Spinvox in sale talks

SPINVOX, the speech-recognition technology firm, is reportedly close to accepting a $150m (£92m) takeover offer from an American rival.

Nuance Communications, which is Nasdaq listed, is rumoured to be in talks with the company, which has been dogged by allegations of financial mismanagement and claims its technology is not up to scratch.

A sale of the business, which turns voicemails into text, puts the future of its founders in question.
Christina Domecq, part of the famous sherry family, started up the company along with Daniel Doulton in 2003.

She has since come under scrutiny after shareholders were sent an anonymous dossier of allegations about the way the company was run.

The company was also forced to reveal that staff in overseas call centres were transcribing voicemail messages. Domecq claimed Spinvox was the victim of a smear campaign, and an internal inquiry by Deloitte, the accountant, and Jones Day, did not uncover any wrongdoing.

Goldman Sachs, Carphone Warehouse and Peter Wood, the Esure insurance tycoon, were among the early backers of the business.

Spinvox has since eaten through £100m of backers’ money and had to secure a £30m bridging loan this summer. The loan was due to be repaid next week, but has been rolled over to January.

It is not known whether Spinvox’s current shareholders, including hedge fund GLG Partners, and Martin Hughes, the boss of Toscafund Asset Management, will make a profit from a sale of the company.