Sorenson’s New Partnership

Sorenson to Bring More Inclusive Worldwide Communication Services with New Partnership!

We are pleased to announce Ariel Alternatives is the new majority owner of Sorenson! This change brings an increase of opportunity and reach for us to continue fulfilling our mission of advancing human connection.

Ariel Alternatives is the private equity subsidiary of Ariel Investments, the first Black-owned investment management firm in the U.S. Ariel Alternatives is a new enterprise conceived for the times, built on a 39-year-old foundation.

This strategic investment will enable Sorenson to expand its communication services with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. As part of these ambitions, Sorenson plans to transform into a minority business enterprise (MBE).

Sorenson also plans to:

  • Increase the accessibility of products by underserved communities
  • Hire diverse people from the entry level to the boardroom
  • Purchase contracts with minority-owned vendors and suppliers
  • Partner with philanthropic organizations supporting civil rights.

This transfer of ownership only strengthens our commitment to you, our communities, and our passion for making communication accessible for everyone. We are dedicated to delivering quality service, product innovation, and advancements in technology.

Learn more by reading the following FAQs, explore our website, and stay connected by following our social media platforms.

Q: What is Ariel Alternatives and what does it do?

A: Ariel Alternatives is the private equity subsidiary of Ariel Investments, the first Black-owned investment management firm in the U.S. Ariel Alternatives is a new enterprise conceived for the times, built on a 39-year-old foundation.

This partnership will enable us to expand Sorenson’s inclusive and accessible communication services to diverse and underrepresented communities worldwide.

Sorenson is the first investment of Ariel Alternatives’ strategic initiative “Project Black.” This is Ariel’s mission to scale sustainable minority-owned businesses to serve as top-tier suppliers for Fortune 500 companies, supporting greater vendor diversity. Our next step is to transform into a certified minority business enterprise (MBE), a designation for businesses which are at least 51 percent owned, operated, and controlled on a daily basis by diverse executives and boards.

Q: Why did Ariel Alternatives acquire majority ownership of Sorenson? 

A: Sorenson and Ariel Alternatives are good partners because they share the same customer-first and mission-driven values and business strategy. Ariel Alternatives’ strategic investment will enable Sorenson to expand its communication services with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Sorenson will be better positioned to offer its products to underrepresented people and communities worldwide. As part of these ambitions, Sorenson plans to transform into a minority business enterprise (MBE). Through our contracts with major corporate partners, we will fuel greater supply chain diversity with the goal of generating jobs, economic growth, and equality within underrepresented populations. This is a natural next step in Sorenson’s evolution.

Q: How did Ariel Alternatives come to invest in Sorenson?

A: Ariel Alternatives and Sorenson filed a joint petition with the Federal Communications Commission, the governmental body that regulates Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS), for Ariel Alternatives to become the majority owner, with 52.5 percent of the company’s voting and equity interests. Additional current investors include Blackstone Credit, a fund managed by Franklin Mutual Advisers, and private credit accounts managed by KKR. In addition to seeking approval from the FCC, there were further customary conditions that needed to be met to close the transaction, including other regulatory clearance.

Q: What is Ariel Alternatives’ Project Black?

A: Project Black is the first of Ariel Alternatives’ strategic initiatives. Its mission is to scale sustainable minority-owned businesses like Sorenson into minority business enterprises (MBEs), then position them as leading suppliers to Fortune 500 companies, thereby supporting supply chain diversity. Through this strategy, Ariel Alternatives plans to close the racial wealth gap by aiming to generate jobs and economic growth within underrepresented communities, forging a new class of Black and brown entrepreneurs. For more information about Project Black, visit https://arielalternatives.com/about/.

Q: What is a Minority business enterprise (MBE)?

A: An MBE is an American designation for businesses which are at least 51 percent owned, operated, and controlled on a daily basis by one or more (in combination) American citizens of an ethnic minority and/or gender and/or military veteran. MBE’s boards must have diverse representation and the CEO, CFO, or COO must be diverse. 

Ariel Alternatives has leveraged its extensive network of minority executives to introduce Sorenson to its new CEO Jorge Rodriguez, and new board members, including Chairman Paget Alves, and directors Vonya McCann, Colonel J. Carlos Vega and Maria Teresa Lensing. These executives bring critical product, security, and regulatory expertise to Sorenson’s leadership team as the Company enhances its focus on innovation, consumer protection, and compliance.

Q: What are the goals of MBEs?

A: In the short and long term, MBEs are part of a strategy to close the racial wealth gap by generating jobs and economic growth within underrepresented communities. With the tenets of diversity, equity, and inclusion, MBEs embrace the hiring of diverse people from the entry level to the boardroom; the purchasing of contracts with minority-owned vendors and suppliers; increasing the accessibility of products by underserved communities; and philanthropic partnerships with organizations supporting civil rights. In short, MBEs aim to transform culture to create a more inclusive, equitable and humane world.

Q: How will Sorenson become an MBE?

A: Sorenson is working to meet federal requirements to be classified as an MBE, which is a natural next step in Sorenson’s evolution. Sorenson’s recent changes to its ownership, leadership, board, and employees meet eligibility requirements set forth by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). The Company plans to apply to obtain MBE status and certification. 

Ariel Alternatives has leveraged its extensive network of minority executives to introduce Sorenson to its new CEO Jorge Rodriguez, and new board members, including Chairman Paget Alves, and directors Vonya McCann, Colonel J. Carlos Vega and Maria Teresa Lensing. These executives bring critical product, security, and regulatory expertise to Sorenson’s leadership team as the Company enhances its focus on innovation, consumer protection, and compliance.            

Q: How will becoming an MBE impact Sorenson and its lines of business?  

A: Sorenson intends to grow the scope and scale of its business globally. Sorenson intends to be part of the change that closes the racial wealth gap worldwide by generating jobs and economic growth within underrepresented communities. 

Q: How will becoming an MBE impact Sorenson employees?

A: Sorenson’s leadership and employees will enhance their focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, regulatory compliance, and delivering next-generation technology. Our workforce will continue to offer the reliable services Sorenson customers have come to expect.

Q: What does becoming an MBE mean for Sorenson’s executive leadership?

A: Sorenson leadership will reflect the required diversity of an MBE. Sorenson’s executive team is preparing for the transition to an MBE by continuing to deliver unmatched service to customers, embracing accessibility and inclusion, leveraging investments in technology to deliver next-generation capabilities, and endeavoring to expand its geographical footprint. In addition, newly appointed CEO and board of directors will bring enhanced product, security and regulatory expertise to the company while focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion.