Troubled SpinVox at centre of American interest

Simon Evans
Sunday 30 August 2009 00:00 BST

SpinVox, the UK's troubled voice-to-text technology group, is being eyed by Nuance, an American speech-recognition software group.

Nuance is believed to be considering a possible tilt for SpinVox, although it's thought any offer is still some distance away.

Nuance, based in Burlington, Massachusetts, is believed to be one of a number of US firms looking at SpinVox, whose service converts mobile phone voicemails into text. Its chief executive, Christina Domecq, recently tapped shareholders for emergency cash. The hedge fund GLG and Martin Hughes, the founder of the hedge fund Toscafund, are both thought to have helped with the £15m call.

According to accounts filed at Companies House, SpinVox lost £49m during 2008, 30 per cent worse than in 2007.

The group's key social media strategist, James Whatley, quit the firm earlier this month amid claims of financial mismanagement and a reliance on call centres at the group.

Bloggers have waged war against SpinVox claiming that the company primarily uses people rather than software to convert voice to text.

Responding to the claims, Ms Domecq recently said that "the majority of calls are fully automated". A spokesman for Nuance declined to comment on "rumour or speculation".

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