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2/22/2007
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Nuance Moves Deeper Into Mobile Speech By Acquiring BeVocal For $140 Million

BeVocal provides self-service customer care to several wireless carriers, including handset activation and sales and fulfillment of add-on features.

Nuance Communications reported Thursday that it will acquire BeVocal Inc. to beef up its presence in the speech-based mobile phone consumer market. The total consideration for the acquisition will be $140 million, Nuance said.

BeVocal, which provides its self-service customer care to Cingular Wireless, Virgin Mobile, and Liberty Wireless, has targeted its offerings at the mobile market, including handset activation, customer care, as well as sales and fulfillment of add-on features.

"BeVocal's intellectual property, solutions expertise, and established carrier relationships will expand our ability to serve this growing market," said Nuance chairman and CEO Paul Ricci in a statement. "The growth of the mobile industry, coupled with the value of speech as a means of accessing information and services in this environment, presents a great opportunity to expand the presence of Nuance solutions in the mobile market."

BeVocal noted that it addresses the entire mobile phone subscriber lifecycle starting with intelligent offer management and progressing to fulfillment capabilities and activation measures. BeVocal also brings to Nuance additional speech-based services, including a ringtone download store, weather reports, stock quotes, sports scores, and wake-up calls.

While Nuance's business is focused more on core technologies, BeVocal's business has traditionally been targeted more at products and services. Nuance said the acquisition will help it eliminate the deployment of custom services while creating more opportunities to expand speech solutions for specific markets.

Nuance also cited the value of the BeVocal Caf, an Internet-based environment of tools and resources aimed at helping developers create new speech-based applications for telephones.

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