Looks like Nuance has been up to more than just updating its myriad applications. The company has announced that it will acquire San Jose-based Ditech Networks for $1.45 per share, which works out to a net total of $22.5 million. While the boards of both companies have signed off on the transaction, the deal isn’t expected to close until later this year.
I can’t blame you if Ditech Networks hasn’t popped up on your radar before — the company deals mostly with voice processing technology used by wireline service providers and mobile carriers, and counts AT&T, Verizon, Sprint/Nextel, and China Unicom among its larger clients. It may not be the most compelling company you’ll hear about all day, but Nuance would probably beg to differ.
It seemed that Nuance was after two parts of Ditech’s portfolio in particular — the company’s PhoneTag voice-to-text service and its voice quality assurance tech. If Nuance’s release is any indication, the company seems to value the former just a bit more because of the highly “messaging-centric” nature of modern communications. According to Nuance Mobile VP John Pollard, Nuance and its carrier partners have worked to embrace voice recognition, as seen in the company’s “voicemail to text and call completion businesses, where billions of calls are converted into easily read text and email messages.”
While PhoneTag (and its customers) seem like a natural fit for Nuance, voice quality assurance is more of a network play geared toward improving the quality of calls by adjusting echo and reducing background noise in real time. At this point, it’s unclear how exactly Nuance plans into integrate that particular bit into its own (considerable) product base. I’ve reached out to representatives from both Nuance and Ditech, and will update once I learn more.