February 3, 2023

On February 1, Willkie client Ariel Alternatives announced the closing of its inaugural private equity fund, Project Black, LP at $1.45 billion. The fund is the first private equity initiative of Ariel Investments, LLC and one of the largest private equity fund closings for a first-time manager globally. Project Black aims to scale sustainable minority-owned businesses to serve as leading vendors to Fortune 500 companies—supporting supply chain diversity.  The fund will leverage the commitments from its limited partners and co-investors across the consumer retail, energy and infrastructure, financial services, healthcare, sovereign and private wealth, and technology sectors.

As lead legal counsel, Willkie regularly advises Ariel Alternatives on various matters in support of Project Black. Willkie previously advised Ariel Alternatives’ Project Black in its first transaction, the April 2022 acquisition of Sorenson, a leading U.S. communications provider for people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing, at an enterprise value of $1.3 billion. Prior to acquisition, 3% of Sorenson’s senior leadership team and board of directors were comprised of minorities. As Ariel assumed control and actively sought to augment the organization, representation significantly increased. Today, minorities make up 43% of the senior leadership team and board.

Ariel Alternatives, LLC is a private asset management firm affiliated with Ariel Investments, LLC, a global value-based asset management firm founded in 1983.  

The Willkie team was led by partner A. Mark Getachew.