In an announcement on Monday, Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) said it will acquire Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) for roughly £11.64 billion. Bringing the artificial intelligence and speech technology company under its umbrella, Microsoft said, will help it expand its footprint in the cloud business, particularly for healthcare and enterprise customers.
Nuance shares jumped a little under 20% in premarket trading on Monday. The stock is now exchanging hands at £38.57 per share versus £31.80 per share at the end of 2020. Nuance had plummeted to a low of £10.63 per share in March 2020, when the impact of the COVID-19 crisis was at its peak.
Microsoft had partnered with Nuance in 2019
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Microsoft had already partnered with Nuance Communications to automate clinical administrative processes, including documentation. The U.S. tech giant is in pursuit of securing a leading position in the vertical cloud solutions market in prominent industries, such as healthcare.
The news comes only weeks after Microsoft was reported in talks to acquire Discord for more than £7.24 billion.
Chief Executive Satya Nadella of Microsoft commented on the news on Monday and said:
“This acquisition brings our technology directly into the physician and patient loop, which is central to all healthcare delivery. The acquisition will also expand our leadership in cross-industry enterprise AI and biometric security.”
In separate news from the United States, Raymond James upgraded Chipotle Mexican Grill from ‘market perform’ to ‘outperform’ on Monday.
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Nuance reported £1.09 billion of revenue in 2020
Nuance is broadly known in the speech technology segment as a pioneer who also helped Apple Inc. launch its world-famous voice assistant, Siri. The American multinational has, in recent years, doubled down on artificial intelligence in the healthcare and enterprise sector. Nuance also spun off and sold several of its business units in past years that were struggling to generate commendable profits.
In 2020, Nuance Communications, which operates in 28 countries, reported revenue of £1.09 billion. The company provides intelligent solutions, such as medical transcription, clinical speech recognition, and medical imaging, to roughly 77% of the hospitals in the United States.
Microsoft shares opened at £185.48 per share on Monday and are currently trading at a per-share price of £186.65. In comparison, the stock had started the year at a lower £158.42 per share. Microsoft is currently valued at £1.40 trillion and has a price to earnings ratio of 38.21.