Nuance Communications, Inc.NASDAQ
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  • Wed, Feb. 3, 9:21 AM
    • SwiftKey's iOS/Android keyboard apps have over 300M users - a Samsung pre-install deal has helped - and are declared to have "saved nearly 10 trillion keystrokes, across 100 languages" with the help of A.I. that learns a user's typing tendencies to predict his/her next word. They also feature an autocorrect tool that adapts to a user's writing style, and an option to type by swiping from letter to letter.
    • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is buying SwiftKey for an undisclosed sum; the FT reports the acquisition price is $250M. With SwiftKey based in London, offshore cash is likely being used.
    • Microsoft: "We’ll continue to develop SwiftKey’s market-leading keyboard apps for Android and iOS as well as explore scenarios for the integration of the core technology across the breadth of our product and services portfolio. Moreover, SwiftKey’s predictive technology aligns with Microsoft’s investments and ambition to develop intelligent systems that can work more on the user’s behalf and under their control." The company adds SwiftKey will be integrated with its Word Flow touch keyboard.
    • The purchase is the latest in a string of Microsoft acquisitions of iOS/Android productivity apps. Others include Wunderlist (to-do lists), Accompli (e-mail), and Sunrise (calendars). Nuance's (NASDAQ:NUAN) Swype is a notable SwiftKey rival.
    | Wed, Feb. 3, 9:21 AM | 14 Comments
  • Oct. 2, 2015, 6:41 PM
    • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has bought VocalIQ, a U.K.-based developer of a "self-learning dialogue platform" that developers and OEMs can use to create personal assistants that understand natural-language questions and commands.
    • VocalIQ's technology, which could be used to help Siri better decipher conversational language, relies on A.I./machine learning to steadily improve its understanding of human dialogue. Notably, the auto market was a focus area for the company, with GM a partner.
    • Google (Now) and Microsoft (Cortana) have also been making investments in natural-language processing driven by machine learning. Facebook, meanwhile, recently showed off an assistant (known as M) that relies on both machine learning and actual humans to provide answers.
    • iOS 9 brought with it Apple's Proactive assistant, which uses both Siri and user data to push relevant content a la Google Now. This year has also seen the launch of the Siri-capable Apple Watch, and is set to see the rollout of an Apple TV set-top supporting Siri. Nuance (NASDAQ:NUAN) is believed to help power the platform.
    | Oct. 2, 2015, 6:41 PM | 20 Comments
  • Jan. 12, 2015, 2:21 PM
    • Asian Sweeper speculates Baidu could make a bid for Nuance (NUAN +1%), given its strong interest in voice recognition. "Building an organic solution would take time, but acquiring Nuance would gap [Baidu] in a position where they could immediately apply their technology to the real world."
    • Of note: Baidu has never acquired a major foreign software company, never mind one with an enterprise value above $6B. In addition, regulators might closely scrutinize any attempt by a Chinese company to buy Nuance.
    • Nuance has turned positive after previously following equity markets lower. Shares slumped on Friday thanks to a Goldman downgrade.
    | Jan. 12, 2015, 2:21 PM | 7 Comments
  • Jun. 26, 2014, 1:56 PM
    • Nuance's (NUAN -2.9%) acquisition talks have been slowed by deal complexities, sources tell dealReporter.
    • The WSJ reported on June 16 Nuance (presumably with Carl Icahn's blessing) is exploring a possible sale, and has held talks with P-E firms and Samsung.
    • Among the likely challenges facing a deal: Nuance's product line covers markets ranging from healthcare (still over half of op. profit) to mobile to enterprise, and a buyer may only be interested in parts of the business. Also, the fact the company's software and services support a wide array of platforms (iOS, Android, Windows, etc.) means a sale to a suitor such as Samsung could alienate some existing clients.
    | Jun. 26, 2014, 1:56 PM | 11 Comments
  • Jun. 16, 2014, 12:38 PM
    • The WSJ reports Nuance (NUAN +7.5%) is exploring a possible sale. Shares have spiked higher in response.
    • The voice recognition software leader has occasionally been the subject of M&A speculation, thanks in part to Carl Icahn's large stake.
    | Jun. 16, 2014, 12:38 PM | 6 Comments
  • Oct. 10, 2013, 9:27 AM
    • Nuance (NUAN) is buying Varolli, developer of a cloud-based platform for providing automated voice, e-mail, and text message responses during customer service events. Terms are undisclosed. (PR)
    • Varoli has 400+ enterprise customers, and its platform is said to reach 1 out of 5 U.S. adults each year. The company's products will be paired with Nuance's existing cloud-based customer service offerings, which include voice recognition/natural language-processing software and the company's Nina mobile voice assistant.
    • The purchase represents another step in Nuance's business model transition (bumpy as of late) towards cloud/subscription-based services, and away from traditional software sales. It also represents the extension of an M&A-heavy growth strategy that has drawn some criticism.
    • Shares +1.3% premarket, following equity futures higher.
    | Oct. 10, 2013, 9:27 AM
  • Sep. 13, 2013, 11:14 AM
    • TechCrunch reports Intel (INTC +3%) has acquired Indisys, a Spanish developer of natural language-processing software, for a price above $26M.
    • Indisys, a 10-year-old company, has applied its natural language tech to creating mobile virtual assistant, contact center, and search engine, and social network analysis apps, among other products.
    • Intel's purchase comes as Apple (Siri), Google (Now), and most recently Microsoft (Cortana) each make big investments in voice assistant platforms. Voice-recognition mainstay Nuance (NUAN -0.7%), which helps power Siri, isn't standing idly either.
    • Voice/gesture recognition is clearly an area of interest for Intel. The company bought gesture-recognition startup Omek in July, and declared at IDF PCs featuring its gesture-recognition tech will arrive in 2014.
    • Meanwhile, Jefferies' Mark Lipacis, who upgraded Intel to Buy this morning, declares the chip giant "offers one of the best alpha generation opportunities in semis," and praises its efforts to finally leverage its manufacturing leadership to make CPUs "that are lower power, higher performance and cheaper than competitive solutions."
    • It isn't clear yet that Intel's new Bay Trail Atom tablet CPUs will be cheaper or less power-hungry than comparable ARM-based parts, but if Intel's benchmarks are close to accurate, they should have a performance edge.
    | Sep. 13, 2013, 11:14 AM
  • Aug. 29, 2013, 7:06 PM
    • Carl Icahn has bought an additional 20,890,119 shares in speech-recognition technology maker Nuance Communications (NUAN) bringing his position to 52.4M shares, or 16.9% of the company.
    • He first disclosed a 9.3% stake in NUAN in April, without detailing any specific intentions for the company.
    • Icahn has said he may seek talks with the company regarding the possibility of adding nominees to its board.
    • Nuance's board adopted a shareholder rights plan with a 20% trigger, in an effort to prevent any individual or group from gaining control of the company.
    | Aug. 29, 2013, 7:06 PM
  • May 30, 2013, 11:37 AM

