rules requiring certain public companies to include a report of management on the effectiveness of such company’s internal control over financial reporting in its annual report. Management has identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. While the material weaknesses identified remain unremediated, or if we identify additional weaknesses or
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fail to timely and successfully implement new or improved controls, our ability to assure timely and accurate financial reporting may be adversely affected, and we could suffer a loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our financial statements, which in turn could negatively impact the trading price of our shares of common stock, result in lawsuits being filed against us by our stockholders, or otherwise harm our reputation. If additional material weaknesses are identified in the future, it could be costly to remediate such material weaknesses, which may adversely affect our results of operations.

A significant portion of our assets consists of other intangible assets, the value of which may be reduced if we determine that those assets are impaired.

As of December 31, 2022, the net carrying value of other intangible assets represented $1,008.3 million, or 87% of our total assets. Indefinite-lived intangible assets, such as goodwill, are evaluated for impairment annually, or more frequently if circumstances indicate impairment may have occurred. Finite-lived intangible assets totaling $492.7 million are amortized up to 10 years.

Due to adverse macroeconomic conditions and a broad weakening of consumer demand starting in Q3 2022, the Company recorded goodwill impairment charges of $340.1 million during the third quarter of 2022. The Company recorded an additional impairment charge of $26.2 million in connection with its annual goodwill impairment test as of December 31, 2022. If future operating performance were to fall below current projections or if there are material changes to management’s assumptions, we could be required to recognize additional non-cash charges to operating earnings for other intangible asset impairment, which could be significant.

We may experience outages and disruptions on RAMP, our websites and other software products if we fail to maintain adequate security and supporting infrastructure as we scale RAMP, websites and other software products, which may harm our reputation and negatively impact our business, financial condition and operating results.

As we grow our business, we expect to continue to invest in technology services and equipment, including data warehousing, network infrastructure and cloud-based services and database technologies, as well as potentially increase our reliance on open source software. Without these improvements, our operations might suffer from unanticipated system disruptions, slow transaction processing, unreliable service levels, impaired quality or delays in reporting accurate information regarding transactions in our platform, any of which could negatively affect our reputation and ability to attract and retain clients. In addition, the expansion and improvement of our systems and infrastructure may require us to commit substantial financial, operational and technical resources, with no assurance that there will be a corresponding increase in our business. If we fail to respond to continuing technological changes or to adequately maintain, expand, upgrade and develop our systems and infrastructure in a timely fashion, our growth prospects and results of operations could be adversely affected.

The steps we take to increase the reliability, integrity and security of our platform, our software products, and our websites as they scale are expensive and complex, and our execution could result in operational failures and increased vulnerability to cyber and ransomware attacks. Such cyber and ransomware attacks could include denial-of-service attacks impacting service availability (including the ability to deliver ads) and reliability, tricking company employees into releasing control of their systems to a hacker, or the introduction of computer viruses or malware into our systems with a view to steal confidential or proprietary data. Cyber-attacks of increasing sophistication may be difficult to detect and could result in the theft of our intellectual property and data from our platform or other software products. We are also vulnerable to unintentional errors or malicious actions by persons with authorized access to our systems that exceed the scope of their access rights, distribute data erroneously, or, unintentionally or intentionally, interfere with the intended operations of our platform, websites and other software products. Moreover, we could be adversely impacted by outages and disruptions in the online platforms of our inventory and data suppliers, such as real-time advertising exchanges, which may harm our reputation and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If we fail to build and maintain our brands, our ability to expand the use of our websites and software products by advertisers and consumers, respectively, may be adversely affected.
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Our future success depends upon our ability to create and maintain brand recognition and a reputation for delivering easy, efficient and personal technology solutions. A failure by us to build our brands and maintain consumer expectations of our brands could harm our reputation and damage our ability to attract and retain consumers, which could adversely affect our business. If consumers do not perceive our portfolio websites or our software products offer a better user experience or offer good value for the services, or if advertisers do not perceive RAMP as a more effective platform, our reputation and the strength of our brand may be adversely affected.

Some of our competitors have more resources than we do and can spend more advertising their brands and technology solutions. As a result, we are required to spend considerable capital and other resources to create brand awareness and build our reputation. If we are unable to maintain or enhance consumer awareness of our brand cost-effectively, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.

Complaints or negative publicity about our business practices, our product/service offerings, our marketing and advertising campaigns, our compliance with applicable laws and regulations, the integrity of the data that we provide to consumers, data privacy and security issues, and other aspects of our business, whether valid or not, could diminish confidence and visits to our websites, as well as decrease adoption of our software products, and could adversely affect our reputation and business. There can be no assurance that we will be able to maintain or enhance our brand, and failure to do so would harm our business growth prospects and operating results.

International expansion subjects us to additional costs and risks that can adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.

International expansion subjects us to many challenges associated with supporting a rapidly growing business across a multitude of cultures, customs, monetary, legal and regulatory systems and commercial infrastructures. We have a limited operating history outside of the United States, and our ability to manage our business and conduct our operations internationally requires considerable attention and resources.

We currently have account management, inventory, and other personnel in countries within North America, Europe and Asia, and we anticipate expanding our international operations in the future. Some of the countries into which we are, or potentially may, expand score unfavorably on the Corruption Perceptions Index, or CPI, of Transparency International. Our teams outside the U.S. are substantially smaller than our teams in the U.S. To the extent we are unable to effectively engage with non-U.S. advertising agencies or companies or international divisions of U.S. agencies or companies due to our limited sales force capacity, or we are unable to secure quality non-U.S. ad inventory and data on reasonable terms due to our limited inventory and data team capacity, we may be unable to effectively grow in international markets.

•    Our international operations subject us to a variety of additional risks, including:

•    increased management, travel, infrastructure and legal compliance costs associated with having multiple international operations;

•    long payment cycles;

•    potential complications enforcing contracts and collections;

•    increased financial accounting and reporting burdens and complexities;

•    concerns regarding negative, unstable or changing economic conditions in the countries and regions where we operate;

•    increased administrative costs and risks associated with compliance with local laws and regulations, including relating to privacy and data security;

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•    regulatory and legal compliance, including with privacy and cybersecurity laws, anti-bribery laws, import and export control laws, economic sanctions and other regulatory limitations or obligations on our operations;

•    heightened risks of unfair or corrupt business practices and of improper or fraudulent sales arrangements;

•    difficulties in invoicing and collecting in foreign currencies;

•    foreign currency exposure risk;

•    difficulties in repatriating or transferring funds from or converting currencies;

•    administrative difficulties, costs and expenses related to various local languages, cultures and political nuances;

•    varied labor and employment laws, including those relating to termination of employees;

•    reduced protection for intellectual property rights in some countries and practical difficulties of enforcing rights abroad; and

•    compliance with the laws of numerous foreign taxing jurisdictions, including withholding obligations, and overlapping of different tax regimes.

We may incur significant operating expenses as a result of our international expansion, and it may not be successful. Our international business also subjects us to the impact of global and regional recessions and economic and political instability, differing regulatory requirements, costs and difficulties in managing a distributed workforce, potentially adverse tax consequences in the U.S. and abroad and restrictions on the repatriation of funds to the U.S. In addition, advertising markets outside of the U.S. are not as developed as those within the U.S., and we may be unable to grow our business sufficiently. Our failure to manage these risks and challenges successfully could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.

Future acquisitions, strategic investments or alliances could disrupt our business and harm our business, financial condition and operating results.

We may in the future explore potential acquisitions of companies or technologies, strategic investments, or alliances to strengthen our business. Even if we identify an appropriate acquisition candidate, we may not be successful in negotiating the terms or obtaining the financing for the acquisition, and our due diligence may fail to identify all of the problems, risks, liabilities or other shortcomings or challenges of an acquired business, product or technology, including issues related to intellectual property, product quality or technology infrastructure and architecture, regulatory compliance practices, revenue recognition or other accounting practices or employee or client issues, and other issues including, but not limited to, the following:

•    regulatory requirements or delays;

•    anticipated benefits and synergies may not materialize;

•    diversion of management time and focus from operating our business to addressing acquisition integration challenges;

•    retention of key employees from the acquired company;

•    cultural challenges associated with integrating employees from the acquired company into our organization;

•    integration of the acquired company’s products and technology;

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•    integration of the acquired company’s accounting, management information, human resources and other administrative systems;

•    the need to implement or improve controls, procedures and policies at a business that prior to the acquisition may have lacked effective controls, procedures and policies;

•    coordination of product development and sales and marketing functions;

•    liability for activities of the acquired company before the acquisition, including relating to privacy and data security, patent and trademark infringement claims, violations of laws, commercial disputes, tax liabilities and other known and unknown liabilities; and

•    litigation or other claims in connection with the acquired company, including claims from terminated employees, users, former stockholders or other third parties.

Failure to appropriately mitigate these risks or other issues related to such acquisitions and strategic investments could result in reducing or completely eliminating any anticipated benefits of transactions and harm our business, generally. Future acquisitions could also result in dilutive issuances of our equity securities, the incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities, amortization expenses or the impairment of goodwill, any of which could harm our business, financial condition and operating results.

Our future success depends on the continuing efforts of our key employees, and our ability to attract, hire, retain and motivate highly skilled employees in the future.

Technology companies like ours compete to attract the best talent, and our future success depends on the continuing efforts of our executive officers and key employees, including Mr. Blend, our Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer. We rely on the leadership, knowledge and experience that our executive officers and key employees provide. We also rely on employees in our product development, support and sales teams to attract and keep key clients.

The market for talent in our key areas of operations, including California, Washington, Ontario, Canada and Great Britain, United Kingdom where we have offices, is competitive. As a result, we may incur significant costs to attract and retain employees, including significant expenditures related to salaries and benefits and compensation expenses related to equity awards.

Employee turnover, including any potential future changes in our management team, could disrupt our business. For instance, in 2021, we replaced both Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer. Our employees are at-will employees and may terminate their employment with us at any time. The loss of one or more of our executive officers, especially Mr. Blend, our CEO and Co-Founder, or our inability to attract and retain highly skilled employees, could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.

Our management team has limited experience managing a public company.

Most members of our management team have limited experience managing a publicly traded company, interacting with public company investors, and complying with the increasingly complex laws, rules and regulations that govern public companies. As a public company following completion of the Merger, we are subject to significant obligations relating to reporting, procedures and internal controls, and our management team may not successfully or efficiently manage such obligations. These obligations and scrutiny will require significant attention from our management and could divert their attention away from the day-to-day management of our business, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may need to change our pricing models to compete successfully.

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The intense competition we face, in addition to general and economic business conditions, can put pressure on us to change our prices. If our competitors offer deep discounts on certain solutions or provide offerings, we may need to lower prices in order to compete successfully. Similarly, if there is pressure by competitors to raise prices, our ability to acquire new customers and retain existing customers may be diminished. Any such changes may reduce revenue and margins and could adversely affect our financial results.

From time to time we are a party to lawsuits and investigations, which typically require significant management time and attention and result in significant legal expenses.

We may be involved from time to time in various additional legal proceedings, including, but not limited to, actions relating to breach of contract, breach of federal and state privacy laws, and intellectual property infringement that might necessitate changes to our business or operations. Regardless of whether any claims against us have merit, or whether we are ultimately held liable or subject to payment of damages, claims may be expensive to defend and may divert management’s time away from our operations. If any legal proceedings were to result in an unfavorable outcome, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations. Any adverse publicity resulting from actual or potential litigation may also materially and adversely affect our reputation, which in turn could adversely affect our results.

We depend on search engines, display advertising, social media, email, content-based online advertising and other online sources to attract consumers to our websites and convert them into sales for our advertisers. If we are unable to drive traffic cost-effectively, our business and financial results may be harmed.

Our success depends, in part, on our ability to attract online consumers to our portfolio websites and to convert those consumers into sales for our advertisers. We depend, in part, on third-party search engines, display advertising, social media, content-based online advertising and other online sources for our website traffic. We are included in third party search results as a result of both paid search listings, where we purchase placements based on specific search terms, and separately, organic searches listings which depend upon third party search algorithms to index and return the content on our sites within such organic search listing results.

Search engines, social media platforms and other online sources often revise their algorithms and introduce new advertising products. If one or more of the search engines or other online sources on which we rely for website traffic were to modify its general methodology for how it displays our advertisements, resulting in fewer consumers clicking through to our websites, our business could suffer. In addition, if our online display advertisements are no longer effective or are not able to reach certain consumers due to consumers’ use of ad-blocking software, our business could suffer.

If one or more of the search engines or other online sources on which we rely for purchased listings modifies or terminates its relationship with us, our expenses could rise, we could lose consumer traffic to our websites and marketplaces, and a decrease in consumer traffic to our websites and marketplaces, for any reason, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Consumer traffic to our websites and marketplaces and the volume of sales generated by consumer traffic varies and can decline from time to time. Additionally, even if we are successful in generating traffic to our websites, we may not be able to convert these visits into consumer sales.

We depend on third-party website publishers for a significant portion of our visitors, and any decline in the supply of media available through these websites or increase in the price of this media could cause our revenue to decline or our cost to reach visitors to increase.

A portion of our revenue is attributable to visitors originating from advertising placements that we purchase on third party websites. In some instances, website publishers may change the advertising inventory they make available to us at any time and, therefore, impact our revenue. In addition, website publishers may place restrictions on our offerings, which may prohibit advertisements from specific clients or specific industries, or restrict the use of certain creative content. If a website publisher decides not to make advertising inventory available to us, or decides to demand a higher revenue share or places significant restrictions on the use of such inventory, we may not be able
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to find advertising inventory from other websites that satisfy our requirements in a timely and cost-effective manner. In addition, the number of competing online marketing service providers and advertisers that acquire inventory from websites continues to increase. Consolidation of website publishers could eventually lead to a concentration of desirable inventory on a small number of websites or networks, which could limit the supply of inventory available to us or increase the price of inventory to us. If any of the foregoing occurs, our revenue could decline or our operating costs may increase.

Our failure to meet content and inventory standards and provide services that our advertisers and inventory suppliers trust could harm our brand and reputation and negatively impact our business, financial condition and operating results.

We do not provide or control the content of the advertisements that are displayed by content providers we work with, including those provided by Google or Microsoft. Advertisers and inventory suppliers are concerned about being associated with content they consider inappropriate, competitive or inconsistent with their brands, or illegal and they are hesitant to spend money without guaranteed brand security. Consequently, our reputation depends in part on providing services that advertisers and inventory suppliers trust, and we have contractual obligations to meet content and inventory standards. Despite such efforts, our clients may inadvertently purchase inventory that proves to be unacceptable for their campaigns, in which case, we may not be able to recoup the amounts paid to inventory suppliers. Preventing and combating fraud is an industry-wide issue that requires constant vigilance, and we cannot guarantee that we will be successful in doing so. Our clients could intentionally run campaigns that do not meet the standards of our inventory suppliers or attempt to use illegal or unethical targeting practices or seek to display advertising in jurisdictions that do not permit such advertising or in which the regulatory environment is uncertain, in which case our supply of ad inventory from such suppliers could be jeopardized. some of our competitors undertake human review of content, but because our platform is self-service, and because such means are cost-intensive, we do not utilize all means available to decrease this risk. We may provide access to inventory that is objectionable to our advertisers, serve advertising that contains malware, objectionable content or is based on questionable targeting criteria to our inventory suppliers, or be unable to detect and prevent non-human traffic, any one of which could harm our or our clients’ brand and reputation, and negatively impact our business, financial condition and operating results.

