Samsung is reportedly in acquisition talks with Nuance Communications Inc., a company best known for producing speech-recognition software. According to The Wall Street Journal, the two recently got together to discuss a possible sale, though it isn’t clear where the talks currently stand. A potential deal would be particularly noteworthy because Nuance’s technology is used by Apple’s Siri.
Many other companies use Nuance, too, including Nintendo, Panasonic and Daimler AG. But aside from Apple, Samsung is Nuance’s most high-profile customer; the Korean company uses Nuance’s speech recognition software in many of its devices, and will reportedly feature it more prominently in a mysterious Samsung wearable. If Samsung can work out a deal, there will likely be plenty of discussion surrounding cross-licensing deals.
The WSJ doesn’t comment on how likely a deal is, though Samsung is apparently one of the front runners; the WSJ also says other private-equity firms are in discussions with Nuance as well, so there seem to be plenty of possible suitors. Nuance is currently valued at about $5.5 billion, and is owned by a several equity firms. Of note, Carl Icahn, who has never been shy about voicing his opinion about Apple, has a 19-percent stake in Nuance.