Norfolk-based Geeks on Call has gone public, but not in a way that investors normally expect. Selling shares in the company will help it gain the capital, visibility and momentum it needs “to finally achieve a national footprint” in the on-site computer repair industry, says COO Richard Artese.
But company officials decided to forgo an initial public offering (IPO), the traditional mechanism for selling company shares. Instead, they used a reverse merger. Geeks on Call merged with Lightview Inc., an existing but inactive “shell” company that already had publicly traded shares.
Artese says that by following this strategy, the company saved time and money and avoided uncertainty. An IPO can
fail, and that possibility was even more likely given the current state of the stock market, he explains. By
contrast, with a reverse merger, “you just have to jump through all the proper SEC [Securities and Exchange
Commission] hoops and do the necessary compliance work, and it’s done.”
Before the merger, Geeks on Call — which in its SEC filings reported revenues of $7.1 million and expenses of $8.2
million, for an operating loss of $1.09 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31 — held a private placement of
stock. Of the $3 million raised, a little less than $1 million was used to pay for the merger transaction and SEC
The remaining capital is being used to fund the expansion of Geeks on Call, including corporate branches in markets
where franchises have not been selling, such as Boston, Phoenix and Manhattan.
Shares of Geeks on Call stock began trading on on Feb. 14 on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under the symbol
“GOCH.” The opening price was $2.65 per share.
As of April 1, Geeks on Call had 227 operating franchises and 18 corporate branches. The company employs 60 workers
at its headquarters site, technical support call center and corporate branch locations.
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