If the non-proprietary technology, software, products and services that we use are unavailable, have future terms we cannot agree to, or do not perform as we expect, our business, financial condition and operating results could be harmed.

We depend on various technology, software, products and services from third parties or available as open source, including for critical features and functionality of our platform, data centers and API technology, payment processing, payroll and other professional services. Identifying, negotiating, complying with and integrating with third-party terms and technology are complex, costly and time-consuming matters. Failure by third-party providers to maintain, support or secure their technology either generally or for our accounts specifically, or downtime, errors or defects in their products or services, could adversely impact our platform, our administrative obligations or other areas of our business. Having to replace any third-party providers or their technology, products or services could result in outages or difficulties in our ability to provide our services. If we are unsuccessful in establishing or maintaining our relationships with our third-party providers or otherwise need to replace them, internal resources may need to be diverted and our business, financial condition and operating results could be harmed.

Legal and Compliance Risks

Our business could be affected by the enactment of new governmental regulations regarding the Internet.

To date, government regulations have not materially restricted the use of the Internet in most parts of the world. The legal and regulatory environment pertaining to the Internet, however, is uncertain and may change.

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New laws may be passed, courts may issue decisions affecting the Internet, existing but previously inapplicable or unenforced laws may be deemed to apply to the Internet or regulatory agencies may begin to rigorously enforce such formerly unenforced laws, or existing legal safe harbors may be narrowed, both by U.S. federal or state governments and by governments of foreign jurisdictions. These changes could affect:

the liability of online service providers for actions by customers, including fraud, illegal content, spam, phishing, libel and defamation, hate speech, infringement of third-party intellectual property and other abusive conduct;

other claims based on the nature and content of Internet materials;

user data privacy and security issues;

consumer protection risks;

digital marketing aspects;

characteristics and quality of services;

our ability to automatically renew the premium subscriptions of our users;

• cross-border e-commerce issues; and

• ease of access by our users to our product offerings, including RAMP.

The adoption of any new laws or regulations, or the application or interpretation of existing laws or regulations to the Internet, could hinder growth in the use of the Internet and online services generally, and decrease acceptance of the Internet and online services as a means of communications, e-commerce and advertising. In addition, such changes in laws could increase our costs of doing business, subject our business to increased liability for non-compliance or prevent us from delivering our services over the Internet or in specific jurisdictions, thereby materially harming our business and results of operations.

We assess customer needs, and sometimes collect customer contact information to provide other product offerings, which results in us receiving personally identifiable information.

This information is increasingly subject to legislation and regulation in the United States. This legislation and regulation is generally intended to protect individual privacy and the privacy and security of personal information. We could be adversely affected if government regulations require us to significantly change our business practices with respect to this type of information or if the advertisers RAMP violate applicable laws and regulations.

Changes in applicable laws and regulations may materially increase our direct and indirect compliance and other expenses of doing business, having a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. If there were to be changes to statutory or regulatory requirements, we may be unable to comply fully with or maintain all required licenses and approvals. Regulatory authorities have relatively broad discretion to grant, renew and revoke licenses and approvals. If we do not have all requisite licenses and approvals, or do not comply with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, the regulatory authorities could preclude or temporarily suspend us from carrying on some or all of our activities or monetarily penalize us, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

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We cannot predict whether any proposed legislation or regulatory changes will be adopted, or what impact, if any, such proposals or, if enacted, such laws could have on our business, results of operations and financial condition. If we are alleged to have failed to comply with applicable laws and regulations, we may be subject to investigations, criminal penalties or civil remedies, including fines, injunctions, loss of an operating license or approval, increased scrutiny or oversight by regulatory authorities, the suspension of individual employees, limitations on engaging in a particular business or redress to customers. The cost of compliance and the consequences of non-compliance could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, a finding that we have failed to comply with applicable laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition by exposing us to negative publicity and reputational damage or by harming our customer or employee relationships.

In most jurisdictions, government regulatory authorities have the power to interpret and amend applicable laws and regulations, and have discretion to grant, renew and revoke the various licenses and approvals we need to conduct our activities. Such authorities may require us to incur substantial costs in order to comply with such laws and regulations. Regulatory statutes are broad in scope and subject to differing interpretation. In some areas of our businesses, we act on the basis of our own or the industry’s interpretations of applicable laws or regulations, which may conflict from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In the event those interpretations eventually prove different from the interpretations of regulatory authorities, we may be penalized or precluded from carrying on our previous activities.

Litigation could distract management, increase our expenses or subject us to material monetary damages and other remedies.

We may be involved from time to time in various additional legal proceedings, including, but not limited to, actions relating to breach of contract, breach of federal and state privacy laws, and intellectual property infringement that might necessitate changes to our business or operations. Regardless of whether any claims against us have merit, or whether we are ultimately held liable or subject to payment of damages, claims may be expensive to defend and may divert management’s time away from our operations. If any legal proceedings were to result in an unfavorable outcome, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations. Any adverse publicity resulting from actual or potential litigation may also materially and adversely affect our reputation, which in turn could adversely affect our results.

Companies in the Internet, technology and media industries are frequently subject to allegations of infringement or other violations of intellectual property rights. We plan to vigorously defend our intellectual property rights and our freedom to operate our business; however, regardless of the merits of the claims, intellectual property claims are often time consuming and extremely expensive to litigate or settle and are likely to continue to divert managerial attention and resources from our business objectives. Successful infringement claims against us could result in significant monetary liability or prevent us from operating our business or portions of our business. Resolution of claims may require us to obtain licenses to use intellectual property rights belonging to third parties, which may be expensive to procure, or we may be required to cease using intellectual property of third parties altogether. Many of our contracts require us to provide indemnification against third-party intellectual property infringement claims, which would increase our defense costs and may require that we pay damages if there were an adverse ruling in any such claims. Any of these events may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

We are subject to anti-bribery, anti-corruption and similar laws and non-compliance with such laws can subject us to criminal penalties or significant fines and harm our business and reputation.

We are subject to anti-bribery and similar laws, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, or the FCPA, the U.S. domestic bribery statute contained in 18 U.S.C. § 201, the USA PATRIOT Act, U.S. Travel Act, the U.K. Bribery Act 2010 and Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and possibly other anti-corruption, anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws in countries in which we conduct activities. Anti-corruption laws have been enforced with great rigor in recent years and are interpreted broadly and prohibit companies and their employees and their agents from making or offering improper payments or other benefits to government officials
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and others in the private sector. As we increase our international sales and business, particularly in countries with a low score on the CPI by Transparency International, and increase our use of third parties, particularly internationally based network partners, our risks under these laws will increase. We adopt appropriate policies and procedures and conduct training, but cannot guarantee that improprieties will not occur. Noncompliance with these laws could subject us to investigations, sanctions, settlements, prosecution, other enforcement actions, disgorgement of profits, significant fines, damages, other civil and criminal penalties or injunctions, suspension and/or debarment from contracting with specified persons, the loss of export privileges, reputational harm, adverse media coverage, and other collateral consequences. Any investigations, actions and/or sanctions could have a material negative impact on our business, operating results and financial condition.

Privacy and data protection laws to which we are subject may cause us to incur additional or unexpected costs, subject us to enforcement actions for compliance failures, or cause us to change RAMP or business model, which may have a material adverse effect on our business.

Information relating to individuals and their devices (sometimes called “personal information” or “personal data”) is regulated under a wide variety of local, state, national, and international laws and regulations that apply to the collection, use, retention, protection, disclosure, transfer (including transfer across national boundaries) and other processing of such data. In addition, there is increasing attention by state and other jurisdictions to regulation in this area. These laws are complex and can be costly to comply with, require significant management time and effort, and could subject us to claims, government enforcement actions, civil and criminal liability or other remedies, including suspension of business operations. These laws may conflict with each other, further complicating compliance efforts. We are currently subject to a variety of, and may in the future become subject to additional, international, federal, state and local laws that are continuously evolving and developing, including laws regarding Internet-based businesses and other businesses that rely on advertising, as well as privacy and consumer protection laws, including the CAN-SPAM Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Communications Decency Act. If we are alleged not to comply with these laws or regulations, we may be required to modify affected products and services, which could require a substantial investment and loss of revenue, or cease providing the affected product or service altogether. If we are found to have violated laws or regulations, we may be subject to significant fines, penalties and other losses.

We typically collect and store IP addresses, other device identifiers (such as unique mobile application identifiers) and email addresses, which are or may be considered personal data or personal information in some jurisdictions or otherwise may be the subject of regulation.

In the United States, federal, state, and local governments have enacted numerous data privacy and security laws, including data breach notification laws, personal data privacy laws, consumer protection laws (e.g., Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act), and other similar laws (e.g., wiretapping laws). For example, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, or CCPA, requires businesses to provide specific disclosures in privacy notices and honor requests of California residents to exercise certain privacy rights. The CCPA defines “personal information” broadly enough to include online identifiers provided by individuals’ devices, applications, and protocols (such as IP addresses, mobile application identifiers and unique cookie identifiers) and individuals’ location data, if there is potential that individuals can be identified by such data and provides for civil penalties of up to $7,500 per violation and allows private litigants affected by certain data breaches to recover significant statutory damages. In addition, the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020, or CRPA, which became operative January 1, 2023, expands the CCPA’s requirements, including applying to personal information of business representatives and employees and establishing a new regulatory agency to implement and enforce the law.

Laws governing the processing of personal data in Europe (including the U.K., European Union and European Economic Area, or EEA, and the countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) also continue to impact us and continue to evolve. The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which applies to us, came into effect on May 25, 2018. Like the laws passed in California and other states, the GDPR defines “personal data” broadly, and it enhances data protection obligations for controllers of such data and for service providers processing the data. It also provides certain rights, such as access and deletion, to the individuals about whom the personal data relates. The digital advertising industry has collaborated to create a user-facing framework for establishing and managing
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legal bases under the GDPR and other EU privacy laws including ePrivacy (discussed below). Although the framework is actively in use, we cannot predict its effectiveness over the long-term. European regulators have questioned its viability and activists have filed complaints with regulators of alleged non-compliance by specific companies that employ the framework. Non-compliance with the GDPR can trigger steep fines of up to the greater of €20 million or 4% of total worldwide annual revenue. Relatedly, following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EEA and the European Union, and the expiry of the transition period, we must comply with both the GDPR and the United Kingdom Data Protection Act 2018, the latter regime having the ability to separately fine up to the greater of £17.5 million or 4% of global turnover. Continuing to maintain compliance with the requirements of the GDPR and the United Kingdom Data Protection Act 2018, including monitoring and adjusting to rulings and interpretations that affect our approach to compliance, requires significant time, resources and expense, as will the effort to monitor whether additional changes to our business practices and our backend configuration are needed, all of which may increase operating costs, or limit our ability to operate or expand our business.

In addition to laws regulating the processing of personal information, we are also subject to regulation with respect to political advertising activities, which are governed by various federal and state laws in the U.S., and national and provincial laws worldwide. Online political advertising laws are rapidly evolving, and in certain jurisdictions have varying transparency and disclosure requirements. We have already seen publishers impose varying prohibitions and restrictions on the types of political advertising and breadth of targeted advertising allowed on their platforms with respect to advertisements for the 2020 U.S. presidential election in response to political advertising scandals like Cambridge Analytica. The lack of uniformity and increasing requirements on transparency and disclosure could adversely impact the inventory made available for political advertising and the demand for such inventory on RAMP, and otherwise increase our operating and compliance costs. Concerns about political advertising, whether or not valid and whether or not driven by applicable laws and regulations, industry standards, client or inventory provider expectations, or public perception, may harm our reputation, result in loss of goodwill, and inhibit use of RAMP by current and future clients.

Changes in data residency and cross-border transfer restrictions also impact our operations. For the transfer of personal data from the EU to the United States, like many U.S. and European companies, we have relied upon, and were certified under the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks. The Privacy Shield Framework, however, was struck down in July 2020 by the EU Court of Justice (a decision referred to as “Schrems II”) as an adequate mechanism by which EU companies may pass personal data to the United States, and other EU mechanisms for adequate data transfer, such as the standard contractual clauses, were questioned by the Court of Justice and whether and how standard contractual clauses can be used to transfer personal data to the United States is in question. In June 2021, the European Commission published revised standard contractual clauses, and shortly thereafter the European Data Protection Board promulgated guidance on implementation of the new clauses. In October 2022, the White House released an executive order implementing a new EU-U.S. data transfer mechanism, the Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework (“DPF”). The DPF aims to address the concerns raised by the court in Schrems II relating to perceived risks of transferring personal data to the United States by putting in place a new set of “commercial principles” similar to the old Privacy Shield Framework together with new rules governing U.S. intelligence authorities and redress for EU individuals. The European Commission launched an assessment of the DPF’s adequacy, which is expected to be completed in 2023. If granted, an adequacy determination would reduce the legal uncertainty of cross-border transfers of personal data. However, until an adequacy determination is granted, the validity of the standard contractual clauses as a transfer mechanism remains uncertain. If all or some jurisdictions within the EU or the United Kingdom determine that the new standard contractual clauses also cannot be used to transfer personal data to the United States and if the DPF is not ultimately adopted, we could be left with no reasonable option for the lawful cross-border transfer of personal data. If left with no reasonable option for the lawful cross-border transfer of personal data, and if we nonetheless continue to transfer personal data from the EU to the United States, that could lead to governmental enforcement actions, litigation, fines and penalties or adverse publicity, which could have an adverse effect on our reputation and business or cause us to need to establish systems to maintain certain data in the EU, which may involve substantial expense and cause us to divert resources from other aspects of our operations, all of which may adversely affect our business. Other jurisdictions have adopted or are considering cross-border or data residency restrictions, which could reduce the amount of data we can collect or process and, as a result, significantly impact our business.
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Regulatory investigations and enforcement actions could also impact us. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, uses its enforcement powers under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (which prohibits “unfair” and “deceptive” trade practices) to investigate companies engaging in online tracking. Other companies in the advertising technology space have been subject to government investigation by regulatory bodies; advocacy organizations have also filed complaints with data protection authorities against advertising technology companies, arguing that certain of these companies’ practices do not comply with the GDPR. We cannot avoid the possibility that one of these investigations or enforcement actions will require us to alter our practices. Further, our legal risk depends in part on our clients’ or other third parties’ adherence to privacy laws and regulations and their use of our services in ways consistent with end user expectations. We rely on representations made to us by clients that they will comply with all applicable laws, including all relevant privacy and data protection regulations. Although we make reasonable efforts to enforce such representations and contractual requirements, we do not fully audit our clients’ compliance with our recommended disclosures or their adherence to privacy laws and regulations. If our clients fail to adhere to our expectations or contracts in this regard, we and our clients could be subject to adverse publicity, damages, and related possible investigation or other regulatory activity.