    Nuance's (NUAN +1.2%) latest acquisition is Tweedle Connect, developer of an in-car entertainment platform that aggregates/delivers popular apps and services such as Pandora, iHeartRadio, OpenTable, and Bing, for $80M in cash. Nuance plans to integrate Tweedle Connect, which counts Toyota/Lexus as a client, with its popular Dragon Drive voice command/text-to-speech platform, which has been adopted by a slew of top automakers. Nuance has acquired over three dozen companies since '06, and thirteen in the last two years.

    | May 30, 2013, 11:37 AM
  • Apr. 24, 2013, 11:47 AM

    Nuance (NUAN +4.6%) spikes as Dow Jones reports the company has hired Goldman to help find a buyer - there was a rumor along these lines two weeks ago. If true, look for Carl Icahn to take an active interest in the proceedings. 11.8% of Nuance's float was shorted as of March 28, but that was before Icahn disclosed his 9.3% stake.

    | Apr. 24, 2013, 11:47 AM | 1 Comment
  • Apr. 17, 2013, 1:20 PM

    Amazon (AMZN -2.3%) roundup: 1) Amazon has reportedly paid $26M to buy Evi, a British developer of a Siri alternative that users a proprietary natural language search engine and voice recognition tech licensed from Nuance (NUAN). If true, look for Evi's software to soon be bundled with Kindle hardware. 2) Amazon's Appstore for Android is now available in nearly 200 countries, including major emerging markets (the source of much of Android's growth) such as India, Brazil, and Mexico. 3) Amazon has filed a patent application for an anonymous mobile payments system; expect PayPal (EBAY) to take a close look.

    | Apr. 17, 2013, 1:20 PM | 1 Comment
  • Apr. 8, 2013, 2:45 PM
    Speculation abounds regarding how Carl Icahn plans to leverage his new 9.3% stake in Nuance (NUAN -1.3%). Many think Icahn could push Nuance to sell its slow-growing document imaging ops to lower its $2.3B debt load; Deutsche believes the unit could fetch ~$400M. Some even see a full-blown sale of the company to Microsoft or IBM as a possibility. Regardless, many Nuance investors are likely to back Icahn should he make an activist push. "There’s been a lot of frustration over the balance sheet and performance," observes Mizuho's Joanna Makris.
    | Apr. 8, 2013, 2:45 PM
  • Jan. 10, 2013, 1:58 PM

    Acquisition-loving Nuance (NUAN) has reportedly snapped up VirtuOz, a developer of virtual assistant services for sales/marketing/customer support workers - VirtuOz calls itself "Siri for the enterprise." Though Nuance is better known for its consumer solutions, its enterprise ops generate $330M/year in sales. The acquisition report comes in a week where Nuance made a slew of CES-related announcements, and outlined a vision for a voice assistant platform that would follow users across devices.

    | Jan. 10, 2013, 1:58 PM
  • Sep. 18, 2012, 8:20 AM

    Nuance Communications (NUAN) agrees to acquire Ditech Networks (DITC) for $1.45/share, a 79% premium to DITC's Monday closing price. NUAN says DITC's voice technologies will enhance its portfolio of mobile and enterprise voice offerings. NUAN +0.6% premarket, DITC halted.

    | Sep. 18, 2012, 8:20 AM
  • Aug. 8, 2012, 1:00 PM

    Nuance (NUAN +6.5%) rallies after stating it has no plans to make a bid for clinical transcription rival M*Modal (MODL -1.6%), which is set to be purchased by JPMorgan's P-E arm for $14/share. The weak Q2 report delivered yesterday by M*Modal could be a reason why. M*Modal had previously disclosed it turned down a $17/share offer from a competitor widely believed to be Nuance, due to timing and antitrust worries.

    | Aug. 8, 2012, 1:00 PM
  • Jul. 17, 2012, 2:03 PM

    M*Modal (MODL +3.2%), which has agreed to be sold to JPMorgan's P-E arm for $14/share, jumps after disclosing it received a $17/share offer from a competitor it refers to as "Party A," but turned it down due to uncertainty about timing and antitrust issues. There's a good chance the company is Nuance (NUAN -1%), which is already a giant in the clinical transcription space. M*Modal traded as high as $14.99, and is currently moving at $14.51. (previous)

    | Jul. 17, 2012, 2:03 PM