Microsoft Corp. is in advanced talks to buy artificial intelligence and speech technology company Nuance Communications Inc. at about $16 billion, Bloomberg News reported on Sunday.

Post acquisition, Nuance's CEO, Mark Benjamin, will stay with the company. This will be Microsoft's second-biggest acquisition deal ever, after its purchase of Linkedin for $24 billion in 2016.

Nuance’s transcription tools would fit into Microsoft’s offerings for business and governments.

"Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement, adding "AI is technology's most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application."

Notably, it was Nuance which helped launch Apple Inc's assistant Siri and also makes software for businesses including the automotive sector.

Nuance partnered with Microsoft in 2019 to automate clinical administrative work such as documentation, gain from a boom in telehealth services with medical consultations shifting online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Microsoft has recently acquired gaming company ZeniMax Media.

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