Mickelberry Acquires Stake in Leapnet

Manhattan-based holding company Mickelberry Communications has purchased an 8.3 percent stake in Web marketer Leapnet, Inc. for about $840,000.

According to documents filed with the SEC, Mickelberry increased its ownership stake in the struggling Chicago-based Leapnet by purchasing 484,200 shares of common stock, valued at $841,610. The acquisition was made with corporate funds.

The chairman of Mickelberry, James Marlas, also bought 50,000 shares with personal funds the SEC document said Marlas and Mickelberry could increase, hold, or sell off shares depending on conditions.

Leapnet, in the throes of financial trouble “due to the significant reduction in demand for the services offered,” dodged the Nasdaq delisting bullet earlier this year by pulling off a one-for-five reverse stock split to bump its share price over the $1.00 mark.

Earlier this year, the company acquired SPR Inc., an information technology services provider but the company warned recently that difficult environment for IT-related projects is putting a burden on its finances.

With revenues dwindling, the company implemented a series of cost-cutting moves recently, including management and support staff cuts, the closure of some facilities and the disposition of under-performing or underutilized assets.

The company said the layoffs affected 89 employees and cost approximately $1.2 million in employee severance.

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