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Business North - The Daily Briefing - Business Newspaper Online
Company that acquired 50 Below gains NASDAQ listing
ARI Network Services, Inc., which 13 months ago acquired Duluth-based 50 Below Sales & Marketing, Inc., was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange Monday.
"It's a big deal for us. We were listed on the OTC (over the counter) bulletin board prior to that, and the 50 Below acquisition was a big part of us getting relisted on the NASDAQ," Vice President of Operations Marv Berg said during a morning presentation sponsored by the Greater Downtown Council. "Being on the NASDAQ opens us up to a lot of investors who would not invest in OTC stocks."
ARI provides website, software and data products that help increase sales for dealers, distributors and manufacturers through a program called "Sell More Stuff!(TM)." Its trading symbol is ARIS.
The company has been profitable, Berg said, and has a strong balance sheet. Its sales have grown from nearly $17 million in fiscal year 2008 to $22.5 million during 2012 and $30 million last year, when 50 Below added $7.4 million to sales.
ARI purchased 50 Below during bankruptcy liquidation proceedings. The purchase has been beneficial for both firms, Berg said.
"We kept the workforce here in Duluth. Throughout the bankruptcy proceedings, several other companies were hoping to purchase those assets. A lot of them would have closed that (Duluth) office and would have eliminated the employees. We think that was a huge win for the local economy," he said.
ARI's 135 employees currently are working in two separate local offices, but the company soon will move into a remodeled 25,000-square-foot facility on West Second Street that formerly was owned by Advanstar. Berg anticipates 50 more employees could be added at the new site.
"The employees here are very, very talented. They've impressed us significantly so far. There's a strong management team. Through bankruptcy and the challenges they saw, they kept fighting to move that business forward," he said.
Integrating ARI workers with 50 Below employees has gone smoothly, Berg added.
ARI intends to grow rapidly, hopefully reaching annual sales of $100 million within five years, he said. It primarily hires people having strong technical computer skills.
At the time of its acquisition, 50 Below’s retail division had developed more than 3,500 e-commerce websites for dealers of power sports equipment, automotive tire and wheel products, medical equipment and pool and spa products
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