April 5, 2022

Willkie advised Ariel Alternatives, the private equity subsidiary of Ariel Investments, on its acquisition of majority stake in Sorenson.

On April 4, Willkie client Ariel Alternatives, LLC, the private equity subsidiary of global asset manager Ariel Investments, LLC, announced its acquisition of a majority stake in Sorenson Communications, the leading U.S. communications provider for people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing.

Ariel Alternatives acquired 52.5% of Sorenson’s common equity from existing shareholders, including Blackstone Credit, a fund managed by Franklin Mutual Advisers, and private credit accounts managed by KKR at an enterprise value of $1.3 billion.

Ariel Alternatives is the private equity subsidiary of global asset manager Ariel Investments, LLC, the first Black-owned investment firm in the U.S. The acquisition of Sorenson is the first transaction under “Project Black,” Ariel Alternatives’ strategic initiative to scale sustainable minority-owned businesses. Through this effort, Ariel Alternatives seeks to transform portfolio companies like Sorenson into minority business enterprises and position them as leading suppliers to Fortune 500 companies, supporting business diversity.

Sorenson has been the leader for over 20 years in delivering accessible communications, technology and services to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities in the U.S. and, more recently, in the United Kingdom.

The Willkie team was led by partner A. Mark Getachew and included partners Daniel Durschlag, Phillip Isom and Russell Pinilis and associates Charise Patterson and Melissa Doura.