Siri software maker Nuance adds Icahn nominees to board

Oct 8 (Reuters) - Nuance Communications Inc, maker of the software that runs the Siri feature on Apple iPhones, appointed two Carl Icahn nominees to its board, just over a month after the activist investor raised his stake in the company to 16.7 percent.

Nuance named Icahn's son Brett and David Schechter as directors, giving Icahn two members on the 11-member board.

"I'm optimistic their impact at NUAN will be similar to HAIN where stock went from $20.20 to $79.56 over the three years they sat on the board," Icahn said in a tweet.

HAIN refers to organic food producer Hain Celestial Group Inc, in which Icahn had a stake until last month.

Icahn, who is known for taking large positions in companies and pushing for management change, has agreed to customary standstill provisions, the company said.

Nuance's shares were down 1 percent at $18.29 on the Nasdaq, suggesting investors don't expect any big changes soon.

Icahn's investment in Nuance comes at a time when the billionaire investor is putting pressure on Apple, a major Nuance customer, to return cash to shareholders.

Icahn, Nuance's biggest shareholder, first revealed an interest in the company in April, disclosing a 9.27 percent stake.

After he raised his stake to 16.03 percent in August, Nuance adopted a stockholder rights plan - or poison pill - to reduce the chance of any investor gaining control.

The Icahn ownership has put a floor on Nuance shares, FBR Capital Markets & Co analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note.

"...Taking on board seats in the company could be the catalyst to move Nuance in a direction that would significantly enhance shareholder value," he said.

Wedbush Securities analyst Shyam Patil told Reuters he expected Icahn's influence to result in more optimal capital allocation, including a slowdown in acquisitions, and a continuation of share buybacks.

Nuance had made about a dozen acquisitions over the past 2-1/2 years.