Can a mining holding company strike it rich developing former military ammunition bunkers as ultra-secure storage? That's the strategy being pursued by Mountains West Exploration Inc. (MXWI), which has entered the data center business with the acquisition of Secured Digital Storage LLC in an all stock deal.
Secured Digital Storage (SDS) provides secure high-capacity storage to enterprises, healthcare facilities and government agencies. The company says it has developed a "Bunker Power" process for converting decommissioned ammo bunkers into energy-efficient data center space.
Mountains West was formed in 1979 to develop coal bed methane leases in Colorado. It is publicly traded on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board Exchange, but hadn't had any business activity prior to its September announcement that it intended to acquire SDS, and still doesn't have a company web site. On Oct. 4 the company announced plans to acquire Net Direct Systems LLC, an IT systems integrator with $30 million in annual revenues. That prompted shares of MXWI, which had been trading for 37 cents, to surge to more than $10 a share. It has since settled in a range of $4 to $5 a share.
Mountains West says it has already planning to purchase bunkers. "While the merger negotiations (with SDS) were being completed, the joint management team continued to develop our business plan, focusing on bunker acquisition, datacenter construction, sales and marketing development, building its command and control center facility, and hiring additional members to staff operations," said Bill Lynes, SDS's Chairman and CEO, who has designed data center and disaster recovery projects for IBM and Comdisco. "We are looking to grow at an aggressive pace and sustaining the momentum is foremost on all our minds. We fully expect to raise the bar for remote data-storage managed services."
Mountains West has added data center industry veteran Peter Gross to its board. Gross is President and CTO of EYP Mission Critical Facilities, an engineering and design firm specializing in data center projects.