Microsoft’s $16B Nuance Communication Acquisition Nears EU Approval – Report

Microsoft (MSFT) is closing in on regulatory approval for its proposed $16 billion acquisition of Nuance Communications. Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters reports that the tech giant could secure unconditional European Union anti-trust approval for the takeover of the artificial intelligence and speech technology company. MSFT shares rose by 2.83% to close at $342.54 on December 10.

Microsoft is a technology company that develops and offers an array of software services and solutions. It also designs, develops, and sells personal computers, tablets, and gaming consoles.

Microsoft Nuance Acquisition

Last month, the European Commission asked customers and competitors to list any concerns about the deal. The outreach was extensive, as the commission seeks to ensure the deal does not clamp down on competition.

The European Commission could decide on the proposed acquisition by December 21. Microsoft has also opened preliminary discussion for the approval of the takeover in Britain, with a request expected to be filled early next year.

Microsoft reached an agreement to acquire Nuance in April to bolster cloud services in healthcare. Nuance would be a big addition, given its pioneering speech technology that helped launch Apple (AAPL) Siri’s virtual assistant. Currently, its technology, which allows clinicians to securely record patient records, is being used in 77% of hospitals in the U.S.

The tech giant has already secured regulatory approval for the $16 billion deal in the U.S. and Australia. If approved in Europe, it will become the company’s second most expensive acquisition behind the $26.2 billion takeover of LinkedIn in 2016.

Stock Rating

Early December, Wells Fargo analyst Michael Turrin reiterated a Buy rating on the stock. According to the analyst, Microsoft is well-positioned for a bright future, driven by the possibility of continued growth in massive categories of IT spending. While the shares are trading at historical highs, the analyst believes the company’s core business has evolved favorably.

Consensus among analysts is a Strong Buy, based on 23 Buys and 1 Hold. The average Microsoft price target of $368.23 implies a 7.50% upside potential to current levels.

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