September 2, 2013
Carl Icahn now owns a 16.9 percent stake in Nuance Communications, and a “large position” in Apple. This has lead to speculation that the billionaire investor may be “looking to act as a matchmaker between” the two companies, according to The New York Post. Apple could purchase Nuance, which powers Apple’s Siri program, for as little as $7 billion, according to hedge-fund consultant Charles Gradante. “Mere pocket change for the gadget maker.” This doesn’t mean that a Nuance buyout will happen, or that it even makes sense. According to Avondale Partners analyst John Bright, 45 percent of Nuance’s revenues come from the healthcare section, “which would be of little or no use to Apple.” In July, it was reported that Apple had assembled its own speech technology team in the Boston area. The team is made up of former VoiceSignal Technologies employees, a speech software company that was purchased by Nuance in 2007. According to that report, Apple was said to be looking to rely less on Nuance in the future to provide “Siri’s guts.” This came before Icahn announced his "large position" in Apple, so things may have now changed. See also: Apple's Buying Spree Continues As It Acquires Sweden Based AlgoTrim, Apple Acquires Transit App Developer Embark, and Apple Acquires Video Discovery Startup Matcha: A Perfect Match For Apple TV?