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The UK's CMA explores Microsoft's $16bn Nuance deal

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The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said it will look into Microsoft $16 billion acquisition of AI and speech technology firm Nuance Communications (Nuance).

The inquiry invites comments on the deal from any interested party who have until 10 January 2022 to submit their comments.

In a notice on the CMA site, the regulator said, 'The CMA is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.'

At the same time, Reuters reports that the deal is set to secure unconditional EU antitrust approval. The European Commission is due to decide on the transaction by 21 December 2021. 

Announced in April of this year, Microsoft said the deal is the latest step in its 'industry-specific cloud strategy' and expands existing partnership between the companies that was announced in 2019.

By augmenting the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare with Nuance’s solutions, as well as the benefit of Nuance’s expertise and relationships with EHR systems providers, Microsoft will be better able to empower healthcare providers through the power of ambient clinical intelligence and other Microsoft cloud services.

“Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery and is a pioneer in the real-world application of enterprise AI,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, at the time.

“AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application. Together, with our partner ecosystem, we will put advanced AI solutions into the hands of professionals everywhere to drive better decision-making and create more meaningful connections, as we accelerate growth of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and Nuance.”

On closing, Mark Benjamin will remain CEO of Nuance, reporting to Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Cloud & AI at Microsoft. 

"The path forward is clearly with Microsoft — who brings intelligent cloud-based services at scale and who shares our passion for the ways technology can make a difference," said Benjamin. 

"At the same time, this combination offers a critical opportunity to deliver meaningful and certain value to our shareholders who have driven and supported us on this journey.”

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