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Figure Eight to make deal with Appen
Posted on Tuesday, 12 March 2019 14:46
Appen is buying US-based artificial intelligence (AI)-based machine learning software platform, Figure Eight.

Under the terms of the deal, the buyer will pay an upfront sum of USD 175.00 million, with an additional earn-out component of USD 125.00 million to be issued in 2020, dependant on the target’s performance in 2019.

The purchase will combine Appen’s quality and language expertise with Figure Eight’s data annotation platform to help create an end-to-end training data service that will increase the speed and volume of training data used to support machine learning and AI.

Until the end of 2019, the target will continue to operate as an independent division of Appen.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Figure Eight operates a human-in-the-loop machine learning platform that processes text, images, audio and video data into customised training data.

It collects and transcribes data for organisations who use automatic speech organisation, as well as providing vehicles with image and location data for in-car navigation technology.

Most notably, it has developed machine learning-assisted data labelling and video object tracking technology, which claims to create training datasets 50 times faster than human labelling.

The Australia-based buyer is billed as a global leader in developing human-annotated datasets specialising in machine learning and AI.

Appen operates in industries such as technology, retail, healthcare, government and financial services, among others, with more than 1.00 million contractors that work in over 180 languages across 130 countries.

For the financial year ended 31st December 2018, it booked revenue of AUD 364.29 million (USD 256.48 million), up from AUD 166.57 million in the previous 12 months.

Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk, shows there have been 1,347 deals targeting data processing, hosting and related services providers announced worldwide since the beginning of 2019.

The largest of these, and one of three China-based targets in the top ten, involved Zhongnan Commercial agreeing to buy Beijing EasyHome New Retail Chain for CNY 38.30 billion (USD 5.70 billion).

© Zephus Ltd