EXCLUSIVE Microsoft to win EU antitrust deal for $ 16 billion Nuance deal, sources say

A Microsoft logo is seen in Los Angeles, California, the United States, on November 7, 2017. REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson / File Photo / File Photo

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BRUSSELS, Dec. 10 (Reuters) – US software giant Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) is set to secure unconditional EU antitrust approval for its $ 16 billion bid for the artificial intelligence company and voice technology company Nuance Communications Inc. (NUAN.O), three people familiar with the case said.

The deal, the latest in the tech industry and the second-largest for Microsoft after its $ 26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn in 2016, follows increased regulatory scrutiny of “murderous acquisitions,” whereby tech giants shut down nascent start-ups and potential rivals after buying them.

Microsoft announced in April the deal that will strengthen its presence in cloud solutions for healthcare customers in an industry where demand has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

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Nuance, known for pioneering voice technology and helping launch Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) virtual assistant, Siri, serves 77% of US hospitals.

The US software giant is in talks with the UK antitrust agency before filing a request for approval of the deal, the sources said.

The European Commission, which is due to vote on the deal by Dec. 21, declined to comment, as did Microsoft.

The company is also in preliminary talks with UK antitrust agency CMA ahead of a formal request to approve the deal, the sources said.

A spokesperson for the CMA said it was not speculating on which cases it would investigate in the future. Its website does not list the Microsoft agreement as the one it is reviewing.

The deal has already received regulatory approval in the United States and Australia, without appeal.

In recent months, tech companies have stepped up their acquisitions of AI-driven businesses in an attempt to stay ahead of their competition and as more companies incorporate this technology into their products and services.

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Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, additional reporting by Paresh Dave in San Francisco and Kate Holton in London; edited by Jason Neely and Barbara Lewis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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