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SpeechWorks Offers $12.2M For L&H Divisions

If the bid is approved by a bankruptcy judge, an auction will be held to take counterbids on the assets.

InformationWeek Staff

October 22, 2001

1 Min Read

SpeechWorks International Inc. has offered $12.2 million to buy two of bankrupt Belgian company Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products N.V.'s eight speech-technology divisions.

If the bid is approved by a bankruptcy judge, an auction will be held for counterbidders to vie for the two divisions. Lernout & Hauspie has about a dozen suitors, a spokeswoman says, but none has made an official offer. An auction date could be set by the end of this week, she adds.

SpeechWorks representatives say they're prepared to set up an office in Belgium and provide service to Lernout & Hauspie customers in the surrounding area. Winning the auction could also boost SpeechWorks' market share and customer base, Meta Group analyst Earl Perkins says. Lernout & Hauspie's solid technology and pre-installed customer base could help SpeechWorks compete with Nuance Communications, the market-share leader. But Perkins adds: "The question is, do they SpeechWorks have the expertise to take what they buy and turn it into a product they can get out on the street quickly?"

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