Adapting our business to privacy laws enacted at the state level and their implementing regulations and to the enhanced and evolving privacy obligations in the EU and elsewhere could continue to involve substantial expense and may cause us to divert resources from other aspects of our operations, all of which may adversely affect our business. Additionally, as the advertising industry evolves, and new ways of collecting, combining and using data are created, governments may enact legislation in response to technological advancements and changes that could result in our having to re-design features or functions of our platform, therefore incurring unexpected compliance cost. Further, adaptation of the digital advertising marketplace requires increasingly significant collaboration between participants in the market, such as publishers and advertisers. Failure of the industry to adapt to changes required for operating under existing and future data privacy laws and user response to such changes could negatively impact inventory, data, and demand. We cannot control or predict the pace or effectiveness of such adaptation, and we cannot currently predict the impact such changes may have on our business.

Additionally, as the advertising industry evolves, and new ways of collecting, combining and using data are created, governments may enact legislation in response to technological advancements and changes that could result in our having to re-design features or functions of RAMP, therefore incurring unexpected compliance costs.

These laws and other obligations may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our existing data management practices or the features of RAMP. If so, in addition to the possibility of fines, lawsuits and other claims, we could be required to fundamentally change our business activities and practices or modify our products, which could have an adverse effect on our business. We may be unable to make such changes and modifications in a commercially reasonable manner or at all, and our ability to develop new products and features could be limited. All of this could impair our or our clients’ ability to collect, use, or disclose information relating to consumers, which could decrease demand for RAMP, increase our costs, and impair our ability to maintain and grow our client base and increase our revenue.

Our success depends, in part, on our ability to access, collect and use first-party data about our users and subscribers. If that access is restricted or otherwise subject to unfavorable regulation, blocked or limited by technical changes on end users’ devices and web browsers, or our and our clients’ ability to use data on RAMP is otherwise restricted, our performance may decline and we may lose advertisers and revenue.

Digital advertising mostly relies on the ability to uniquely identify devices across websites and applications, and to collect data about user interactions with those devices for purposes such as serving relevant ads and measuring the effectiveness of ads. Devices are identified through unique identifiers stored in cookies, provided by device operating systems for advertising purposes, or generated based on statistical algorithms applied to information about a device, such as the IP address and device type. We use device identifiers to record such information as when an Internet user views an ad, clicks on an ad, or visits one of our advertiser’s websites or applications. We use device identifiers to help us achieve our advertisers’ campaign goals, including to limit the
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instances that an Internet user sees the same advertisement, report information to our advertisers regarding the performance of their advertising campaigns, and detect and prevent malicious behavior and invalid traffic throughout our network of inventory. We also use data associated with device identifiers to help our clients decide whether to bid on, and how to price, an opportunity to place an advertisement in a specific location, at a given time, in front of a particular Internet user. Additionally, our clients rely on device identifiers to add information they have collected or acquired about users into RAMP. Without such data, our clients may not have sufficient insight into an Internet user’s activity, which may compromise their and our ability to determine which inventory to purchase for a specific campaign and may undermine the effectiveness of RAMP or our ability to improve RAMP and remain competitive.

Today, digital advertising, including RAMP, makes significant use of cookies to store device identifiers for the advertising activities described above.

When we utilize or deploy cookies and similar tracking or recording means, they are usually first-party cookies, which are cookies deployed by the Company on its own and operated websites or other domains which we operate through RAMP. We rely on the first party data provided to us by consumers and advertisers to improve our product and service offerings and to feed the RAMP data loop in particular, and if we are unable to maintain or grow such data we may be unable to provide consumers with an experience that is relevant, efficient and effective, which could adversely affect our business. Our business relies on the first party data provided to us by consumers and advertisers through using websites and RAMP. The large amount of information we use in operating our websites and RAMP is critical to the web platform experience we provide for consumers. If we are unable to maintain or grow the data provided to us, the value that we provide to consumers and advertisers using our websites and RAMP may be limited. In addition, the quality, accuracy and timeliness of this information may suffer, which may lead to a negative experience for consumers using our websites and our advertisers using our platform and could materially adversely affect our business and financial results.

We also rely on our network partners to access, collect and use first-party data about our users and subscribers. To the extent that our network partners, the applications we make available through the leading app marketplaces and the social media platforms upon which we rely for users and certain related first party data limit or increasingly limit, eliminate or otherwise impair our ability to access, collect, process and/or use data about or derived from our users or subscribers, including certain user-profile elements such as IP address, device or browser type, operating system or search query information, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Advertising shown on mobile applications can also be affected by blocking or restricting use of mobile device identifiers. Data regarding interactions between users and devices are tracked mostly through stable, pseudonymous advertising identifiers that are built into the device operating system with privacy controls that allow users to express a preference with respect to data collection for advertising, including to disable the identifier. These identifiers and privacy controls are defined by the developers of the platforms through which the applications are accessed and could be changed by the platforms in a way that may negatively impact our business. For example, Apple announced earlier this year that it will require user opt-in before permitting access to Apple’s unique identifier, or IDFA. Apple initially targeted this fall for implementing these changes but has pushed that date out until at least early next year. This shift from enabling user opt-out to an opt-in requirement is likely to have a substantial impact on the mobile advertising ecosystem and could harm our growth in this channel.

In addition, in the EU, Directive 2002/58/EC (as amended by Directive 2009/136/EC), commonly referred to as the ePrivacy or Cookie Directive, directs EU member states to ensure that accessing information on an Internet user’s computer, such as through a cookie and other similar technologies, is allowed only if the Internet user has been informed about such access and given his or her consent. A recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union clarified that such consent must be reflected by an affirmative act of the user, and European regulators are increasingly agitating for more robust forms of consent. These developments may result in decreased reliance on implied consent mechanisms that have been used to meet requirements of the Cookie Directive in some markets. A replacement for the Cookie Directive is currently under discussion by EU member states to complement and bring electronic communication services in line with the GDPR and force a harmonized approach across EU
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member states. Like the GDPR, the proposed ePrivacy Regulation has extra-territorial application as it applies to businesses established outside the EU who provide publicly available electronic communications services to, or gather data from the devices of, users in the EU. Though still subject to debate, the proposed ePrivacy Regulation may further raise the bar for the use of cookies and the fines and penalties for breach may be significant. We may be required to, or otherwise may determine that it is advisable to, make significant changes in our business operations and product and services to obtain user opt-in for cookies and use of cookie data, or develop or obtain additional tools and technologies to compensate for a lack of cookie data.

As the collection and use of data for digital advertising has received media attention over the past several years, some government regulators, such as the FTC, and privacy advocates have suggested creating a “Do Not Track” standard that would allow Internet users to express a preference, independent of cookie settings in their browser, not to have their online browsing activities tracked. “Do Not Track” has seen renewed emphasis from proponents of the CCPA, and the final proposed regulations (currently pending review and acceptance by the Office of Administrative Law) contemplate browser-based or similar “do not sell” signals. California’s new ballot initiative, the CPRA, similarly contemplates the use of technical opt outs for the sale and sharing of personal information for advertising purposes as well as to opt out of the use of sensitive information for advertising purposes, and allows for AG rulemaking to develop these technical signals. If a “Do Not Track,” “Do Not Sell,” or similar control is adopted by many Internet users or if a “Do Not Track” standard is imposed by state, federal, or foreign legislation (such as the proposed ePrivacy Regulation or CCPA regulations), or is agreed upon by standard setting groups, we may have to change our business practices, our clients may reduce their use of RAMP, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Increased transparency into the collection and use of data for digital advertising introduced both through features in browsers and devices and regulatory requirements, such as the GDPR, the CCPA, “Do Not Track”, and ePrivacy, as well as compliance with such requirements, may create operational burdens to implement and may lead more users to choose to block the collection and use of data about them. Adapting to these and similar changes has in the past and may in the future require significant time, resources and expense, which may increase our cost of operation or limit our ability to operate or expand our business.

Concerns regarding data privacy and security relating to our industry’s technology and practices, and perceived failure to comply with laws and industry self-regulation, could damage our reputation and deter current and potential clients from using our products and services.

Public perception regarding data protection and privacy are significant in the programmatic advertising buying industry. Concerns about industry practices with regard to the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information, whether or not valid and whether driven by applicable laws and regulations, industry standards, client or inventory provider expectations, or the broader public, may harm our reputation, result in loss of goodwill, and inhibit use of RAMP by current and future clients. For example, perception that our practices involve an invasion of privacy, whether or not such practices are consistent with current or future laws, regulations, or industry practices, may subject us to public criticism, private class actions, reputational harm, or claims by regulators, which could disrupt our business and expose us to increased liability.

Risks Related to Intellectual Property

Our use of “open source” software could adversely affect our ability to protect our proprietary software and subject us to possible litigation.

We use open source software in connection with our software development. From time to time, companies that use open source software have faced claims challenging the use of open source software and/or compliance with open source license terms. We could be subject to suits by parties claiming ownership of what we believe to be open source software or claiming non-compliance with open source licensing terms. Some open source licenses require users who distribute software containing open source to make available all or part of such software, which in some circumstances could include valuable proprietary code of the user. While we monitor our use of open source software and try to ensure that none is used in a manner that would require us to disclose our proprietary source code
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or that would otherwise breach the terms of an open source agreement, such use could inadvertently occur, in part because open source license terms are often ambiguous. Any requirement to disclose our proprietary source code or pay damages for breach of contract could be harmful to our business, results of operations or financial condition, and could help our competitors develop services that are similar to or better than ours.

Our proprietary rights may be difficult to enforce, which could enable others to copy or use aspects of our technology without compensating us, thereby eroding our competitive advantages and harming our business.

We rely upon a combination of trade secrets, third-party confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, additional contractual restrictions on disclosure and use, and trademark, copyright, patent and other intellectual property laws to establish and protect our proprietary rights. These laws, procedures and restrictions provide only limited protection. We currently have “MapQuest”, “info.com”, “HowStuffWorks”, “Infospace”, and variants and other marks registered as trademarks or pending registrations in the U.S. and certain foreign countries. We also rely on copyright laws to protect computer programs related to RAMP and our proprietary technologies, although to date we have not registered for statutory copyright protection. We have registered numerous Internet domain names in the U.S. and certain foreign countries related to our business. We endeavor to enter into agreements with our employees, independent contractors and advisors in order to limit access to and disclosure of our proprietary information, as well as to clarify rights to intellectual property associated with our business. Protecting our intellectual property is a challenge, especially after our employees or our contractors end their relationship with us, and, in some cases, decide to work for our competitors. Our contracts with our employees and contractors that relate to intellectual property issues generally restrict the use of our confidential information solely in connection with our services, and strictly prohibit reverse engineering. However, reverse engineering our software or the theft or misuse of our proprietary information could occur by employees or other third parties who have access to our technology. Enforceability of the non-compete agreements that we have in place is not guaranteed, and contractual restrictions could be breached without discovery or adequate remedies. While the Company has a few legacy patents, we may not be able to obtain any further patents, and our pending applications may not result in the issuance of patents. Any issued patents may be challenged, invalidated or circumvented, and any rights granted under these patents may not actually provide adequate defensive protection or competitive advantages to us. Additionally, the process of obtaining patent protection is expensive and time-consuming, and we may not be able to prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner.

Policing unauthorized use of our technology is difficult. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries may not be as protective of intellectual property rights as those of the U.S., and mechanisms for enforcement of our proprietary rights in such countries may be inadequate. If we are unable to protect our proprietary rights (including in particular, the proprietary aspects of RAMP) we may find ourselves at a competitive disadvantage to others who have not incurred the same level of expense, time and effort to create and protect their intellectual property.

Confidentiality agreements with employees and others may not adequately prevent disclosure of trade secrets and other proprietary information.

In order to protect our technologies and processes, we rely in part on confidentiality agreements with our employees, independent contractors and other advisors. These agreements may not effectively prevent disclosure of confidential information, including trade secrets, and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. In addition, others may independently discover our trade secrets and proprietary information, and in such cases we may not be able to assert our trade secret rights against such parties. To the extent that our employees, contractors or other third parties with whom we do business use intellectual property owned by others in their work for us, disputes may arise as to the rights to related or resulting know-how and inventions. The loss of confidential information or intellectual property rights, including trade secret protection, could make it easier for third parties to compete with our products. In addition, any changes in, or unexpected interpretations of, intellectual property laws may compromise our ability to enforce our trade secret and intellectual property rights. Costly and time-consuming litigation could be necessary to enforce and determine the scope of our proprietary rights, and failure to obtain or maintain protection of our trade secrets or other proprietary information could harm our business, results of operations, reputation and competitive position.

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We may not be able to adequately protect our intellectual property rights.

Our business depends on our intellectual property, the protection of which is crucial to the success of our business. Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, unauthorized parties may attempt to copy aspects of RAMP, our websites, and our other software products or obtain and use information that we consider proprietary.

We may not be able to discover or determine the extent of any unauthorized use or infringement or violation of our intellectual property or proprietary rights. Third parties also may take actions that diminish the value of our proprietary rights or our reputation. The protection of our intellectual property may require the expenditure of significant financial and managerial resources. Litigation may be necessary in the future to enforce our intellectual property rights, to protect our trade secrets, to determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others or to defend against claims of infringement or invalidity. Such litigation could be costly, time-consuming and distracting to management, result in a diversion of resources, the impairment or loss of portions of our intellectual property and could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results. Furthermore, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights may be met with defenses, counterclaims and countersuits attacking the validity and enforceability of our intellectual property rights. These steps may be inadequate to protect our intellectual property. We will not be able to protect our intellectual property if we are unable to enforce our rights or if we do not detect unauthorized use of our intellectual property. Despite our precautions, it may be possible for unauthorized third parties to use information that we regard as proprietary to create product offerings that compete with ours. We also cannot be certain that others will not independently develop or otherwise acquire equivalent or superior technology or other intellectual property rights, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.

Competitors may adopt service names similar to ours, thereby harming our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to user confusion. In addition, there could be potential trade name or trademark infringement claims brought by owners of other registered trademarks or trademarks that incorporate variations of the terms “MapQuest”, “info.com”, “HowStuffWorks”, “Infospace” or any of the other trademarks that we own.

We currently operate primarily in the United States. To the extent that we determine to expand our business internationally, we will encounter additional risks, including different, uncertain or more stringent laws relating to intellectual property rights and protection.

We may be sued by third parties for alleged infringement of their trademarks or other intellectual property rights, which would result in additional expense and potential damages.

