Carl Icahn, controversial activist investor, has reportedly purchased a 9.3 percent stake in Nuance Communications Inc., the Burlington speech recognition company, according to the company’s regulatory filing.
Nuance shares were up 6.10 percent to $21.39 in midday trading after breaking news of Icahn’s stock purchase. Icahn has a history of acquiring large stakes in companies he deems have historically underperformed, and then pressuring management to restructure or even sell the business outright. Among his past targets are local biotechnology companies Gynzyme and Biogen Idec Inc.
Labeled by critics as a corporate raider, Icahn has recently bid to buy out struggling computer maker Dell as well as securing a large stake in the troubled online streaming company Netflix Inc.
Investors will note that earlier this year, Nuance lowered its sales and earning forecast because of a weakening market for medical speech recognition technology. The company is best known for its Dragon Naturally Speaking speech recognition software in addition to providing the technology that powers the Siri virtual assistant on Apple’s iPhone powerhouse.
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