Activist investor Carl Icahn buys into Burlington’s Nuance

Activist investor Carl Icahn has bought a 9.3 percent stake in the Burlington speech recognition company Nuance Communications Inc., according to a regulatory filing from the company.

Nuance shares were up 6.10 percent to $21.39 in midday trading on news of Icahn’s stock purchases. The investor has a history of acquiring large stakes in companies he deems have underperformed, and then pressuring management to restructure or even sell the business outright. Among his past targets are local biotechnology companies Biogen Idec Inc. and Gynzyme.

Lately he has bid to buy out struggling computermaker Dell and has a big stake in the online streaming company Netflix Inc.

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Earlier this year, Nuance lowered its sales and earning forecast because of a weakening market for medical speech recognition technology. The company is best known for its Dragon speech software and for providing the technology that powers the Siri virtual assistant on Apple’s iPhone.