There is significant patent and other intellectual property development activity in our industry. Third-party intellectual property rights may cover various aspects of technologies, trademarks, trade names or business methods that we deploy across our platform or businesses, which could prevent us from expanding our offerings or growing our business.

Our current or future trademarks or trade names may be challenged, opposed, infringed, circumvented or declared generic or descriptive, determined not to be entitled to registration, or determined to infringe trademark rights owned by third-parties. We have received correspondence from counsel for a United Kingdom-based advertising testing company and its United States subsidiary (collectively, the “Demanding Group”) alleging trademark infringement based on our use of the “SYSTEM1” trade name and mark in the United States, and alleged use of the “SYSTEM1” trade name and mark in the United Kingdom. The correspondence demanded that we cease and desist from using the “SYSTEM1” name and mark, and made reference to potential legal action if we do not comply with that demand. While we were engaged in active discussions and correspondence with the Demanding Group to resolve the matter, the Demanding Group filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on September 27, 2021 (the “Infringement Suit”) alleging (i) trademark infringement, (ii) false designation of origin, (iii) unfair competition and (iv) certain violations of New York business laws, seeking, among other things, an injunction, disgorgement of profits, actual damages and attorneys’ fees and costs. In November 2021, we filed a motion to dismiss the Infringement Suit, which was granted in part (without prejudice) and denied in part. As a result of the court’s ruling on the motion to dismiss, the Demanding
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Group filed an Amended Complaint in October 2022, which matter remains pending. We intend to vigorously defend our rights in the Infringement Suit. No lawsuit has been filed in the United Kingdom, and we do not believe that our activities infringe any rights of the Demanding Group in the United Kingdom because, among other defenses, we do not offer services to customers using the SYSTEM1 name and mark in the United Kingdom. The parties to the Infringement Suit have been negotiating a mediated settlement and co-existence agreement, which is still in process and the terms of which have yet to be finalized, while the matter remains outstanding.

Our success also depends on the continual development of RAMP. From time to time, we may receive claims from third parties that RAMP and its underlying technology infringe or violate such third parties’ intellectual property rights. To the extent we gain greater public recognition, we may face a higher risk of being the subject of intellectual property claims. The cost of defending against such claims, whether or not the claims have merit, is significant, regardless of whether we are successful in our defense, and could divert the attention of management, technical personnel and other employees from our business operations. Litigation regarding intellectual property rights is inherently uncertain due to the complex issues involved, and we may not be successful in defending ourselves in such matters. Additionally, we have obligations to indemnify our clients or inventory and data suppliers in connection with certain intellectual property claims. If we are found to infringe these rights, we could potentially be required to cease utilizing portions of RAMP. We may also be required to develop alternative non-infringing technology, which could require significant time and expense. Additionally, we could be required to pay royalty payments, either as a one-time fee or ongoing, as well as damages for past use that was deemed to be infringing. If we cannot license or develop technology for any allegedly infringing aspect of our business, we would be forced to limit our service and may be unable to compete effectively. Any of these results could harm our business.

We face potential liability and harm to our business based on the nature of our business and the content on RAMP.

Advertising often results in litigation relating to misleading or deceptive claims, copyright or trademark infringement, public performance royalties or other claims based on the nature and content of advertising that is distributed through RAMP. Though we contractually require clients to generally represent to us that their advertisements comply with our ad standards and our inventory providers’ ad standards and that they have the rights necessary to serve advertisements through RAMP, we do not independently verify whether we are permitted to deliver, or review the content of, such advertisements. If any of these representations are untrue, we may be exposed to potential liability and our reputation may be damaged. While our clients are typically obligated to indemnify us, such indemnification may not fully cover us, or we may not be able to collect. In addition to settlement costs, we may be responsible for our own litigation costs, which can be expensive.

Risks Related to Our Common Stock and Warrants

Our issuance of additional shares of Common Stock, Warrants or other convertible securities may dilute your ownership interest in us and could adversely affect our stock price.

From time to time in the future, we may issue additional shares of our Common Stock, Warrants or other securities convertible into Common Stock pursuant to a variety of transactions, including acquisitions. Additional shares of our Common Stock may also be issued upon exercise of outstanding stock options and Warrants. The issuance by us of additional shares of our Common Stock, Warrants or other securities convertible into our Common Stock would dilute your ownership interest in us and the sale of a significant amount of such shares in the public market could adversely affect prevailing market prices of our Common Stock and Warrants. Subject to the satisfaction of vesting conditions and the expiration of our lock-up, shares issuable upon exercise of options will be available for resale immediately in the public market without restriction.

In the future, we expect to obtain financing or to further increase our capital resources by issuing additional shares of our capital stock or offering debt or other equity securities, including senior or subordinated notes, debt securities convertible into equity, or shares of preferred stock. Issuing additional shares of our capital stock, other equity securities, or securities convertible into equity may dilute the economic and voting rights of our existing stockholders, reduce the market price of our Common Stock and Warrants, or both. Debt securities convertible into
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equity could be subject to adjustments in the conversion ratio pursuant to which certain events may increase the number of equity securities issuable upon conversion. Preferred stock, if issued, could have a preference with respect to liquidating distributions or a preference with respect to dividend payments that could limit our ability to pay dividends to the holders of our Common Stock. Our decision to issue securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, which may adversely affect the amount, timing or nature of our future offerings. As a result, holders of our Common Stock and Warrants bear the risk that our future offerings may reduce the market price of our Common Stock and Warrants and dilute their percentage ownership.

We are an “emerging growth company” and the reduced disclosure requirements applicable to emerging growth companies may make our Common Stock and Warrants less attractive to investors.

We qualify as an “emerging growth company” within the meaning of the Securities Act, as modified by the JOBS Act. We have taken advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies or smaller reporting companies including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on certain executive compensation matters and reduced reporting periods. As a result, stockholders may not have access to certain information they may deem important. We cannot predict whether investors will find our securities less attractive because we rely on these exemptions. If some investors find the securities less attractive as a result of reliance on these exemptions, the trading prices of our securities may be lower than they otherwise would be, there may be a less active trading market for our securities and the trading prices of our securities may be more volatile. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earlier of (a) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have total annual gross revenues of $1.235 billion or more; (b) the last day of the fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the date of the completion of the initial public offering of Trebia; (c) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in nonconvertible debt during the previous three years; or (d) the date on which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer under the rules of the SEC, which means the market value of our Common Stock that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700.0 million as of the prior June 30th in which case we would no longer be an emerging growth company as of the following December 31.

Further, Section 102(b)(1) of the JOBS Act exempts emerging growth companies from complying with new or revised financial accounting standards until private companies (that is, those that have not had a 1933 Act registration statement declared effective or do not have a class of securities registered under the Exchange Act) are required to comply with the new or revised financial accounting standards. The JOBS Act provides that an emerging growth company can elect to opt out of the extended transition period and comply with the requirements that apply to non-emerging growth companies but any such an election to opt out is irrevocable. We have elected not to opt out of such extended transition period. Accordingly, when a standard is issued or revised and it has different application dates for public or private companies, we, as an emerging growth company, could adopt the new or revised standard at the time private companies adopt the new or revised standard, unless early adoption is permitted by the standard. This may make comparison of us with another public company which is neither an emerging growth company nor an emerging growth company which has opted out of using the extended transition period difficult or impossible because of the potential differences in accounting standards used.

The market price of our Common Stock and Warrants may be volatile or may decline regardless of our operating performance. You may lose some or all of your investment.

The market price of our Common Stock and Warrants is likely to be volatile. The stock market recently has experienced extreme volatility. This volatility often has been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of particular companies. You may not be able to resell your shares at an attractive price due to a number of factors such as those listed in this section and the following:

•    our operating and financial performance and prospects;

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•    our quarterly or annual earnings or those of other companies in our industry compared to market expectations;

•    conditions that impact demand for our products;

•    future announcements concerning our business, our customers’ businesses or our competitors’ businesses;

•    the public’s reaction to our press releases, other public announcements and filings with the SEC;

•    the size of our public float;

•     coverage by or changes in financial estimates by securities analysts or failure to meet their expectations;

•    market and industry perception of our success, or lack thereof, in pursuing our growth strategy;

•    strategic actions by us or our competitors, such as acquisitions or restructurings;

•    changes in laws or regulations that adversely affect our industry or us;

•    changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance, interpretations or principles;

•    changes in senior management or key personnel;

•    issuances, exchanges or sales, or expected issuances, exchanges or sales, of our capital stock;

•    changes in our dividend policy;

•    adverse resolution of new or pending litigation against us; and

•    changes in general market, economic and political conditions in the United States and global economies or financial markets, including those resulting from natural disasters, terrorist attacks, acts of war and responses to such events.

These broad market and industry factors may materially reduce the market price of our Common Stock and Warrants, regardless of our operating performance. In addition, price volatility may be greater if the public float and trading volume of our Common Stock and Warrants is low. As a result, you may suffer a loss on your investment.

In the past, following periods of market volatility, stockholders have instituted securities Class Action litigation. If we were involved in securities litigation, it could have a substantial cost and divert resources and the attention of executive management from our business regardless of the outcome of such litigation.

If securities analysts do not publish research or reports about us, or if they issue unfavorable commentary about us or our industry or downgrade our Common Stock or Warrants, the price of our Common Stock and Warrants could decline.

The trading market for our Common Stock and Warrants depends, in part, on the research and reports that third-party securities analysts publish about us and the industries in which we operate. We may be unable or slow to attract research coverage, and if one or more analysts cease coverage of us, the price and trading volume of our securities would likely be negatively impacted. If any of the analysts that may cover us change their recommendation regarding our Common Stock or Warrants adversely, or provide more favorable relative recommendations about our competitors, the price of our Common Stock and Warrants would likely decline. If any analyst that may cover us ceases covering us or fails to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which could cause the price or trading volume of our Common Stock and Warrants to decline.
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Moreover, if one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrades our Common Stock or Warrants, or if our reporting results do not meet their expectations, the market price of our Common Stock and Warrants could decline.

The obligations associated with being a public company involve significant expenses and require significant resources and management attention, which may divert from our business operations.

We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The Exchange Act requires that we file annual, quarterly and other current reports with respect to our business and financial condition. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we establish and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting. As a result, we have experienced an increase in legal, accounting and other expenses compared to that S1 Holdco incurred prior to the Merger, and we expect to incur these increased costs while we remain a public company. Our entire management team and many of our other employees will need to devote substantial time to compliance and may not effectively or efficiently manage our transition into a public company.

In addition, the need to establish the corporate infrastructure demanded of a public company may also divert management’s attention from implementing our business strategy, which could prevent us from improving our business, results of operations and financial condition. We have made, and will continue to make, changes to our internal control over financial reporting, including IT controls, and procedures for financial reporting and accounting systems to meet our reporting obligations as a public company. However, the measures we take may not be sufficient to satisfy our obligations as a public company. If we do not continue to develop and implement the right processes and tools to manage our changing enterprise and maintain our culture, our ability to compete successfully and achieve our business objectives could be impaired, which could negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we cannot predict or estimate the amount of additional costs we may incur to comply with these requirements. We anticipate that these costs will materially increase our general and administrative expenses.

These rules and regulations result in our incurring legal and financial compliance costs and will make some activities more time-consuming and costly. For example, we expect these rules and regulations to make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. As a result, it may be more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified people to serve on our Board of Directors, on our board committees or as executive officers.

We do not intend to pay dividends on our Common Stock for the foreseeable future.

We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain all available funds and future earnings, if any, to fund the development and growth of the business, and therefore, do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends on Common Stock in the foreseeable future. Any future determination related to our dividend policy will be made at the discretion of our Board of Directors after considering our business prospects, results of operations, financial condition, cash requirements and availability, debt repayment obligations, capital expenditure needs, contractual restrictions, covenants in the agreements governing current and future indebtedness, industry trends, the provisions of Delaware law affecting the payment of dividends and distributions to stockholders and any other factors or considerations the Board of Directors deems relevant.

You may only be able to exercise the Public Warrants on a “cashless basis” under certain circumstances, and if you do so, you will receive fewer shares of Common Stock from such exercise than if you were to exercise such Warrants for cash.

The Warrant Agreement provides that in the following circumstances holders of Warrants who seek to exercise their Warrants will not be permitted to do so for cash and will, instead, be required to do so on a cashless basis in accordance with Section 3(a)(9) of the Securities Act: (i) if the shares of Common Stock issuable upon exercise of the Warrants are not registered under the Securities Act in accordance with the terms of the Warrant
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Agreement; (ii) if we have so elected and the shares of Common Stock are at the time of any exercise of a Warrant not listed on a national securities exchange such that they satisfy the definition of “covered securities” under Section 18(b)(1) of the Securities Act; and (iii) if we have so elected and we call the Public Warrants for redemption. If you exercise your Public Warrants on a cashless basis, you would pay the Warrant exercise price by surrendering the Warrants for that number of shares of Common Stock equal to (A) the quotient obtained by dividing (x) the product of the number of shares of Common Stock underlying the Warrants, multiplied by the excess of the “Fair Market Value” (as defined in the next sentence) over the exercise price of the Warrants by (y) the Fair Market Value. The “Fair Market Value” is the average closing price of the Common Stock for the 10 trading days ending on the third trading day prior to the date on which the notice of exercise is received by the Warrant agent or on which the notice of redemption is sent to the holders of Warrants, as applicable. As a result, you would receive fewer shares of Common Stock from such exercise than if you were to exercise such Warrants for cash.

We may amend the terms of the Warrants in a manner that may have an adverse effect on holders of Public Warrants with the approval by the holders of at least 65% of the then outstanding Public Warrants. As a result, the exercise price of your Warrants could be increased, the exercise period could be shortened and the number of shares of Common Stock purchasable upon exercise of a Warrant could be decreased, all without your approval.

Our Warrants were issued in registered form under a Warrant Agreement between Continental Stock Transfer & Trust Company, as Warrant agent, and us. The Warrant Agreement provides that the terms of the Warrants may be amended without the consent of any holder for the purpose of curing any ambiguity, or curing, correcting or supplementing any defective provision or adding or changing any other provisions with respect to matters or questions arising under the Warrant Agreement as the parties to the Warrant Agreement may deem necessary or desirable and that the parties deem not to adversely affect the interest of the holders of the Warrants. All other amendments require the approval by the holders of at least 65% of the then-outstanding Public Warrants, including any change that adversely affects the rights of the registered holders of Public Warrants. Accordingly, we may amend the terms of the Public Warrants in a manner adverse to a holder of Public Warrants if holders of at least 65% of the then outstanding Public Warrants approve of such amendment. Although our ability to amend the terms of the Public Warrants with the consent of at least 65% of the then outstanding Public Warrants is unlimited, examples of such amendments could be amendments to, among other things, increase the exercise price of the Warrants, convert the Warrants into cash or shares, shorten the exercise period or decrease the number of shares of Common Stock purchasable upon exercise of a Warrant.

