Spinvox in play for 100m British pounds as suitors circle

Speculation is mounting that the Speech-to-Text developer Spinvox is about to be sold for around £100 million. Companies strongly rumoured to be interested in bidding for the UK-based firm include Skype and Nuance Communications, although the latter is thought to be the leading contender.

Spinvox is reported to be under increasing pressure to repay a £30 million loan from one investor who has now extended the loan period until the end of January to keep the company afloat until the acquisition has been finalised.

While Spinvox's Speech-to-Text technology recently attracted negative press due to accusations that voice messages were being translated into text by Indian call-centre workers, the real value of the company could be due to the database of 100 million mobile customers that use the Spinvox service. The company has also struck deals with some of the biggest mobile operators in the world including Telefonica and Telstra is South America and Australia.

The financial records for Spinvox do not make easy reading, made more difficult given that the company has also been accused in the past of being less than accurate with money matters. However, the firm is reported to have made a loss of £47 million in 2007, but has delayed the publication of its 2008 accounts. It is currently projecting earnings of £7 million next year and £30 million in 2011.

While neither Skype nor Nuance have commented on the possible acquisition, Nuance recently held a career day at which 'talented mobile tech professionals' were invited to join a 'world class team' in Marlow, where Spinvox is based.

For more on this story:
Eweek Europe and The Inquirer

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