nuance_logo_2010.jpg Nuance Communications, Inc. (news, site) continues to consolidate its position in their imaging and voice recognition technologies space, this time with the announcement that it is to buy Equitrac for US$ 157 million in a cash deal that is expected to close in September -- and put an end to speculation that Apple might be looking to buy Nuance in turn. The company is strongest in the healthcare sector where they provide document scanning, document management, OCR and forms processing solutions.

Nuance and Apple

It’s been well reported over the past few weeks that Apple was in discussions with Nuance with some speculating that the talks concerned a buyout, but with Nuance’s market cap estimated to be about US$ 6 billion now it seems more likely that the discussions are more about license deals around its voice technology than anything else.

If fact, the Equitrac  (news, site) deal just about throws that out the window, and sees Nuance continue to build a spot in the sun, particularly in the healthcare, enterprise and financial software space, with the healthcare business segment alone growing 13% in the last quarter, where it made profits of close to US$ 2 million, as opposed to losses of US$ 15.4 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

Nuance and Equitrac Good Together?

The purchase of Equitrac will fit well with Nuance’s portfolio of recent acquisitions as well as fitting in with its existing products, and strengthens its global channel network considerably with MFP vendors including Canon, Xerox, Ricoh and HP, among others, all of whom sell both Equitrac print management software and Nuance eCopy scanning.

With it, Nuance expands it document imaging portfolio by adding print management to eCopyShareScan scanning and workflow software, as well as to OmniPage, PaperPort and PDF Converter Professional desktop applications.

With the added technology, users will be able to send print commands from their desktops anywhere across the enterprise and using a swipe card, or other form of identification, have those documents printed out on-demand.

Explaining the acquisition Robert Weideman, VP at Nuance Document Imaging Division said:

Equitrac delivers proven value in healthcare, financial, legal and educational organizations, and provides secure print capabilities to desktop and mobile global office workers. This complements Nuance’s strengths in mobile and office productivity, and aligns well to Nuance’s key verticals, especially healthcare.”

Nuance's Acquisitions

The transaction is expected to close in September and expected to add between US$ 58 million and US $60 million in non-GAAP revenue to the company. Nuance reported quarterly profit of US$ 1.54 million in March 2011 on revenue of $319 million.

Nuance has been busy on the acquisition trail for the past 18 months with purchases like the February 2010 buy of MacSpeech, a provider of speech-to-text software for Macintosh, its acquisition last year the UK’s British voice-to-text company SpinVox, and of course copy, also bought last October. Just about certain there's more to come here.