Our Warrant Agreement designates the courts of the State of New York or the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by holders of the Warrants, which could limit the ability of Warrant holders to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us.

Our Warrant Agreement provides that, subject to applicable law, (i) any action, proceeding or claim against us arising out of or relating in any way to the Warrant Agreement, including under the Securities Act, will be brought and enforced in the courts of the State of New York or the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and (ii) that we irrevocably submit to such jurisdiction, which jurisdiction shall be the exclusive forum for any such action, proceeding or claim. We will waive any objection to such exclusive jurisdiction and that such courts represent an inconvenient forum.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, these provisions of the Warrant Agreement will not apply to suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Exchange Act or any other claim for which the federal district courts of the United States are the sole and exclusive forum. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in any of our Warrants shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to the forum provisions in our Warrant Agreement. If any action, the subject matter of which is within the scope the forum provisions of the Warrant Agreement, is filed in a court other than a court of the State of New York or the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (a “foreign action”) in the name of any holder of our Warrants, such holder shall be deemed to have consented to: (x) the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in the State of New York in connection with any action brought in any such court to enforce the forum provisions (an “enforcement
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action”), and (y) having service of process made upon such Warrant holder in any such enforcement action by service upon such Warrant holder’s counsel in the foreign action as agent for such Warrant holder.

This choice-of-forum provision may limit a Warrant holder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us, which may discourage such lawsuits. Alternatively, if a court were to find this provision of our Warrant Agreement inapplicable or unenforceable with respect to one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and result in a diversion of the time and resources of our management and Board of Directors.

We may redeem your unexpired Warrants prior to their exercise at a time that is disadvantageous to you, thereby making your Warrants worth less than what you paid for them.

We have the ability to redeem outstanding Warrants at any time after they become exercisable and prior to their expiration, (a) at a price of $0.01 per Warrant, provided that (i) the last reported sales price of the Class A ordinary shares for any twenty (20) trading days within the thirty (30) trading-day period ending on the third trading day prior to the date on which notice of the redemption is given (the “Reference Value”) equals or exceeds $18.00 per share (as adjusted for share splits, share capitalizations, reorganizations, recapitalizations and the like) and (ii) there is an effective registration statement covering the issuance of the Class A ordinary shares issuable upon exercise of the Warrants, and a current prospectus relating thereto, available throughout the 30-day Redemption Period (as defined in the Warrant Agreement), or (b) provided that the Reference Value equals or exceeds $10.00 per share (as adjusted for share splits, share capitalizations, reorganizations, recapitalizations and the like)
. 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 you to (i) exercise your Warrants and pay the exercise price therefor at a time when it may be disadvantageous for you to do so, (ii) sell your Warrants at the then-current market price when you might otherwise wish to hold your Warrants or (iii) accept the nominal redemption price which, at the time the outstanding Warrants are called for redemption, is likely to be substantially less than the market value of your Warrants.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments    

None.
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Item 2. Properties    

We maintain our principal offices in Marina Del Rey, California. We also maintain office and data center space in various cities within the United States, the UK and Canada. We believe that our facilities are adequate to meet our needs for the immediate future and that, should it be needed, we will be able to secure additional space to accommodate expansion of our operations.
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Item 3. Legal Proceedings

We are subject to various legal proceedings and claims that arise in the ordinary course of business. We believe the ultimate liability, if any, with respect to these actions will not materially affect the consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows reflected in the consolidated financial statements. There can be no assurance, however, that the ultimate resolution of such actions will not materially or adversely affect our consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows. We accrue for losses when the loss is deemed probable and the liability can reasonably be estimated.

On or around March 30, 2023, the Company received a letter from counsel for Alta Partners, LLC (“Alta”), which purports to be a holder of certain Public Warrants of the Company (“Demand Letter”). The Demand Letter alleges that the Company breached the terms of the Warrant Agreement, and that Alta is entitled to approximately $5.7 million in damages, plus prejudgment interest, as a result. On April 20, 2023, counsel for the Company responded to the Demand Letter, denying that any breach occurred or that Alta is entitled to any damages (“Response Letter”). The Company continues to deny liability and will defend vigorously against any claims.

Information in response to this Item is included in “Part II — Item 8. — Note 11—COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES” and is incorporated by reference into Part I of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
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Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.
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Part II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Our Class A Common Stock and Warrants are listed on NYSE under the symbols “SST” and “SST.WS,” respectively. Prior to the consummation of the Merger, the Trebia Class A common stock, units and warrants were listed on NYSE under the symbols “TREB”, “TREB.U” and “TREB.WS,” respectively. There is no public trading market for our Class C common stock.

Holders of Record

As of April 20, 2023, there were approximately 447 holders of record of our Class A common stock, 72 holders of record of our Class C common stock and 2 holders of record of our warrants. The actual number of stockholders of our Class A common stock and the actual number of holders of our warrants is greater than the number of record holders and includes holders of our common stock or warrants whose shares of common stock or warrants are held in street name by brokers and other nominees.

Dividend Policy

We have never declared or paid any dividends on our Class A or Class C common stock, and we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. We currently intend to retain any earnings to finance the operation and expansion of our business. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will be dependent upon then-existing conditions, including our earnings, capital requirements, results of operations, financial condition, business prospects and other factors that our Board of Directors considers relevant. Refer to “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for additional information regarding our financial condition. In addition, our credit facility contains restrictions on our ability to pay dividends.
Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans

Our equity compensation plan information required by this item is incorporated by reference to the information in Part III, Item 12 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

On March 4, 2022, in connection with the Company's acquisition of NextGen Shopping, Inc. (d/b/a "CouponFollow"), the Company issued 2,000 shares of its Class A common stock with a total fair value of $25,500 in a private placement, which shares were subsequently registered on our Registration Statement on Form S-1, originally filed with the SEC on April 1, 2022, as subsequently amended (Reg. No. 333-262608).

2022 Repurchase Program

In August 2022, the Company's Board of Directors authorized up to $25 million for the repurchase of the Company's Class A common stock and Public Warrants (the 2022 Repurchase Program). As of December 31, 2022, the Company had a remaining balance of approximately $24 million under the 2022 Repurchase Program.

Below is a summary of the share repurchases that were traded and settled during the three    months ended December 31, 2022:



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Period
(in thousands, except share price)
Total Number of Shares Purchased 1
Average Price Paid per Share 2
Total Number
of Shares
Purchased as
Part of Publicly
Announced
Plans or
Programs
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet be Purchased Under the Program
October 1, 2022 to October 31, 2022190 $5.91 190 $23,878 
November 1, 2022 to November 30, 2022$— — $23,878 
December 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022$— — $23,878 
1 All of the shares were purchased in open market transactions.
2 The average price paid per share was calculated on a settlement basis and includes commissions.

Item 6. Reserved
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Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations 

SYSTEM1 MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, references in this section to “the Company,” “System1,” “we,” “us,” “our” and other similar terms refer to System1, Inc and its subsidiaries and references to “Trebia” refer to the Company, formerly known as Trebia Acquisition Corp., prior to the Merger (as defined below).

The following discussion and analysis of the financial condition and results of operations of System1 should be read together with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as our prospectus, dated April 13, 2022, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. The following discussion and analysis should also be read together with the section entitled “Organization and description of business” as of December 31, 2022 (Successor) and for the period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022 (Predecessor), the period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022 (Successor) and for the year ended December 31, 2021 (Predecessor). In addition to historical information, the following discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements. Our actual results may differ significantly from those projected in such forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause future results to differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those discussed in the sections entitled “Risk Factors” and “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.” All figures are presented in thousands, except percentages, rates and unless otherwise noted.

References to “Notes” are notes included in our audited consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Company Overview
We operate an omnichannel customer acquisition platform, delivering high-intent customers to advertisers and selling antivirus software packages to end user customers.

We provide our omnichannel customer acquisition platform services through our proprietary responsive acquisition marketing platform (“RAMP”). Operating seamlessly across major advertising networks and advertising category verticals to acquire users, RAMP allows us to monetize these acquired users through our relationships with third party advertisers and advertising networks (“Advertising Partners”). RAMP also allows third party advertising platforms and publishers (“Network Partners”) to send user traffic to, and monetize user traffic on, our owned and operated websites or throughout our monetization agreements. RAMP operates across our network of owned and operated websites, allowing us to monetize user traffic that we source from various acquisition marketing channels, including Google, Facebook, Taboola and Zemanta.

Through RAMP, we process approximately 28 million daily advertising campaign optimizations and ingest approximately 5 billion rows of data daily across more than 40 advertising categories as of December 31, 2022. We are able to efficiently monetize user intent by linking data on consumer engagement, such as first party search data, with data on monetization and advertising spend. This context-enriched data, combined with our proprietary and data science driven algorithms, creates a closed-loop system that is not reliant on personally identifiable information or information obtained through third-party cookies, but which allows RAMP to efficiently match consumer demand with the appropriate advertiser or advertising experience across advertising verticals.

S1 Holdco was founded in 2013 with a focus on monetizing user traffic acquired by its Network Partners. Since launching, it has expanded to support additional advertising formats across numerous advertising platforms, and has acquired several leading websites, enabling it to control user acquisition and experience, and monetize user traffic on its behalf via its network of owned and operated websites. As of December 31, 2022, S1 Holdco owns and operates approximately 40 websites, including leading search engines like info.com and Startpage.com, and publishing digital media sites and utilities, such as HowStuffWorks, MapQuest, CouponFollow and ActiveBeat.
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We, through Protected.net, also provide antivirus and consumer privacy software solutions, offering our customers a single packaged solution that provides protection and reporting to the end user. We deliver our antivirus software solutions directly to end-user customers across the world. The antivirus software solutions product offering comprises a core security package with varying levels of extra protection based on customers' specific needs. These products include unlimited devices, Adblock, and ID Protect and are managed to ensure they provide a value-added service to the customer base. The software is sold in either a monthly or annual subscription predominantly through the flagship brand TotalAV. As of December 31, 2022, Protected.net had over 2.4 million active subscribers for its products.

Our primary operations are in the United States; and we also have operations in Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Operations outside the United States are subject to risks inherent in operating under different legal systems and various political and economic environments. Among the risks are changes in existing tax laws, possible limitations on foreign investment and income repatriation, government foreign exchange controls, and exposure to currency exchange fluctuations. We do not engage in hedging activities to mitigate our exposure to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates.

The Merger

On June 28, 2021, we entered into a Business Combination Agreement (as amended on November 30, 2021, January 10, 2022 and January 25, 2022), (the “Business Combination Agreement”) by and among us, S1 Holdco and Protected. On January 26, 2022 (the “Closing Date”), the Company consummated the business combination (the “Merger”) pursuant to the Business Combination Agreement. Following the consummation of the Merger, the combined company was organized via an “Up-C” structure, in which substantially all of the assets and business operations of System1 are held by S1 Holdco. Our combined business continues to operate through the subsidiaries of S1 Holdco and Protected. Additionally, Trebia’s ordinary shares and public warrants ceased trading on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”), and System1 Inc.s Class A common stock and the Public Warrants began trading on the NYSE on January 28, 2022 under the symbols “SST” and “SST.WS,” respectively.

The Company was deemed the accounting acquirer in the Merger, and S1 Holdco was deemed to be the predecessor entity. Accordingly, the historical financial statements of S1 Holdco became the historical financial statements of the Company, upon the consummation of the Merger. As a result, the financial statements included in this report reflect (i) the historical operating results of S1 Holdco prior to the Merger; and (ii) the consolidated results of the Company, including S1 Holdco and Protected following the closing of the Merger. The accompanying financial information include a Predecessor period, which include the periods through January 26, 2022 concurrent with the Merger, and a Successor period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022. A black-line between the Successor and Predecessor periods has been placed in the consolidated financial statements and in the tables within the notes to the consolidated financial statements to highlight the lack of comparability between these two periods as the Merger resulted in a new basis of accounting for S1 Holdco.

Refer to Note 3—MERGER and Note 6 GOODWILL , INTERNAL-USE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT COSTS, AND INTANGIBLE ASSETS, NET for additional information.
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Components of Our Results of Operations

Revenue

Revenue is earned from revenue-sharing arrangements with our Network Partners for the use of our RAMP platform and related services provided to them to direct advertising by the Advertising Partners to their advertising space. We have determined it is the agent in these transactions and reports revenue on a net basis, because (a) we do not control the underlying advertising space, (b) we do not acquire the traffic and do not have risk of loss in connection therewith, and (c) the pricing is in the form of a substantively fixed-percentage revenue-sharing arrangement. We report this revenue on a net basis with respect to the amount retained under our revenue-sharing arrangements, which represents the difference between amounts received by us from the Advertising Partners, less amounts remitted to the Network Partners based on underlying contracts.

We also earn revenue by directly acquiring traffic to its owned and operated websites and utilizing its RAMP platform and related services to connect its Advertising Partners to its owned and operated websites. For this revenue stream, we are the principal in the transaction and reports revenue on a gross basis for the amounts received from our Advertising Partners. For this revenue, we have determined that it is the principal since it has a risk of loss on the traffic that it is acquiring for monetization with our Advertising Partners, and, in the case of our owned and operated websites, we maintain the website, provide the content and bear the cost and risk of loss associated with our websites’ advertising space.

We recognize revenue upon delivering traffic to our Advertising Partners based on a cost-per-click or cost-per-thousand impression basis. The payment term with our Advertising Partners is typically 30 days.

We, through Protected.net, are also engaged in selling security software solutions to customers. The subscription business provides real-time antivirus protection, a safe-browsing feature, adblocking, identity-theft protection, blocking of malicious websites and data breach monitoring. Subscription revenue is primarily derived from the (i) delivery of the antivirus software and (ii) delivery of the additional add-on service(s), which all are provided on a fixed-price basis. The performance obligations related to subscription, maintenance and support are satisfied over the length of the relevant customer contract, and the associated subscription revenue is recognized over the contract term on a ratable basis, which is consistent with transfer of control. Our services rendered to customers are generally paid for in advance with cash receipts recorded as deferred revenue, which represents a liability under a noncancelable contract.

Revenue may fluctuate from period to period due to a number of factors including seasonality and the shift in mix of user acquisition sources from Advertising Partners, and renewal rates of customers for subscription services.
We have three reportable segments:
Owned and Operated Advertising ("O&O");
Partner Network; and
Subscription.

Refer to Note 16—SEGMENT REPORTING for additional information.

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Operating Expenses
We classify our operating expenses into the following categories:

Cost of Revenues (excluding depreciation and amortization). Cost of revenues primarily consists of traffic acquisition costs, which are the costs to place advertisements to acquire customers to the Company’s websites and services, as well as content, publishing, domain name registration costs, licensing costs to provide mapping services to Mapquest.com, and costs related to the utilization of antivirus engine licensing related to APIs for the antivirus product. The Company does not pre-pay any traffic acquisition costs, and therefore, expenses such costs as incurred.

