L&H eyes growing Asia market; Dragon acquisition firms up

L&H expects Dragon acquisition to close in coming weeks; appoints Mr. Noboru Adachi President of L&H Japan.
Written by vicng , Contributor
L&H expects Dragon acquisition to close in coming weeks; appoints Mr. Noboru Adachi President of L&H Japan.

21 May 2000 -- Lernout & Hauspie (NASDAQ: LHSP, EASDAQ: LHSP) (L&H) announced today that the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) waiting period related to its acquisition of Dragon Systems, Inc. expired 19 May 2000. Subject to Dragon shareholder approval, L&H can begin closing the transaction, which it expects will be completed in the coming weeks.

L&H announced on 28 March that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Dragon Systems of Newton, Mass., a privately held leader in speech and language technology. The acquisition required a pre-merger notification filing under the HSR Act, which imposes a thirty-day post-filing waiting period during which a transaction may not be completed.

The waiting period may be extended if the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or Department of Justice (DOJ) issues a request for additional information. On 19 April, L&H and Dragon filed HSR notification and report forms with the FTC and DOJ.

The waiting period has expired without a request for additional information.

L&H believes the acquisition of Dragon will allow it to combine the best of both companies' technologies to drive the use of speech and language in emerging and mainstream markets.

In particular, L&H expects to accelerate its pursuit of strategic market opportunities in areas such as handheld and mobile devices, automotive, wireless application protocol (WAP), data mining, and others. It also expects to step up development of speech and language applications in key markets such as telephony and healthcare and to broaden its international speech offerings.

Dragon wins Chinese and Japanese markets
"The overwhelmingly positive response to our recent introduction of Dragon NaturallySpeaking into the Chinese and the Japanese market is evidence of the ever increasing worldwide demand for solutions that can simplify everyday tasks using speech," said Dr. Janet M. Baker, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of Dragon Systems.

"By pooling L&H's and Dragon's rich resources we create the means to bring sophisticated speech and language technologies and products to an even wider customer base, at a much quicker pace than in the past."

"The demand for speech and language solutions has expanded to include more users worldwide and a much broader range of appliances than before," said Gaston Bastiaens, president and CEO of L&H. "The integration of our company's resources with those of Dragon will help us accelerate delivery of mainstream market solutions such as NAK (code name) our prototype handheld device.

"It should also speed development of speech for areas that include mobile devices, smart phones, wireless communications for the Internet and e-commerce, intelligent search engines and audio mining solutions."

L&H appoints president for Japan office
L&H also announced today that it has appointed Mr. Noboru Adachi as president of L&H Japan.

Mr. Adachi, a long-time executive of Mirubeni Corporation of Japan, has extensive experience in international markets and in Japan. He will report to Dr. Louis Woo, president of L&H Asia Pacific.

Mr. Adachi will help lead the company in its strategy to further build market presence in Japan and in Asia overall by increasing emphasis on development of new products and technologies for the Japanese market -- particularly for telephony and embedded applications.

Such development efforts include Dragon NaturallySpeaking products (subject to completion of the acquisition), Internet translation offerings, and the award winning L&H RealSpeak text-to-speech engine for telephony.

These efforts are also expected to help L&H increase its already significant customer base in Japan, which currently includes NEC, Hitachi, Sega, Pioneer, Alpine, Fuji-Xerox, Seiko and others. Dragon Systems customers in Japan include Sony and Fujitsu.

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