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Westlaw News

Latest Microsoft megadeal ropes in Simpson Thacher, Paul Weiss and Kirkland

Microsoft’s M&A appetite is keeping Simpson Thacher & Bartlett lawyers busy again.

The software giant announced Monday that it will buy healthcare artificial intelligence platform Nuance, which is being represented by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Nuance’s financial advisor Evercore is being represented by Kirkland & Ellis.

The $16 billion deal - which the companies valued at $19.7 billion including debt, deepens Microsoft’s years-long relationship with Simpson Thacher, which also advised on the tech company’s acquisitions of ZeniMax Media, GitHub and LinkedIn.

Simpson Thacher M&A partners Alan Klein, Anthony Vernace and William Allen led the firm’s transaction team. The New York City-based trio also advised Microsoft in its $7.5 billion purchases of ZeniMax and Github, and its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn.

The deal with Nuance would be Microsoft’s second-biggest deal, after its purchase of LinkedIn in 2016. It comes after the companies partnered in 2019 to automate clinical administrative work such as documentation and as Microsoft tries to extend its leadership in vertical cloud solutions in major industries including healthcare.

Nuance tapped a Paul Weiss team led by M&A partners Scott Barshay, Steven Williams and Rachael Coffey. Williams and Barshay also represented Nuance in its 2019 spin-off of automotive software business Cerence and in the $400 million document sale of its imaging division to Kofax.

The Kirkland & Ellis team representing Nuance’s financial advisor Evercore is led by corporate partners Michael Brueck, Joshua Ayal and Daniel Wolf. Counsel information for Goldman Sachs, which served as financial advisor to Microsoft, was not immediately available.

Nuance, known for pioneering speech technology and helping launch Apple Inc’s assistant Siri, has been doubling down on healthcare and enterprise AI. The company has spun off and sold a number of less profitable business units. With operations in 28 countries, the Burlington, Massachusetts-based company reported $1.5 billion in revenue in fiscal-year 2020.

The deal is expected to close later this year.

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