Salaries and Benefits. Salaries and benefits expenses include salaries, bonuses, stock-based compensation, non-capitalized personnel costs incurred in the capitalized internal use software development, and employee benefits costs.
We expect to continue to invest in corporate infrastructure to support our growth. We expect salaries and benefits to increase in absolute dollars in future periods.
Selling, General, and Administrative. Selling, general, and administrative expenses consist of fees for professional service fees, occupancy costs, travel and entertainment. These costs are expensed as incurred.
We expect to continue to invest in corporate infrastructure to support our growth. We expect selling, general and administrative expenses to increase in absolute dollars in future periods.

Depreciation and Amortization. Depreciation and amortization expenses are primarily attributable to the Company’s capital investment(s) and consist of fixed asset depreciation and amortization of intangible assets with finite lives.

Impairment of Goodwill. We test for goodwill annually or if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of a reporting unit below its carrying amount. We record impairment of goodwill when the carrying amount of a reporting unit exceeds its fair value. Refer to the discussion below and Note 6 GOODWILL , INTERNAL-USE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT COSTS, AND INTANGIBLE ASSETS, NET — Goodwill Impairment for additional information.
Other Expenses
Other expenses consist of the following:
Interest Expense. Interest expense is primarily related to our debt, which carries a variable interest rate.

Change in Fair Value of Warrant Liabilities. Change in fair value of warrant liabilities relates to the mark to market of our liability-classified public and private warrants.

Income tax (benefit) provision

The Company is the managing member of S1 Holdco and, as a result, consolidates the financial results of S1 Holdco in its consolidated financial statements. S1 Holdco is a pass-through entity for U.S. federal and most applicable state and local income tax purposes. As an entity classified as a partnership for tax purposes, S1 Holdco is not subject to U.S. federal and certain state and local income taxes. Any taxable income or loss generated by S1 Holdco is passed through to its members, including the Company. The Company is taxed as a corporation and pays corporate federal, state and local taxes with respect to income allocated from S1 Holdco based on the Company's economic interest in S1 Holdco. Various subsidiaries are subject to income tax in the United States and in other countries.
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Results of Operations
The following tables set forth our consolidated results of operations and our consolidated results of operations as a percentage of revenue for the periods presented.

SuccessorPredecessor
Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 2021
(in thousands)
Revenue
$773,940 $52,712 $688,389 
Operating costs and expenses:
Cost of revenues (excluding depreciation and amortization)538,779 41,507 521,113 
Salaries and benefits194,976 31,181 66,747 
Selling, general, and administrative63,478 15,665 35,813 
Depreciation and amortization118,652 1,000 13,885 
Impairment of goodwill366,309 — — 
Total operating costs and expenses
1,282,194 89,353 637,558 
Operating income (loss)(508,254)(36,641)50,831 
Other expense:
Interest expense32,050 1,049 16,870 
Change in fair value of warrant liabilities3,751 — — 
Total other expense35,801 1,049 16,870 
Income (loss) before income tax(544,055)(37,690)33,961 
Income tax (benefit) provision(101,976)(629)965 
Net income (loss)$(442,079)$(37,061)$32,996 
Net loss attributable to non-controlling interest(105,682)— — 
Net income (loss) attributable to System1, Inc.$(336,397)$(37,061)$32,996 

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SuccessorPredecessor
Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 2021
Revenue
100 %100 %100 %
Operating expenses:
Cost of revenues (excluding depreciation and amortization)70 %79 %76 %
Salaries and benefits25 %59 %10 %
Selling, general, and administrative%30 %%
Depreciation and amortization15 %%%
Impairment of goodwill47 %— %— %
Total operating expenses
166 %170 %93 %
Operating income (loss)(66)%(70)%%
Other expense:
Interest expense%%%
Change in fair value of warrant liabilities— %— %— %
Total other expense, net%%%
Income (loss) before income tax(70)%(72)%%
Income tax (benefit) provision(13)%(1)%— %
Net income (loss)(57)%(70)%%
Net loss attributable to non-controlling interest(14)%— %— %
Net income (loss) attributable to System1, Inc.(43)%(70)%%
* Percentages may not sum due to rounding

The comparability of our operating results for the year ended December 31, 2022 compared to the year ended December 31, 2021 was impacted by the Merger, as discussed above, and the acquisitions discussed in Note 4—ACQUISITIONS. Expense contributions from our recent acquisitions for each of the respective period comparisons generally were not separately identifiable due to the integration of these businesses into our existing operations.

Comparisons of Results of Operations for the period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022 (Predecessor) and for the period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022 (Successor) and the year ended December 31, 2021 (Predecessor)

Revenue

The following tables set forth our revenue by reportable segment.

SuccessorPredecessor
Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 20212022 vs. 2021 change (%)
Revenue:
Owned and Operated Advertising$556,303 $49,249 $652,884 (7)%
Partner Network
55,926 3,463 35,505 67%
Subscription161,711 — — 100%
Total Revenue$773,940 $52,712 $688,389 20%

Owned and Operated Advertising
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The decrease in Owned and Operated Advertising revenues for the year ended December 31, 2022, compared to the same prior year period, was primarily due to deteriorating macroeconomic conditions and reductions in both advertiser and overall consumer demand, partially offset by an increase due to acquisitions. Compared to the same prior period Revenue Per Session ("RPS") decreased $0.05.

Partner Network

The increase in Partner Network revenue for the year ended December 31, 2022, compared to the same prior year period, was due to our continued investment in this business and growth from partners signed in prior years. For the year ended December 31, 2022, compared to the same prior year period, the number of sessions increased by approximately 163 million.

Subscription

In connection with the Merger, we acquired Protected and began recognizing subscription revenue. We had no end-consumer subscription revenues for the year ended December 31, 2021.

Revenue and Cost Metrics

We use total advertising spend, number of Owned & Operated Advertising sessions (“O&O sessions”), number of Partner Network sessions (“Network sessions”), Owned & Operated Advertising cost-per-session (“O&O CPS”), Owned & Operated Advertising revenue-per-session (“O&O RPS”) and Partner Network revenue-per-session (“Network RPS”) to track our operations. We define total advertising spend as the amount of advertising that is spent by us to acquire traffic to our websites. We define O&O sessions as the total number of monetizable user visits to our Owned & Operated Advertising websites. We define Network sessions as the number of monetizable user visits delivered by our network partners to RAMP. Monetizable visits exclude those visits identified by our advertising partners as spam, bot, or other invalid traffic. We define CPS as advertising spend divided by O&O sessions. We define O&O RPS as O&O Revenue divided by O&O sessions. We define Network RPS as Partner Network revenue divided by Network sessions.

Cost of revenues    

SuccessorPredecessor
Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 20212022 vs. 2021 change (%)
Cost of revenues
$538,779 $41,507 $521,113 11%
Percent of revenue
70 %79 %76 %

The increase in cost of revenues dollars for the year ended December 31, 2022, compared to the same prior year period, was due to the acquisition of Protected, which contributed $99 million of the increase, partially offset by an adjusted Gross Profit decrease in user acquisition costs in the O&O segment. O&O user acquisition costs for the year ended December 31, 2022, decreased $40 million primarily due to deteriorating macroeconomic conditions and reductions in both advertiser and overall consumer demand, and a discontinuation in certain business lines, which resulted in a $0.04 decrease in Cost Per Session (“CPS”).

Our chief operating decision maker measures and evaluates reportable segments based on segment operating revenues as well as adjusted gross profit and other measures. We define and calculate adjusted gross profit as revenue less advertising expense to acquire users. The remaining cost of revenues consist of non-advertising expenses such as set-up costs, royalties and fees. We exclude the following items from segment adjusted gross
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profit: depreciation and amortization of property, equipment and leasehold improvements, amortization of intangible assets and, at times, certain other transactions or adjustments.

The following supplemental tables set forth our adjusted gross profit by reportable segment.

SuccessorPredecessor
Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 20212022 vs. 2021 change (%)
Segment Adjusted Gross Profit:
Owned and Operated Advertising
$138,560 $8,768 $143,284 3%
Partner Network
42,291 3,012 35,505 28%
Subscription78,220 — — 100%
Total Adjusted Gross Profit$259,071 $11,780 $178,789 51%

Refer to the Revenue and Cost of revenues discussions above. Additionally, refer to Note 16—SEGMENT REPORTING for additional information.

Salaries and benefits

SuccessorPredecessor
Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 20212022 vs. 2021 change (%)
Salaries and benefits
$194,976$31,181$66,747>100%
Percent of revenue25 %59 %10 %

The increase in salaries and benefits dollars for the year ended December 31, 2022, compared to the same prior year period, was primarily due to $131 million in stock-based compensation, which included $51 million related to the Protected.net Incentive Plan (as defined below), and $24 million recognized upon the close of the Merger, and $21 million in salaries and related expenses due to increased headcount from the Merger and our recent acquisitions. For additional information on our stock-based compensation, refer to Note 3—MERGER and Note 19—STOCK-BASED COMPENSATION.

Selling, general, and administrative

SuccessorPredecessor
Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 20212022 vs. 2021 change (%)
Selling, general, and administrative
$63,478$15,665$35,813>100%
Percent of revenue
%30 %%

The increase in selling, general, and administrative expense for the year ended December 31, 2022, compared to the same prior year period, was primarily due to additional costs associated with becoming and operating as a public company of $16 million, costs associated with our 2022 acquisitions of $12 million and an increase in costs associated with the Merger of $10 million.

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Depreciation and amortization

SuccessorPredecessor
Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 20212022 vs. 2021 change (%)
Depreciation and amortization
$118,652$1,000$13,885>100%

The increase in depreciation and amortization expense for the year ended December 31, 2022, compared to the same prior year period, was primarily due to additions of intangible assets as a result of the Merger, along with subsequent acquisitions.

Impairment of goodwill
SuccessorPredecessor
Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 20212022 vs. 2021 change (%)
Impairment of goodwill$366,309$$100%

We have experienced adverse macroeconomic impacts as a result of changes in market conditions and increases in interest rates, which contributed to reduced forecasted revenues and reduced expectations for future cash flows. In response to these ongoing macroeconomic conditions and a broad weakening of consumer demand during the third quarter of 2022, we reduced our earnings forecasts for the Owned and Operated Advertising & Partner Network reportable segments. Given these adverse impacts, we performed an interim quantitative goodwill impairment analysis for all our reporting units as of September 30, 2022. We further performed our annual impairment test as of December 31, 2022. As a result of these impairment tests, we recorded impairments of goodwill in the amount of $366.3 million associated with certain of our reporting units as the fair value of these reporting units had declined below their fair value. Refer to Note 6 — GOODWILL , INTERNAL-USE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT COSTS, AND INTANGIBLE ASSETS, NET — Goodwill Impairment for additional information.


Interest expense

SuccessorPredecessor
Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 20212022 vs. 2021 change (%)
Interest expense$32,050$1,049$16,87096%

The increase in interest expense for the year ended December 31, 2022, compared to the same prior year period, was due to an increase in our outstanding loan balances as a result of the Term Loan and Revolving Facility, which we entered into as part of the Merger, partially offset by a decrease in the weighted average interest rate. Refer to Note 12 DEBT, NET, for additional information.

Change in fair value of warrant liabilities

The changes in fair value of warrant liabilities of $3,751 in 2022 was driven by the fluctuations in the market value of our Class A common stock since the Merger.
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Income tax (benefit) provision

SuccessorPredecessor
Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 20212022 vs. 2021 change (%)
Income tax (benefit) provision
$(101,976)$(629)$965<100%
Effective tax rate19 %%%

The difference between the effective tax rates for the periods presented above and the federal statutory tax rate of 21% was primarily due to the exclusion of non-controlling income (loss), effects of predecessor flow through income allocations, changes in unrecognized tax benefits and outside basis adjustments.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

As of December 31, 2022, we had cash and cash equivalents of $24,606.

To date, our available liquidity and operations have been financed through cash from the Merger, credit facilities, and cash flows from operations. We are subject to certain business risks, including dependence on key employees, dependence on key contracts, competition from alternative technologies, and dependence on growth to achieve our business and operational objectives.

Our revenues are dependent on two key Advertising Partners, which are Google and Microsoft. Refer to our concentration with customers discussion at Note 2—SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES-Risk and Concentrations for additional information.

Going Concern

As of June 1, 2023, the Company had not delivered audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 to Bank of America as required by the covenants of the Term Loan (refer to Note 12 – DEBT, NET). The failure to timely deliver the audited financial statements is an event of default under the Term Loan and provides Bank of America the ability to immediately call the outstanding principal balances of the Term Loan and Revolving Facility of $430,000, as of the date of this filing, at the request of, or with the consent of, the required majority of lenders until such time that the audited financial statements are delivered to Bank of America. The Company does not have sufficient liquidity to settle the outstanding principal balances should they be called, nor has the Company identified sufficient alternative sources of capital. As a result, this matter raises substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern. Upon delivery of the audited financial statements by the Company, the event of default will be remediated and, once remediated, Bank of America will no longer have the ability to call the outstanding principal balances on the Term Loan and Revolving Facility.

Separate from the default under the Term Loan and Revolving Facility, in the third and fourth quarters of 2022, the Company experienced declining cash flows and financial performance as a result of deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, resulting in reductions in both advertiser and overall consumer demand for our marketing services. As of December 31, 2022, the Company had cash on hand of $24,606. The declining cash flows and financial performance also raised substantial doubt regarding the Company's ability to continue as a going concern for a period of one year following the date that the consolidated financial statements are issued. In response to the declining cash flows, the Company implemented a plan to raise additional financing. On April 10, 2023, the Company entered into an incremental revolver note (“2023 Revolving Note”) with related parties for $20,000 (refer
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to Note 12—DEBT for additional information regarding the 2023 Revolving Note). As of the date of this filing, the available balance under the 2023 Revolving Note was $15,000.

The consolidated financial statements do not include any adjustments that might result from the outcome of these uncertainties. Accordingly, the consolidated financial statements have been prepared on a basis that assumes the Company will continue as a going concern and which contemplates the realization of assets and satisfaction of liabilities and commitments in the ordinary course of business.

Credit Facilities

In connection with the Merger discussed above, Orchid Merger Sub II LLC (a subsidiary of S1 Holdco) entered into a new loan (“Term Loan”) and revolving facility (“Revolving Facility”) on January 27, 2022, providing for a 5.5 year Term Loan with a principal balance of $400,000 and with the net proceeds of $376,000, of which a portion of the proceeds were used by S1 Holdco, to settle the outstanding debt of $172,038 with Cerberus Business Finance, LLC. The Revolving Facility was for $50,000. As of December 31, 2022, $50,000 was outstanding on the Revolving Facility and principal of $385,000 was outstanding on the Term Loan. Through December 31, 2025, $5,000 of the Term Loan is payable quarterly. From March 31, 2026, $7,500 of the Term Loan is payable quarterly. The Term Loan matures in 2027.

