A game of two halves…

A game of two halves… If you haven’t come across the news yet: it’s official, Philips sold its remaining 2.5 percent stake in Nuance Communications Inc. for $83 million (€60 million) last Thursday, considering that the American giant, which sells automated telephone answering systems, was not part of its core holdings. In a previous press release, Philips had indeed announced the reorganization of the company into three business units corresponding to its core holdings – healthcare, consumer lifestyle and lighting – while projecting that it would double share value by 2010 by concentrating on these core markets.

Philips is expecting a gain of $41 million (€30 million) for the third quarter off the sale of its 4.6 million shares in Nuance.

A bit of history

  • Philips had acquired shares in Nuance during Nuance’s 2005 acquisition of ScanSoft, the maker of Dragon Naturally Speaking.
  • Scansoft had in turn acquired the Philips Speech Processing Telephony and Voice Control business units, and related intellectual property back in 2002. This had allowed ScanSoft to strengthen their leadership in the ASR (automatic speech recognition) and telephony markets. It was however clearly stated at the time that “the Philips Speech Processing Dictation business was not part of the transaction and would remain within Philips to develop applications for its medical businesses and other professions in the fields of hardware and software dictation systems.” A strategic direction that has proved successful for Philips eversince.
  • For those interested, the full Nuance/ScanSoft history is detailed on Wikipedia.

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