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UK Clears Microsoft’s $19.7B Nuance Acquisition

 |  March 2, 2022

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced this Wednesday its decision to clear Microsoft’s planned acquisition of artificial intelligence company Nuance Communications.

Although the CMA found that Nuance holds a “strong position in the supply of healthcare transcription software”, the watchdog found no reason for concern regarding competition in this sector following the proposed merger.

The competition regulator said it is not referring the merger to a Phase 2 investigation under the provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002. “Based on the available evidence, the CMA does not believe that the Merged Entity would have the ability to foreclose Microsoft’s rivals.”

“In particular, the CMA considers that the Merged Entity would not be able to foreclose rivals by bundling patient administration tools, patient engagement tools, or remote healthcare tools with healthcare transcription software”, it added.

It ultimately said that the combined offering of the two companies was unlikely to cause a “substantial lessening of competition in the UK in relation to conglomerate effects”, and would not be taking the investigation any further. The UK follows both the European Union and the United States competition authorities in clearing the deal.

Health transcription services are a mainstay of modern medical practice, taking health providers’ voice recordings and transcribing them into written – often electronic – formats. Such records are increasingly required for compliance, research, and other purposes, making this an attractive area for Artificial Intelligence developers such as Nuance.

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