For every interest period, the interest rate on the Term Loan is the adjusted Term Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“Term SOFR”) plus 4.75%. The Term Loan is amortized in quarterly installments on each scheduled payment date. The Term Loan comes with a leverage covenant, which goes into effect only if the utilization on the Revolving Facility exceeds 35% of the $50,000 Revolving Facility at each quarter-end starting from the first full quarter after the effective date of the Merger, such that the first lien leverage ratio (as defined in the credit agreement) should not exceed 5.40. The facility has certain financial and nonfinancial covenants, including a leverage ratio. The facility also requires that we deliver our audited consolidated financial statements to our lender within 120 days of our fiscal year end, December 31. Should we fail to distribute the financial statements to our lender within 120 days, we are allowed an additional 30 days to cure.

The Revolving Facility matures in January 2027, and accordingly, it is classified within long-term debt, net on the consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2022. The interest rate on the Revolving Facility is the adjusted Term SOFR plus 2.5% with an adjusted Term SOFR floor of 0%. In March 2022, we borrowed $49,000 under our Revolving Facility, to fund a portion of the purchase price related to our CouponFollow acquisition.

We have been able to and expect to be able to continue to make payments on the principal and interest of the above debt agreements on a timely basis.

As of December 31, 2022, future minimum principal payments on long-term debt were as follows:

Successor
2023$20,000 
202420,000 
202520,000 
202630,000 
2027345,000 
Total future minimum principal payment$435,000 
Less: current portion(20,000)
Long-term portion$415,000 

On May 1, 2023, the Company did not deliver audited financials as required under the terms of its credit agreement. On May 1, 2023, the Company received a notice of default, which started a 30 day cure period, ending
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on May 31, 2023, within which the Company could remedy the default. On June 1, 2023, as a result of not delivering its audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, the default constitutes an event of default. As a result, the outstanding principal balances of the Term Loan and Revolving Facility of $430,000 as of the date of this report may be callable by Bank of America at the request of, or with the consent of, the required majority of lenders thereunder. Upon delivery of the audited financial statements, the event of default is no longer continuing and the Company is in compliance with the credit agreement, which eliminates the ability of the lenders to exercise remedies with respect thereto.

2023 Revolving Note

On April 10, 2023, Orchid Merger Sub II, LLC (“Orchid Sub”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of System1, Inc., entered into a $20,000 Revolving Note (the “2023 Revolving Note”) with Lone Star Friends Trust (acting by and through its trustee, Stanley Blend, “Lone Star”) and CEE Holding Trust (acting by and through its trustee, Jackson Hole Trust Company, “CEE”, and together with Lone Star, collectively, the “Lenders” and each, a “Lender”), which are trusts established for the benefit of Michael Blend (Chief Executive Officer, co-founder and stockholder) and Charles Ursini (co-founder and stockholder), respectively, in a private transaction approved by the independent and non-interested members of our Board of Directors. Each Lender provided a $10,000 commitment for an aggregate principal of $20,000 under the Revolving Note to Orchid Sub on a several but not joint basis (each, a “Commitment” and, collectively, the “Commitments”).

Any borrowed loan amounts outstanding under the 2023 Revolving Note accrue interest at the rate per annum equal to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) as administered by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York plus 3.15%. Orchid Sub may borrow amounts under the 2023 Revolving Note in increments of $100, and may prepay any amounts borrowed at any time without penalty or interest (other than applicable breakage costs, if any). We may borrow up to our commitment amount, and may reuse the loan again after the balance has been paid down. The final maturity date under the 2023 Revolving Note is July 10, 2024. The Lenders are also entitled to (i) an unused commitment fee equal to 1.0% per annum of the actual daily amount of total unfunded Commitments under the 2023 Revolving Note during the period from the closing date to the maturity date, payable quarterly in arrears and (ii) a closing fee equal to 12.0% of each Lender’s Commitment under the 2023 Revolving Note, payable within 180 days of April 10, 2023. In addition, Orchid Sub agreed to reimburse the Lenders for their reasonable and documented costs expenses incurred in connection with the negotiation, documentation and execution of the 2023 Revolving Note. As of the date of this filing, the available balance under the 2023 Revolving Note was $15,000.

Cash Flows

The following table summarizes our cash flows for the periods presented:

SuccessorPredecessor
 (in thousands)     Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 2021
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities $3,317 $(10,603)$60,705 
Net cash used in investing activities$(454,009)$(441)$(6,535)
Net cash used in financing activities$(27,729)$— $(34,585)

Operating Activities

Our cash flows from operating activities are primarily influenced by growth in our operations, timing of collections from our clients and related payments to our suppliers for advertising inventory and data. We typically pay suppliers in advance of collections from our clients. Our collection and payment cycles can vary from period to
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period. In addition, seasonality may impact cash flows from operating activities on a sequential quarterly basis during the year.

In the period from January 1, 2022 to January 26, 2022 (Predecessor), cash used in operating activities of $10,603 resulted primarily from a decrease in accounts payable of $67,600 due to the Merger and a net loss of $37,061. This was partially offset by an increase in accrued expenses of $57,488, non-cash stock-based compensation of $23,705 and a decrease in accounts receivable of $11,118 due to the Merger.

In the period from January 27, 2022 to December 31, 2022 (Successor), cash provided by operating activities of $3,317 resulted primarily from non-cash impairment of goodwill of $366,309, non-cash depreciation and amortization expense of $118,652 non-cash stock-based compensation of $106,943, and an increase in deferred revenue of $9,008. This was partially offset by a net loss of $442,079, non-cash tax benefit of $107,798, a decrease in other long-term liabilities of $28,395, a decrease in Protected.net incentive plan liability of $20,000, and a decrease in accrued expenses and other current liabilities of $13,478.

During the year ended December 31, 2021, cash provided by operating activities of $60,705 resulted primarily from Owned and Operated Advertising revenue, offset by user acquisition costs incurred to drive the growth and salaries and benefits costs, non-cash expenses of $22,632, and change in operating assets and liabilities of $5,077 primarily due to an increase in accounts payable of $20,756 due to increased user acquisition costs, and an increase in accrued expenses of $12,113 primarily related to the Merger. This was partially offset by an increase in accounts receivable of $19,064 as a result of increased collections, an increase in prepaid assets of $4,968 due to an increase in vendor services to support the growth of the Company, and a decrease in long term liabilities of $3,842 primarily due to reclassification of the former CEO’s profit interest to short term liabilities.

Investing Activities

Our primary investing activities consist of acquisitions of businesses, such as the acquisition of S1 Holdco, Protected, RoadWarrior, CouponFollow and Answers in 2022 as well as costs capitalized for internally developed software.

In the period from January 1, 2022 to January 26, 2022 (Predecessor), cash used in investing activities of $441 resulted from costs capitalized for internally developed software.

In the period from January 27, 2022 to December 31, 2022 (Successor), cash used in investing activities of $454,009 resulted primarily from the acquisitions of S1 Holdco, Protected, RoadWarrior, CouponFollow and Answers of $444,074.

In the year ended December 31, 2021 (Predecessor), cash used in investing activities of $6,535 resulted primarily from costs capitalized for internally developed software.

Financing Activities

Our financing activities consisted primarily of borrowings and repayments of our debt, distributions to members related to tax obligations, acquisition related contingent consideration and proceeds from the sale of assets.

In the period from January 1, 2022 to January 26, 2022 (Predecessor), there was no cash provided or used in financing activities.

In the period from January 27, 2022 to December 31, 2022 (Successor), cash used in financing activities of $27,729 resulted primarily from redemptions of Trebia Class A ordinary shares of $510,469, repayment of existing term loan of $187,488, and payment of debt financing costs related to the Term Loan of $24,845, partially offset by proceeds from the Term Loan and Revolving Facility of $450,000 and the Cannae Backstop of $246,484.

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In the year ended December 31, 2021 (Predecessor), cash used in financing activities of $34,585 resulted primarily from tax distributions to members of $14,579, repayments of debt of $11,636, payment of acquisition related contingent consideration of $5,000 related to the acquisition of Startpage, $1,715 related to the acquisition of Concourse, and related party loan of $1,500.

In August 2022, our Board of Directors authorized up to $25,000 for the repurchase of our Class A common stock and Public Warrants ("2022 Repurchase Program"). During the year ended December 31, 2022 we repurchased 190 shares for an aggregate purchase price of $1,122 under the 2022 Repurchase Program.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

We do not have any relationships with entities often referred to as structured finance or special purpose entities that have been established for the purpose of facilitating off-balance sheet arrangements or other contractually narrow or limited purposes. We did not have any other off-balance sheet arrangements during the periods presented other than the indemnification agreements.

Contractual Obligations and Known Future Cash Requirements

Service Agreements

In June 2021, we entered into a multi-year agreement with a service provider whereby we are contractually obligated to spend $8,000 between July 2022 and June 2023. As of December 31, 2022 (Successor), we remain contractually obligated to spend $4,115 towards this commitment.

Acquisitions

For potential commitments associated with our acquisitions refer to Note 3—MERGER and Note 4—ACQUISITIONS.

Contingencies

From time to time, we are subject to contingencies that arise in the ordinary course of business. We record an accrual for a contingency when it is both probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. We do not currently believe the resolution of any such contingencies will have a material adverse effect upon our consolidated financial statements.

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

The discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based upon our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with the accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”). The preparation of these financial statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of our financial statements, and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period.

Significant estimates and assumptions reflected in these consolidated financial statements include, but are not limited to: (1) valuation of goodwill, acquired intangible assets and long-lived assets for impairment, (2) valuation and recognition of our stock-based compensation awards, (3) income taxes, and (4) variable and contingent consideration. Significant estimates affecting the consolidated financial statements have been prepared on the basis of the most current and best available information, including historical experience, known trends and other market-specific or other relevant factors that we believe to be reasonable. On an ongoing basis, management evaluates its estimates, as there are changes in circumstances, facts and experience. Changes in estimates are recorded in periods
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which they become known. However, actual results from the resolution of such estimates and assumptions may vary from those used in the preparation of the consolidated financial statements.

Business combinations

The results of a business acquired in a business combination are included in our consolidated financial statements from the date of acquisition. We allocate the purchase price, which is the sum of the consideration provided which may consist of cash, equity, or a combination of the two, paid in a business combination for the identifiable assets and liabilities of the acquired business at their acquisition-date fair values. Any excess amount paid over the identifiable net assets is recorded as goodwill. The process for estimating the fair values of the acquired business involves the use of significant estimates and assumptions, including estimating average industry multiples, customer and service attrition rate, forecasted revenue and revenue growth rates, discount rates, technology migration rates, royalty rates and estimating future cash flows. We estimate the fair value based on assumptions which we believe to be reasonable, but which are inherently uncertain and unpredictable and, as a result, actual results may differ from estimates. During the measurement period, not to exceed one year from the date of acquisition, we may record adjustments to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed, with a corresponding offset to goodwill. At the conclusion of the measurement period, any subsequent adjustments are reflected our consolidated statements of operations.

Transaction costs associated with business combinations are expensed as incurred and are included in Selling, general and administrative expenses on our consolidated statements of operations. When purchase consideration includes contingent consideration, we record the fair value of the contingent consideration as of the date of acquisition, and subsequently remeasure the contingent consideration at fair value each reporting period through our consolidated statements of operations.

Goodwill

Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of net assets acquired and identifiable intangibles in a business combination. We account for goodwill in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") 350, Intangibles—Goodwill and Other, which requires us to test goodwill at the reporting unit level for impairment at least annually, or if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of a reporting unit below its carrying amount. We perform our annual goodwill impairment test on December 31.

We have the option (i) to assess goodwill for possible impairment by performing a qualitative analysis to determine if it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount or (ii) to perform the quantitative impairment test. The quantitative impairment test involves comparing the estimated fair value of a reporting unit with its respective carrying amount, including goodwill. If the estimated fair value exceeds the carrying amount, goodwill is considered not to be impaired. If, however, the fair value of the reporting unit is less than carrying amount, an impairment loss is recognized in an amount equal to the excess.

The fair values of our reporting units were computed by weighting a discounted cash flow model and a reference transaction model which included inputs developed using both internal and market-based data. The key assumptions in the discounted cash flow model included, but were not limited to, the weighted average cost of capital, revenue growth rates (including long-term growth rates), and operating margins. The weighted average cost of capital reflected the increases in market interest rates. The reference transaction model derives indications of value based on mergers and acquisition transactions in the digital advertising industry. Key assumptions in this model included, but were not limited to, the selection of comparable transactions, revenue and EBITDA multiples and EBITDA margins from those transactions. Unanticipated events or circumstances may occur that could affect the accuracy or validity of such assumptions, estimates or actual results.

As a result of adverse macroeconomic impacts as a result of changes in market conditions, increases in interest rates, and weakening of consumer demand during the third quarter of 2022, which contributed to reduced forecasted
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revenues and reduced expectations for future cash flows, we performed quantitative goodwill impairments tests of our four reporting units as of September 30, 2022. As a result, we fully impaired goodwill of $329,133 in our Publishing and Lead Generation reporting unit and partially impaired goodwill of $10,976 in our Partner Network reporting unit. The fair value of our Subscription reporting unit and our Search and Applications reporting unit exceeded their carrying amounts by 13% and 2%, respectively.

During the quarter ended December 31, 2022, we realigned our reporting structure due to changes in management such that our Search and Applications reporting unit became part of the Publishing and Lead Generation reporting unit and the new reporting unit was renamed Owned and Operating Advertising. Based on our annual impairment assessment as of December 31, 2022, we determined that the goodwill attributable to Owned and Operating Advertising of $26,200 was fully impaired. The fair value of our Partner Network reporting unit and our Subscription reporting unit exceeded their carrying amounts by 9% and 18%, respectively, as of December 31, 2022. Refer to Note 6 — GOODWILL, INTERNAL-USE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT COSTS, NET, AND INTANGIBLE ASSETS, NET for additional information.

As of December 31, 2022, all our goodwill relates to our Partner Network and Subscription reporting units. Goodwill associated with the Partner Network and Subscription reporting units were $82,407 and $433,184 respectively, as of December 31, 2022. Any further deterioration in key assumptions or changes in the macroeconomic environment, including further interest rate increases, could adversely impact the fair value of these reporting units and could result in an impairment charge in the future. The Company applied a hypothetical sensitivity analysis by increasing the discount rate used in the valuation of the Partner Network and Subscription reporting units by 100 basis points as of December 31, 2022. An increase in the discount rate would result in the estimated fair values of the Partner Network and Subscription reporting units decreasing by approximately 7% and 13%, respectively. The fair values of each of these reporting units would continue to exceed their carrying amounts, though the excess of the fair value over the carrying amount would be reduced to approximately 1% and 5% for the Partner Networks and Subscription reporting units, respectively.

Stock-based compensation

Compensation cost related to stock-based payments is measured based on the fair value of the units issued and recognized within salaries and benefits expenses in our consolidated statements of operations. We have elected to treat stock-based payment awards with time-based service condition(s) only as a single award and recognizes stock-based compensation expense on a straight-line basis over the vesting period, which is generally four years. The assumptions used in the Black-Scholes model to value equity in the Predecessor period are based upon the following:

Fair Value of Common Stock: S1 Holdco’s equity was not publicly traded, therefore the fair value was determined by S1 Holdco’s Board of Directors, with input from management and contemporaneous valuation reports prepared by a third-party valuation specialist.

Expected Term: The expected life of the option is estimated by considering the contractual term of the option, the vesting period of the option, the employees’ expected exercise behavior and the post-vesting employee turnover rate. For non-employees, the expected life equals the contractual term of the option.

Risk-free Interest Rate: The risk-free interest rate is based on published U.S. Treasury Department interest rates for the expected terms of the underlying options.

Volatility: The volatility was based on the expected unit price volatility of the underlying units over the expected term of the option which is based upon historical share price data of an index of comparable publicly traded companies.

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Subsequent to the Merger, the fair value of our RSUs is derived from the market price of our Class A common stock, which is traded on the NYSE. We recognize compensation on a straight-line basis over the requisite service period for each award and recognize forfeitures as they occur.

In connection with the Merger and acquisition of Protected.net, we effected an incentive plan for eligible recipients (the “Protected.net Incentive Plan”). If the Protected.net business achieves certain financial metrics on or prior to December 31, 2023, recipients will be eligible to receive a pool of $50,000 payable in fully-vested shares of our Class A common stock (the “2023 Award”). On August 30, 2022, the Company modified the 2023 Award to remove the operational targets and reduce this award to $40,000 settled in four equal quarterly cash installments beginning upon the modification of this award. Further, if the Protected.net business achieves certain financial metrics on or prior to December 31, 2024, recipients will be eligible to receive a separate pool of $50,000 payable in fully-vested shares of our Class A common stock (the “2024 Award”). Shares under the 2024 Award will be issued to recipients within 30 days of December 31, 2024.

We account for each of these awards as liability-classified until the awards are settled in cash or stock, respectively, and accordingly, when the 2024 Award is probable of achievement, we record stock-based compensation for that liability award. Refer to Note 19—STOCK-BASED COMPENSATION for additional information regarding liability-classified awards.

Stock-based compensation expense is included in the salaries and benefits expenses on the consolidated statements of operations.

Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements

For information regarding recent accounting pronouncements, refer to Note 2—SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES.
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Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure about Market Risk

Figures are presented in thousands, except percentages, rates and unless otherwise noted.

We have operations within the United States and internationally, and we are exposed to market risks in the ordinary course of our business. These risks primarily include interest rate and foreign currency exchange risk.

Interest Rate Risk

We are exposed to market risk from changes in interest rates on our Term Loan and our Revolving Facility, which accrues interest at a variable rate. The interest rate on our Term Loan is the adjusted Term Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“Term SOFR”) plus 4.75%. The interest rate on our Revolving Facility is the Term SOFR plus 2.5%. As of December 31, 2022 (Successor), $415,000 aggregate face value was outstanding on our Term Loan and $50,000 was outstanding on our Revolving Facility. We have not used any derivative financial instruments to manage our interest rate risk exposure from our Term Loan and Revolving Facility. Based upon the short-term investment amount as of December 31, 2022, a hypothetical one percentage point increase or decrease in the interest rate of our Term Loan and our Revolving Facility would result in a corresponding increase or decrease in interest expense of approximately $4,150 annually.

Foreign Currency Exchange Rate Risk

We have foreign currency exchange risk related to transactions denominated in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar, principally the Canadian Dollar. The volatility of exchange rates depends on many factors that we cannot forecast with reliable accuracy. As of December 31, 2022, an immediate 10% adverse change in foreign exchange rates on foreign-denominated accounts would result in a foreign currency loss of approximately $13,065. In the event our non-U.S. Dollar denominated sales and expenses increase, our operating results may be more greatly affected by exchange rate fluctuations.




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Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

Index to Consolidated Financial Statements
Reports of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm (PCAOB ID 238)
Consolidated Balance Sheets
Consolidated Statements of Operations
Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income (Loss)
Consolidated Statements of Stockholders’ Equity
Consolidated Statements of Members’ Deficit
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Board of Directors and Stockholders of System1, Inc.

Opinion on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheet of S1 Holdco, LLC and its subsidiaries (Predecessor) (the “Company”) as of December 31, 2021, and the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive income (loss), changes in members’ deficit, and cash flows for the period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022 and for the year ended December 31, 2021, including 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 as of December 31, 2021, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022 and for the year ended December 31, 2021 in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

Substantial Doubt about the Company’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern

The accompanying consolidated financial statements have been prepared assuming that the Company will continue as a going concern. As discussed in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company has violated a covenant which resulted in the outstanding principal balances under the Company’s Term Loan and Revolving Facility with Bank of America being callable at the request of, or with the consent of, the required majority lenders and has insufficient liquidity to settle the outstanding principal balances of the Term Loan and Revolving Facility that raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern. Management's plans in regard to these matters are also described in Note 1. The consolidated financial statements do not include any adjustments that might result from the outcome of these uncertainties.

Basis for Opinion

These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated 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 the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits of these consolidated financial statements in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB and in accordance with auditing standards generally accepted in the United States of America. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated 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 consolidated 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 consolidated 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 consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

/s/ PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP    
Los Angeles, California
June 5, 2023

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

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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Board of Directors and Stockholders of System1, Inc.

Opinion on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheet of System1, Inc. and its subsidiaries (Successor) (the “Company”) as of December 31, 2022, and the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive income (loss), changes in stockholders’ equity, and cash flows for the period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022, including 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 as of December 31, 2022, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022 in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

Substantial Doubt about the Company’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern

The accompanying consolidated financial statements have been prepared assuming that the Company will continue as a going concern. As discussed in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company has violated a covenant which resulted in the outstanding principal balances under the Company’s Term Loan and Revolving Facility with Bank of America being callable at the request of, or with the consent of, the required majority lenders and has insufficient liquidity to settle the outstanding principal balances of the Term Loan and Revolving Facility that raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern. Management's plans in regard to these matters are also described in Note 1. The consolidated financial statements do not include any adjustments that might result from the outcome of these uncertainties.

Basis for Opinion

These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated 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 of these consolidated financial statements 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 consolidated 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 consolidated 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 consolidated 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 consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

/s/ PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Los Angeles, California
June 5, 2023

We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2020.
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System1, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Balance Sheets
(In thousands, except for par values)
SuccessorPredecessor
December 31, 2022December 31, 2021
ASSETS
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents$24,606 $47,896 
Restricted cash, current9,074 — 
Accounts receivable80,927 90,203 
Prepaid expenses and other current assets11,901 7,689 
Total current assets126,508 145,788 
Restricted cash, non-current5,395 743 
Property and equipment, net4,022 830 
Internal-use software development costs, net6,948 11,213 
Intangible assets, net492,686 50,368 
Goodwill515,591 44,820 
Operating lease right-of-use assets6,484 — 
Other non-current assets2,822 3,149 
Total assets$1,160,456 $256,911 
   
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY/ MEMBERS’ DEFICIT
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable12,068 72,846 
Accrued expenses and other current liabilities95,447 31,284 
Protected.net incentive plan liability, current15,436 — 
Deferred revenue70,164 1,971 
Operating lease liabilities, current2,149 — 
Debt, net15,021 170,453 
Total current liabilities210,285 276,554 
Operating lease liabilities, non-current5,875 — 
Long-term debt, net399,504 — 
Warrant liability7,798 — 
Deferred tax liability43,355 7,789 
Protected.net incentive plan liability, non-current15,824 — 
Other liabilities5,027 969 
Total liabilities687,668 285,312 
   
Commitments and contingencies (Note 11)
   
STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY / MEMBERS’ DEFICIT
Class A common stock - $0.0001 par value; 500,000 shares authorized, 91,674 Class A shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2022
— 
Class C common stock - $0.0001 par value; 25,000 shares authorized, 21,747 Class C shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2022
— 
Additional paid-in capital829,687 — 
Accumulated deficit(445,301)— 
Members’ deficit— (28,829)
Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)(417)428 
Total stockholders’ equity/members’ deficit attributable to System1, Inc.383,980 (28,401)
Non-controlling interest88,808 — 
Total stockholders’ equity/members’ deficit472,788 (28,401)
Total liabilities and stockholders’
equity/members’ deficit
$1,160,456 $256,911 

See notes to consolidated financial statements.
80



System1, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Operations
(In thousands, except for per share and per unit data)


SuccessorPredecessor
Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 2021
Revenue$773,940 $52,712 $688,389 
Operating costs and expenses:
Cost of revenues (excluding depreciation and amortization)538,779 41,507 521,113 
Salaries and benefits194,976 31,181 66,747 
Selling, general, and administrative63,478 15,665 35,813 
Depreciation and amortization118,652 1,000 13,885 
Impairment of goodwill366,309 — — 
Total operating costs and expenses1,282,194 89,353 637,558 
Operating income (loss)(508,254)(36,641)50,831 
Other expense:
Interest expense32,050 1,049 16,870 
Change in fair value of warrant liabilities3,751 — — 
Total other expense35,801 1,049 16,870 
Income (loss) before income tax(544,055)(37,690)33,961 
Income tax (benefit) provision(101,976)(629)965 
Net income (loss)$(442,079)$(37,061)$32,996 
Net loss attributable to non-controlling interest(105,682)— — 
Net income (loss) attributable to System1, Inc.$(336,397)$(37,061)$32,996 
Basic and diluted net loss per share$(3.77)n/an/a
Weighted average number of shares outstanding - basic and diluted89,251 n/an/a
Basic and diluted net income (loss) per unitn/a$(1.81)$1.61 
Weighted average units outstanding - basic and dilutedn/a20,488 20,488 

See notes to consolidated financial statements.
81



System1, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income (Loss)
(In thousands)

SuccessorPredecessor
Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 2021
Net income (loss)$(442,079)$(37,061)$32,996 
Other comprehensive income (loss)
Foreign currency translation income (loss)(723)87 771 
Comprehensive income (loss)(442,802)(36,974)33,767 
Comprehensive loss attributable to non-controlling interest(105,762)— — 
Comprehensive income (loss) attributable to System1, Inc.$(337,040)$(36,974)$33,767 

See notes to consolidated financial statements.
82



System1, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Changes in Stockholders' Equity
(In thousands)

Class A Common StockClass C Common StockClass D Common Stock
SharesAmountSharesAmountSharesAmountAdditional Paid-In-CapitalAccumulated DeficitAccumulated Other Comprehensive IncomeNon-Controlling InterestTotal Stockholders’
Equity
Successor:
For the period from January 27, 2022 to December 31, 2022
BALANCE—January 26, 202251,750 $— $— — $— $574,003 $(107,797)$— $ $466,211 
Effect of the Merger29,017 22,077 1,450 — 148,359 — — 198,691 347,055 
BALANCE—January 27, 202280,767 22,077 1,450 — 722,362 (107,797)— 198,691 813,266 
Net loss— — — — — — — (336,397)— (105,682)(442,079)
Exercise of warrants3,969 — — — — — 27,989 — — — 27,989 
Issuance of restricted stock, net of forfeitures and shares withheld for taxes968 — — — — — (2,089)— — — (2,089)
Issuance of common stock in connection with the Merger, net of offering costs, underwriting discounts and commissions930 — — — — — 661 — — — 661 
Issuance of common stock in connection with the acquisition of business2,000 — — — — — 25,500 — — — 25,500 
Issuance of market-based restricted stock units— — — — 1,450 — — — — — 
Conversion of Class D shares to Class A shares2,900 — — (2,900)— — — — — 
Conversion of Class C shares to Class A shares330 — (330)— — — 2,714 — — (2,714)— 
Establishment of liabilities under tax receivable agreement and related changes to deferred tax assets associated with increases in tax basis— — — — — — (41)— — — (41)
Net deferred tax liability resulting from changes in outside basis difference on investment in S1 Holdco, LLC— — — — — — (2,596)— — — (2,596)
Other comprehensive income— — — — — — — — (417)24 (393)
Stock-based compensation— — — — — — 55,187 — — — 55,187 
Distribution to members— — — — — — — — — (1,511)(1,511)
Class A common stock repurchases(190)— — — — — — (1,107)— — (1,107)
BALANCE—December 31, 202291,674 $21,747 $— $— $829,687 $(445,301)$(417)$88,808 $472,788 

See notes to consolidated financial statements.
83





System1, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Changes in Members’ Deficit
(In thousands)

Members’ DeficitAccumulated Other Comprehensive Income (Loss)Total Members’ Deficit
Predecessor:
For the period January 1, 2022 to January 26, 2022
BALANCE—January 1, 2022$(28,829)$428 $(28,401)
Net loss(37,061)— (37,061)
Accumulated other comprehensive income— 87 87 
Stock-based compensation expense23,705 — 23,705 
BALANCE—January 26, 2022$(42,185)$515 $(41,670)
Members’ DeficitAccumulated Other Comprehensive Income (Loss)Total Members’ Deficit
Predecessor:
For the period January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021
BALANCE—January 1, 2021$(47,886)$(343)$(48,229)
Net income32,996 — 32,996 
Accumulated other comprehensive income— 771 771 
Stock-based compensation expense413 — 413 
Distribution to Court Square Capital Partners(8,257)— (8,257)
Contribution from OpenMail227 — 227 
Distribution to OpenMail(6,322)— (6,322)
BALANCE—December 31, 2021$(28,829)$428 $(28,401)

See notes to consolidated financial statements.
84



System1, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
(In thousands)
85



SuccessorPredecessorPredecessor
Period from January 27, 2022 through December 31, 2022Period from January 1, 2022 through January 26, 2022Year Ended December 31, 2021
Cash flows from Operating Activities:
Net income (loss)$(442,079)$(37,061)$32,996 
Adjustments to reconcile net income (loss) to net cash provided by (used in) operating activities:
Depreciation and amortization118,652 1,000 13,885 
Stock-based compensation106,943 23,705 413 
Impairment of goodwill366,309 — — 
Amortization of debt issuance costs4,836 — 2,261 
Noncash lease expense1,532 115 — 
Change in fair value of contingent consideration and CEO equity profit interest— (9)7,054 
Change in fair value of warrants3,751 — — 
Deferred tax benefits(107,798)(816)(981)
Other661 — — 
Changes in operating assets and liabilities
Accounts receivable4,602 11,118 (19,064)
Due from related party— — — 
Prepaids and other assets(3,348)1,069 (4,968)
Accounts payable2,121 (67,600)20,756 
Accrued expenses and other liabilities(13,478)57,488 12,113 
Protected.net incentive plan liability(20,000)— — 
Deferred revenue9,008 311 82 
Other long-term liabilities