Private equity, Mergers and Acquisitions, Content, Unified communications

Private Equity Firms Carve Out and Create New UCaaS Company Clearspan

Private investment firm Searchlight Capital Partners and private equity firm Abry Partners have launched a new standalone UCaaS company Clearspan.

This is M&A deal 453 that ChannelE2E has covered so far in 2020. See the full M&A deal list here.

Clearspan was carved out of Mitel, which Searchlight acquired in 2018. Clearspan will be exclusively focused on delivering cloud communications solutions for service providers, large enterprises, governments and educational institutions, the company said.

UCaaS, or Unified Communications as-a-Service, is essentially a method for streamlining all communications via cloud-based software services. Typically, this includes all communication methods we associate with office work, including voicemail, chat, telephony, email, alongside internet, audio, and video conferencing.

Searchlight Capital Partners, Abry Partners form new UCaaS Company Clearspan

While Clearspan is a new company, the entity’s history stretches back forty years, evolving through multiple acquisitions and name changes.

Bill Crank, CEO, Clearspan
Bill Crank, CEO, Clearspan

The newly established board of directors for Clearspan appointed Bill Crank as chief executive officer.

Crank commented on the news:

“Clearspan has built a reputation of excellence in creating and supporting comprehensive communication and collaboration solutions, both on-premises and in the cloud. Our private equity sponsors recognized the best way to fully capitalize on the market opportunity was to create a standalone business. The transaction allows Clearspan to focus exclusively on what matters most – creating and deploying innovative solutions for service providers and large organizations that deliver superior end user experiences."

Private Equity Investors

Established in 2010, Searchlight has over $7 billion in assets under management and offices in New York, London, and Toronto.

Abry was founded in 1989 as a sector-focused private equity investment firm. The firm has completed over $82 billion of leveraged transactions and other private equity or preferred equity placements. Currently, the firm manages over $5 billion of capital across its active funds.


Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) has been an attractive sector for mergers, acquisitions, and private equity deals.

M&A plays usually involve UCaaS companies that provide cloud- and software-based solutions for collaboration, voice, video and contact center as a service.

ChannelE2E has compiled a list of similar deals, which can be read here.