Cyber firm IronNet finds buyer to take it public

IronNet, the cybersecurity firm founded and led by retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander, will become a publicly-traded entity by merging with a blank check firm that includes two L3 Technologies founders in its leadership ranks.

IronNet Cybersecurity, a company founded and led by retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander, has agreed to be taken public through a merger with blank check company LGL Systems Acquisition Corp.

McLean, Virginia-based IronNet will list on the New York Stock Exchange and trade under the ticker symbol “IRNT” upon the deal’s completion, which is anticipated in the third quarter.

The new company expects to receive approximately $267 million in net proceeds from the transaction and is seeking a $1.2 billion overall valuation, IronNet said Monday.

IronNet was started in 2014 by Alexander, the former director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command. The company focuses on cybersecurity solutions for defense and other customers.

Existing IronNet investors Bridgewater Associates, ForgePoint Capital and Kleiner Perkins will continue to back the company through a $125 million private investment in a public equity transaction known as a PIPE, which will let them buy the publicly-traded stock at a price below the current value per share.

They will be joined by new institutional investors in Emles Advisors, Weiss Asset Management and The Phoenix Insurance Company.

Led by chairman and CEO Marc Gabelli, LGL is a special purpose acquisition company that has looked for businesses to merge with and take public in the aerospace, defense and communications industries. It raised $172.5 million in a November 2019 initial public offering.

Other notable names in LGL’s leadership team include two founders of the former L3 Technologies in John Mega and Bob LaPenta, plus the latter’s son Robert that co-founded Boundary Group.

LGL is the latest blank check company to find a company with some government market footing and make a deal to take it public. Space has been an area of hot interest from SPACs and other investors with several transactions announced in the past 12 months, including two on March 1.

Barclays, BTIG, Jefferies Needham & Company are acting as placement agents and capital markets advisers to LGL. Cooley LLP is acting as legal counsel to IronNet. Paul Hastings LLP is acting as legal counsel to LGL. Sidley Austin LLP is acting as legal counsel to the placement agents.