UBS and Credit Suisse are launching syndication of a $430 million senior secured deal for Nuance Communications this week. The financing comprises a seven-year, $355 million term loan and a six-year, $75 million revolver. The transaction is set to launch at a bank meeting this Tuesday. Pricing could not be determined.
Nuance is using the loans to fund its $357 million acquisition of Dictaphone Corp., a voice recognition service, which allows users to avoid manual transcription of data. The acquisition was agreed upon Feb. 8 and the deal is expected to close no later than March 31. One investor was not surprised about the transaction. "Back in January, before this was announced, [Dictaphone] sold off their EMS (Electronic Manufacturing Services) business (to Bulova Technologies)," he said. "They said that they were trying to focus on their more core business. That may actually be a part of it, but they were looking for business stability [with that sale.]"
Dictaphone has been a private company since late March 2002 when it reorganized and emerged from its former parent company Lernout & Hauspie's bankruptcy. At that time, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the ratings on Dictaphone's senior subordinated notes from B3 to Ca. On Nov. 30, 2002, three days after the downgrade, Lernout & Hauspie filed for Chapter 11 protection.
Based in Burlington, Mass., Nuance Communications is one of the industry's leading providers of speech and imaging technology. Calls to James Arnold, senior v.p. and cfo at Nuance, and bankers at UBS and CS, were not returned.