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Nuance shares rise on news of Icahn stake

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Nuance Communications Inc. rose Tuesday on news that billionaire investor Carl Icahn has accumulated a 9.3 percent stake in the voice-recognition technology company.

THE SPARK: Icahn's interest in Nuance was disclosed in a Monday regulatory filing. Icahn has a history of latching on to companies that he believes have been underpriced by the market.

In some cases Icahn pressures corporate boards to replace management or to take other actions that he believes will drive the stock higher. Other times, Icahn adopts a hands-off policy as he waits for a company's shares to rebound.

Icahn apparently doesn't plan to meddle in Nuance. His stake was disclosed in the form used for passive investments.

THE BIG PICTURE: Burlington, Mass.-based Nuance is best known for creating speech-recognition tools that have helped power Siri, the virtual assistant on Apple Inc.'s iPhone. The technology is also being licensed so other gadgets are able to respond to voice commands as people become more reliant on smartphones and tablets to help manage their lives.

Although Nuance's technology is becoming more influential, its stock has lagged the market. Nuance closed Monday at $20.18 — 35 percent below its all-time high of $31.15 reached nearly 14 months ago.

THE STOCK: Up $1.02, or 5.1 percent, to $21.21 in heavy midday trading after peaking at $21.90 earlier in the session. Over the past 52 weeks the stock has traded between $18 and $26.79.