Former NBA player and congressman Tom McMillen is trying to go two-for-two in homeland defense plays.
A month ago,
Fortress America Acquisition
, a so-called blank-check company dreamed up by McMillen, raised $42 million in an initial public offering. The Bethesda, Md., start-up, whose only products are the resumes of its politically connected board, hopes to use those funds to buy a company that "contracts directly with the government on homeland security projects."
After the IPO, McMillen, Fortress America's chairman, owns 6.6% of its stock. In the offering, Fortress America priced its shares at $6. Buyers into the IPO also got warrants to buy two additional shares.
The money raised in the IPO is being held in an interest-bearing bank account until Fortress America finds a company in the homeland defense space as a merger partner. But even as that search goes on, McMillen stands to score again with another homeland defense firm he helped found.
, a company McMillen resigned from earlier this year, filed a registration statement for a $100 million IPO underwritten by
. McMillen, the former chief executive officer of Global Secure, owns 12% of the Washington, D.C., company's stock.
Global Secure isn't a blank-check company. It provides emergency management training programs and provides a "Web-based software platform that enables real-time collaboration and communication among federal, state and local emergency management and homeland security professionals."
Global Secure, which lost $3.3 million on revenue of $6.1 million during the first nine months of its current fiscal year, didn't set a price for the offering. It also didn't disclose how many shares corporate insiders such as McMillen intend to sell.
, the New York and London investment bank where McMillen used to work, is also hoping for a slam dunk with Global Secure's offering. The investment firm owns 30% of the company's stock. Michael Recca, Sky Capital's president, is a director and owns 1.8% of the company's stock.
Like Fortress America, Global Secure is banking on political connections to resonate with investors. Global Secure recently named L. Paul Bremer III, President Bush's former Iraq envoy, to its advisory board. Other advisory board members include Mark Holman, a former deputy assistant on homeland security to President Bush; Richard Armey, a Texas Republican who served as House Majority Leader; and Howard Safir, the former New York City police commissioner.
Safir is chairman of another company trying to cash in on the homeland defense business,
GVI Security Solutions
Some of the political notables aligned with Fortress America include former Sen. Don Nickles (R., Okla.), who was once chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Asa Hutchinson, former undersecretary for the federal Department of Homeland Security.