The European Union has given its official approval to what promises to be one of the largest transactions in the burgeoning telemedicine sector. Microsoft will have the EU's blessing as it presses forward with its acquisition of conversational AI and cloud computing company Nuance Communications. Considering the thorough and powerful nature of the bloc's antitrust authority, it is fully confident no competition concerns should arise from the $19.7 billion buyout. The European Commission made this determination and therefore "cleared the case unconditionally," according to an official statement.
This greenlighting comes as the EU readies new rules placing harsher constraints on the reach and ability afforded to tech giants as they seek to buy out their rivals.
The buyout adds on to a well-established partnership between Microsoft and Nuance. Since 2019, the companies have worked together in telemedicine. As COVID-19 lockdowns exploded the sector's relevance and growth, this collaboration flourished through its physician-patient interaction solutions. As it stands currently, Nuance's technology is employed widely in medical record processes in addition to playing a key role in the systems of more than three-quarters of U.S. hospitals.
The EU's clearance of the deal follows a publicly announced investigation from British antitrust regulators earlier in December. The Competition and Markets Authority conducted an evaluation based on concerns that Microsoft's landmark transaction could lead to a "substantial lessening of competition" in the U.K. market.