Microsoft closes on $16 billion acquisition of Nuance

Microsoft has closed on its approximately $16 billion acquisition of speech recognition company Nuance.

The deal, which was announced last year, helps Microsoft Corp. get more entrenched into hospitals and the health care industry through Nuance’s widely used medical dictation and transcription tools.

Nuance Communications Inc. has been a pioneer in voice-based artificial intelligence technology and was instrumental in helping to power Apple’s digital assistant Siri. The Burlington, Massachusetts-based company has since shifted its focus to health care.

“This powerful combination will help providers offer more affordable, effective and accessible healthcare, and help organizations in every industry create more personalized and meaningful customer experiences,” Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Cloud + AI Group at Microsoft, said in a statement today.

The transaction has been under scrutiny by British antitrust regulators, who opened up an investigation into the deal in December because of concerns that it could result in a “substantial lessening of competition” in the U.K. market.

Microsoft continued to shop this year, in January announced that it would spend $70 billion to acquire video game maker Activision Blizzard.

Mark Benjamin will continue to serve as CEO of Nuance, Burlington, Mass., and report to Guthrie.

Shares of Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, declined slightly amid a broader market sell-off Friday.