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Nuance Buys SpinVox For $102.5 Million

Nuance Communications, a maker of speech-recognition software, said Wednesday it has acquired SpinVox, a provider of voice-to-text services to telecommunications companies, for $102.5 million in cash and stock.

Nuance plans to integrate SpinVox's carrier services with its own software platform to expand Nuance's telecom offerings. SpinVox's technology coverts voice mails into text that can be sent to mobile phones or as e-mail messages.

"With SpinVox's robust infrastructure, language support, and operational experience, we will broaden the reach and capabilities of our platform," John Pollard, VP of Nuance's voice-to-text services, said in a statement.

Nuance says there is a growing demand for voice-to-text services, given that the number of voice mail boxes worldwide has passed 1 billion. More than 150 billion voice mails are generated each year, according to the vendor.

Nuance, which makes Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech-recognition software, says the combination of the two companies' technologies will produce carrier-grade voice-to-text services capable of handling millions of messages per day. The combined platform will comprise full and partial speech automation, Web services integration, and other advanced features.

In addition, Nuance plans to offer broader language support, including English, Spanish, German, Italian, French, and Portuguese; and says SpinVox will lengthen Nuance's customer list to include major carriers throughout North America, Europe, South America, and Australia.

Under the terms of the agreement, Nuance is paying $66 million in cash and $36.5 million, or 2.3 million shares, in Nuance stock.

SpinVox is the second voice-to-text service provider bought by Nuance this year. In July, Nuance purchased Jott for an undisclosed amount.

Jott is best known for its Jott Assistant, which enables mobile professionals to dictate texts, e-mails, and reminders that can be posted to the Web or sent to others. Nuance sells Jott Assistant to mobile operators as part of a larger package that includes Nuance's voice mail-to-SMS service.

In April, Nuance completed the acquisition of Zi, a maker of mobile search technology, for $35 million in cash and stock.