Microsoft has confirmed it plans to acquire AI computer software company, Nuance Communications, in a deal worth about £14.3billion ($19.7 billion).

Nuance’s products include Dragon Ambient eXperience, Dragon Medical One and PowerScribe One for radiology reporting. The proposed acquisition follows Nuance and Microsoft announcing in 2019 they were partnering to help speed up the delivery of ambient clinical intelligence (ACI) technologies and reduce clinical burnout.

Microsoft said the acquisition was valued at £14.3billion ($19.7 billion) and was inclusive of Nuance’s net debt.

Mark Benjamin will remain CEO of Nuance, reporting to Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Cloud and AI at Microsoft. The deal is expected to be closed by this calendar year.

Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft, said: “Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery and is a pioneer in the real-world application of enterprise AI.

“AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application. Together, with our partner ecosystem, we will put advanced AI solutions into the hands of professionals everywhere to drive better decision-making and create more meaningful connections, as we accelerate growth of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and Nuance.”

Microsoft said the deal would mean it would be “better able to empower healthcare providers through the power of ambient clinical intelligence and other Microsoft cloud services” and will double its total addressable market in the healthcare provider space.

The deal has been approved by the boards of directors of both Nuance and Microsoft and is subject to approval by Nuance’s shareholders, the satisfaction of certain regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions.

Mark Benjamin, CEO of Nuance, added: “Over the past three years, Nuance has streamlined its portfolio to focus on the healthcare and enterprise AI segments, where there has been accelerated demand for advanced conversational AI and ambient solutions.

“To seize this opportunity, we need the right platform to bring focus and global scale to our customers and partners to enable more personal, affordable and effective connections to people and care. The path forward is clearly with Microsoft —  who brings intelligent cloud-based services at scale and who shares our passion for the ways technology can make a difference.

“At the same time, this combination offers a critical opportunity to deliver meaningful and certain value to our shareholders who have driven and supported us on this journey.”