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Microsoft in talks to buy AI firm Nuance Communications

Microsoft is in advanced talks to buy artificial intelligence and speech technology company Nuance Communications Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Microsoft, the American multinational technology giant, on Tuesday warned that a group of hackers linked to attacks on the Democratic National Committee had exploited a vulnerability in all Windows PCs and that it would not be able to fully mend this for another week.
Microsoft, the American multinational technology giant, on Tuesday warned that a group of hackers linked to attacks on the Democratic National Committee had exploited a vulnerability in all Windows PCs and that it would not be able to fully mend this for another week. (Reuters)

Microsoft is in advanced talks to buy artificial intelligence and speech technology company Nuance Communications Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

An agreement could be announced as soon as this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The price being discussed could value Nuance at about $56 a share, though the terms could still change, one of the people said.

That would value the equity of Nuance, which laid the groundwork for the technology used in Apple's Siri voice software, at about $16 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The price would be a 23 percent premium to Friday’s close for Nuance.

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Talks are ongoing and the discussions could still fall apart, the people said.

A representative for Microsoft declined to comment. A spokesperson for Nuance, based in Burlington, Massachusetts, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nuance’s shares have climbed 3.4 percent this year, giving the company an almost $13 billion market value but still trailing the 9.9 percent jump in the S&P 500 Index. Microsoft has climbed 15 percent.

Microsoft, with a market value of more than $1.93 trillion, remains active on the deals front. Last month, Bloomberg News reported that the software giant was in talks to acquire Discord Inc., a video-game chat community, for more than $10 billion. It also bought video-game maker Zenimax Media Inc. for $7.5 billion in cash in a deal that closed this year.

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A deal for Nuance would rank as Microsoft’s second-largest acquisition, behind only the $24 billion LinkedIn transaction in 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Microsoft and Nuance have collaborated since 2019 on technologies to do things like allow doctors to capture voice conversations from patient visits and enter the data into electronic medical records.

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