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More SpinVox Reports: Nuance Sell-Off Nearing?

When paidContent:UK opened up the story of SpinVox’s financial turmoil this summer, the ensuing vortex of negativity that surrounded the voice-to-text company suggested something had to be done.

Investors began considering SpinVox’s intellectual property may have value of its own, and some staff, raising talk of a sell-off, began hoping Cisco (NSDQ: CSCO), a SpinVox enterprise client, would make an offer. Independent.co.uk said speech-rec rival Nuance was taking a look. And one investor put the kibosh on SpinVox’s hopes of conducting all this privately by confirming the company was on the block.

Now The Sunday Times says a $150 million sale to Nuance could be completed before Christmas. There’s no sourcing or attribution, so this could be your typical trial balloon of a Sunday business story, but Times says with some certainty that the deadline for repayment of a £30 million bridging loan “has been rolled over to January to allow the takeover to be completed”.

CEO Christina Domecq told paidContent:UK this summer, when SpinVox paid most of its staff in stock rather than cash, that company finances had been hit by the economy and its global expansion. Shareholders were passed an anonymous dossier claiming company funds were spent inappropriately. Times: “It is expected that Nuance, based in Burlington, Massachusetts, will ask co-founder Daniel Doulton to stay on. The future of his partner Christina Domecq is less clear..”

Some things we do know…

— SpinVox last week filed Companies House documents confirming the appointment of its first finance chief in 15 months.

— On July 20, Domecq told paidContent:UK SpinVox would be turn cashflow- and EBITDA-positive with the launch of a Latin America service within 90 days. 146 days have now elapsed but, when we asked on November 20, SpinVox declined to say whether it had turned the corner to profitability.

9 Responses to “More SpinVox Reports: Nuance Sell-Off Nearing?”

  1. Techinvestor678

    There is no way that Nuance should be buying this outfit for that sort of value. It’s a fire sale folks and £90M is way way too much for a company like this that’s on the backfoot with nowhere to turn and investors that have lost patience. Come on Nuance, I can’t see anyone else wanting this sinking ship so let’s see a real deal being done here!

  2. CarCrashCapitalism

    I wonder if the investors have managed to find out how much of their money was siphoned off on to the CEO’s other pet projects like Zaptag?

    Nuance are getting a good deal – if they keep the people – but I am betting that a lot are walking out the door to make sure their “shares” are cashed back to salary before its too late.

  3. skeptical

    Count me as skeptical re: the $150 million figure. Nuance is a publicly traded company, so we’ll evenutally see the purchase price. I hope the employees get reimbursed after seemlingly being pressured (directly or indirectly) to take stock in leiu of cash salary. I wonder also about how the company was able to downsize so dramatically without following the group redundancy laws. Also the hundred or so millions of lost investment in the midst of all that hype. All adds up to a hornet’s nest of legal disputes that Nuance will be grabbing onto, it would seem. Seems like the kind of mess that Christina Domecq left behind in Westchester, NY with her previous spectacular big fail at New Horizons.

  4. johnlocke7

    Why Nuance? Why? There is no IP and a tarnished brand. I know you think you think you’re buying a stepping stone into international accounts — but it will be awful.

  5. connor sweetman

    SpinVox is selling every message text they ever converted as well as the telephone numbers of the sender and receiver. They never deleted them. Even demo ones from Vodafone, Telstra, SaskTel and Verizon executives and other decision makers as well as every one from all their current customers and end users. Nuance wants all the voice mails messages and the converted messages along with the telephone numbers. Aren’t these private and shouldn’t these be deleted?