Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Microsoft confirms almost $20bn purchase of voice-tech firm Nuance

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Monday 12 April 21

The purchase of the voice recognition tech specialist is Microsoft’s second largest acquisition to date

Microsoft has today announced that it has struck a nearly $20 billion deal to acquire the voice recognition tech company behind Apple’s Siri, Nuance Communications. Rumours have been circulating over the weekend about a potential purchase, with Microsoft now confirming that it will acquire the tech company for $56 per share…

Microsoft has today announced that it has struck a nearly $20 billion deal to acquire the voice recognition tech company behind Apple’s Siri, Nuance Communications.

Rumours have been circulating over the weekend about a potential purchase, with Microsoft now confirming that it will acquire the tech company for $56 per share, a 23% premium on the closing price last Friday. This values the company at around $16 billion, with the total transaction including debt amounting to $19.7 billion.

Nuance has been a major player in the voice recognition technology space for many years. Founded in 1992, the company has since grown into a cloud and AI software specialist, with services for the healthcare industry a major focus. Now, Nuance’s solutions are reportedly used by more than 55% of physicians in the US, as well as being present in around 77% of US hospitals. But the company may be best known for its voice recognition services, with its Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solutions and 

Nuance has been working with Microsoft since 2019, partnering to contribute towards Microsoft’s Cloud for Healthcare. Coupling Nuance’s healthcare-specialised voice recognition technology with Microsoft’s Azure, the partnership aimed at streamlining the healthcare process by providing an AI-environment that automatically creates detailed medical documentation based on patient–physician interaction. 

Now, with this acquisition, Microsoft will double their total addressable market in the healthcare sector, with a total value of almost $500 billion.

“AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application,” said Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella. “Together, with our partner ecosystem, we will put advanced AI solutions into the hands of professionals everywhere to drive better decision-making and create more meaningful connections, as we accelerate growth of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and Nuance.”

This deal is expected to finalise by the end of 2021.

This is the latest – and largest – in a string of recent purchases by Microsoft. The company bought LinkedIn for $26 billion back in 2016 and has since then purchased GitHub ($7.5 billion) and more recently gaming company ZeniMax ($7.5 billion). The company has also recently been tied to discussions to buy gaming-focussed chat app, Discord.

 

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