Update: Legal Dispute Complicates Aristotle Acquisition

by Luke Jones  on Friday, Mar. 30, 2012 5:33 pm  

An acquisition Aristotle Inc. of Little Rock confirmed to ArkansasBusiness.com on Friday is more complicated than originally described, according to parties affected by the deal.

Early Friday, Aristotle, a Web design, marketing and Internet service provider, confirmed that it had acquired YourWebPress, a software development firm in Paragould. In an email to clients obtained by ArkansasBusiness.com, the company said YourWebPress' former owner, Jim Martin, would join Aristotle.

At Aristotle, YourWebPress would become Aristotle WebPress. No other employees of the small firm would join Aristotle, the company said.

But Andrew Jercinovic, general manager of goYWP, later called ArkansasBusiness.com to say there is no merger and that the assets of YourWebPress are in dispute.

Jercinovic said Martin was fired from the company in January. He said Trent Risner, owner of goYWP, rightfully owns Martin's assets and client base.

"Jim Martin is no longer with goYWP and we are not affiliated with Aristotle in any way shape or form," goYWP said in a statement posted Friday on its website, GoYWP.com. "Aristotle has not purchased anything from us and our customers are still being serviced by goYWP."

Jeannette Robertson, Martin's lawyer, said Martin is suing Risner over the company's ownership. She said Risner's company, "goYWP LLC," is separate and distinct from Martin's company.

"It's unfortunate that Mr. Risner and [Jercinovic] have chosen to involve themselves in publicizing the dispute," Robertson said. "It's also unfortunate that Mr. Martin is having to be circumspect about his comments, because this is a matter for the court."

Friday afternoon, Aristotle Chairman and President Elizabeth Bowles said she wasn't aware Risner was asserting ownership. She confirmed that Martin had been fired from goYWP and said her company's purchase of the assets hasn't been completed, but that the acquisition was going forward regardless of the outcome of the litigation.

"We are comfortable with the ownership of the software," Bowles said.

Jercinovic said goYWP is still open for business, its 10 employees serving clients at its offices at 2711 W. Kingshighway in Paragould.

(Lance Turner contributed to this story.)



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