Nuance Communications is reportedly holding talks with potential buyers, and one of them is Samsung.
Nuance Communications is reportedly holding talks with potential buyers. According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung is interested in buying the speech-recognition company and so are other unnamed private-equity firms.
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Samsung definitely has the money to buy Nuance, which provides voice and language software to many of Samsung's products. Choosing Samsung won't be hard for Nuance, unless Apple will interfere.
Apple's Siri also relies on Nuance's voice technology. Nuance CEO Paul Ricci confirmed this last year at a tech conference in California.
Ricci said, "We're a fundamental provider for Apple."
Unfortunately, the Wall Street Journal is clueless about the status of the sale talks. However, the Journal said that activist investor Carl Icahn is the biggest shareholder at Nuance, owning 19 percent of the company as of March 31.
Having Icahn on the board can increase the odds of a sale.
"The presence of an activist can increase the odds of a sale of all or part of the company or a stock buyback. Lawson Software Inc., for example, ultimately sold itself to an affiliate of Golden Gate Capital and Infor after Mr. Icahn became the company's biggest shareholder," writes Gillian Tan of the Wall Street Journal.
If Samsung buys Nuance, Apple will have no choice but to remove any traces of Nuance's software. Apple is rumored to be working on a new software for Siri. In July last year, Xconomy reported that Apple hired a team of ex-Nuance employees to improve Siri.