The boards of RWS and SDL announced they “have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended all-share merger of RWS and SDL,” in a deal that sees RWS buy SDL outright. The transaction values SDL shares at a 52% premium over SDL’s most recent share price. SDL shareholders will own approximately 29.5% of the combined group, with RWS shareholders owning 70.5%. The SDL brand will disappear, and all SDL units rebranded as RWS over time. The combined company will remain listed on London’s AIM market and keep its HQ in Chalfont St Peter (UK). The deal is expected to be completed in Q4 2020, and RWS said they expect the transaction to result in double-digit earnings per share accretion. With pro forma FY2019 revenues of GBP 732m (USD 967m) and adjusted operating profit of GBP 116m, the combined organization will become the largest language service provider by revenue.
RWS emphasized the two businesses’ highly complementary nature as well as combining its services business with SDL’s proprietary technology and translation workflow software as key drivers of the deal. RWS said that after consulting with SDL management they expect at least GBP 15m in annualized cost savings from the deal. Andrew Brode, Chairman of RWS, will become Chairman of the Board of the Combined Group. Richard Thompson, CEO of RWS, will become CEO of the Combined Group. Desmond Glass, CFO of RWS, will become CFO of the Combined Group. From SDL, Azad Ootam, CTO of SDL, will become CTO of the Combined Group. Current SDL CEO Adolfo Hernandez and SDL CFO Xenia Walters will leave the company, but RWS said they “will enter into a new service or consultancy agreement with RWS.”
Yext, Inc. announced “Milky Way,” the latest upgrade to the natural language processing (NLP) algorithm that powers Yext Answers, Yext‘s site search product. Headlining this milestone update is the adoption of BERT, (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers). Developed by Google, BERT is an open source machine learning framework for NLP designed to better understand user searches. By leveraging BERT within Named Entity Recognition (a process to locate and classify named entities mentioned in unstructured text into predefined categories), Yext Answers improves its ability to distinguish locations from other types of entities, including people, jobs, and events. The update includes:
- Improved Named Entity Recognition: By leveraging BERT, Yext Answers can now better understand the contextual relationship between search terms. Answers will return a more relevant result by taking into account the correct classification, whether a location, person or product.
- Improved Location Detection: The update leaves behind location biasing. Now, Yext Answers will filter through locations stored by a business in their Yext knowledge graph to surface the best match.
- Updated Healthcare Taxonomy: More than 3,000 new healthcare-related synonyms, conditions, treatments, and procedures have been added to the algorithm’s taxonomy.
- Improved Stemming and Typo Tolerance.
Connatix announced the launch of a proprietary Video Insights Engine. This new capability will leverage advanced machine learning to automatically analyze the visuals and audio within a publisher’s video content to help bring greater efficiency to editorial workflows with automatic video indexing, derive new insights from content performance, and help scale contextual offerings. The Video Insights Engine is available in Elements, their online video platform (OVP) for publishers. The Video Insights Engine is a result of last year’s acquisition and integration of Kamidoo, a company that specializes in natural language processing, and is the first installment of the technology within the Elements platform. Connatix uses its proprietary technology with natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to identify:
- Content categories: Automatically assigns categories and sub-categories to video content.
- Detects brands and companies: Recognizes brands and companies mentioned and/or detected in videos.
- Flags mentions of famous individuals.
- Determines sentiment of video content: Provides a breakout of the positive, negative, and neutral emotions detected in videos.
This automatic video indexing and categorization technology comes as a complementary offering to Connatix’s contextual page analysis capabilities.
Microsoft announced the general availability of Immersive Reader and new improvements to Azure Cognitive Services. Immersive Reader is an Azure Cognitive Service within the Azure AI platform that helps readers read and comprehend text. Through today’s general availability, developers and partners can add Immersive Reader right into their products, enabling students of all abilities to translate in over 70 languages, read text aloud, focus attention through highlighting, other design elements, and more. With the general availability of Immersive Reader, we are also rolling out the following enhancements:
- Immersive Reader SDK 1.1: Updates include support to have a page read aloud automatically, pre-translating content, and more.
- New Neural Text-to-Speech (TTS) languages: Immersive Reader is adding 15 new Neural Text to Speech voices.
- New Translator languages: Translator is adding five new languages that will also be available in Immersive Reader—Odia, Kurdish (Northern), Kurdish (Central), Pashto, and Dari.
With Immersive Reader, all it takes is a single API call to help users boost literacy. Learn more at:
ConsenSys, a blockchain software company, announced the acquisition of Quorum, an enterprise variant of the Ethereum blockchain developed by J.P. Morgan. With the addition of Quorum, ConsenSys now offers a full range of products, services, and support for Quorum, accelerating the availability of features and capabilities—such as digital asset functionality and document management. ConsenSys will merge its existing protocol engineering roadmap with Quorum, leveraging the best of both codebases. All Enterprise Ethereum protocol technology at ConsenSys will fall under the ConsenSys Quorum brand, and developers will have the option to choose their underlying technology stack. Quorum will remain open source and become interoperable with ConsenSys’ other leading blockchain products, such as Codefi’s finance and commerce application suite. J.P. Morgan will be a customer of ConsenSys’ advanced features and services deployed on Quorum.
J.P. Morgan and ConsenSys have a history of collaboration after leading the creation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, helping bring a Mainnet Ethereum client, Hyperledger Besu, to The Linux Foundation, and working together on industry applications built on Quorum, such as komgo and Covantis. Since the launch of Quorum in 2016, ConsenSys and J.P. Morgan have collaborated to make Ethereum the platform for enterprises building secure and customizable business networks. In addition to ConsenSys’ acquisition of Quorum, J.P. Morgan made a strategic investment in ConsenSys.