By Aaron Tilley 

Microsoft Corp. has agreed to acquire speech-recognition firm Nuance Communications Inc. for $19.7 billion, adding to a series of big deals the company has struck to offer an expanded range of software tools to its customers.

The two companies on Monday said Microsoft agreed to pay $56 per Nuance share in the all-cash deal, a 23% premium over Friday's closing price. The deal value includes Nuance debt, the companies said.

The acquisition is Microsoft's second largest under Chief Executive Satya Nadella after the company spent about $26 billion for professional network LinkedIn Corp. in 2016.

Nuance, based in Burlington, Mass., was a pioneer in speech recognition and artificial intelligence technology. Its software formed the basis of Apple Inc.'s Siri voice assistant before the Cupertino, Calif-based company switched to an in-house version. Nuance has explored a possible sale as far back as 2014, when Samsung Electronics Co. and private-equity firms were seen as the most likely buyers.

Write to Aaron Tilley at aaron.tilley@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 12, 2021 09:00 ET (13:00 GMT)

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