Microsoft has announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Nuance. Nuance specialises in speech recognition and processing, a technology that Microsoft would like to use for the healthcare industry.
In a blog post, Microsoft says that the company will pay 56 dollars (47 euros) per share for Nuance. In total, Microsoft will pay 19.7 billion dollars, including Nuance’s debts, which corresponds to a total of about 16.5 billion euros. This makes it the second-largest acquisition by Microsoft ever, surpassed only by the LinkedIn acquisition, in which Microsoft paid 26.2 billion dollars (22 billion euros). Rumours about the takeover had a lead time of fewer than 24 hours.
Collaboration in the health industry
The acquisition is a continuation of the cooperation that Microsoft and Nuance entered into in 2019 to offer speech-related technologies for the healthcare industry. This includes, for example, a service that records conversations from doctor’s visits and processes the data in the patient’s medical record.
Microsoft intends to integrate Nuance’s expertise and services even more strongly into its own offering, such as in Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, which the company announced last fall. It also gives Microsoft access to Nuance’s existing contacts, especially in the world of electronic patient records.
Benefits for other Microsoft services as well
Microsoft also sees added value outside the healthcare industry in having Nuance under its wings. Microsoft wants to use the company’s knowledge of speech recognition and artificial intelligence to improve Microsoft products such as Azure, Teams and Dynamics 365. In the past, Nuance has worked with Apple on the development of the Siri voice assistant.
Acquisition to be complete by the end of 2021
The board of directors at both Microsoft and Nuance voted unanimously in favour of the acquisition. The acquisition should be completed by the end of the year. Before then, there are still steps to be taken such as approval by Nuance’s shareholders and government bodies.