Audience shares rise on China Mobile deal

Shares of Audience get a boost from news of partnership with China Mobile

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Audience Inc. rose Wednesday, amid a largely down market, after the voice technology company announced a partnership with China Mobile.

THE SPARK: As part of the deal, Audience will help China Mobile, the world's biggest phone carrier by number of subscribers, improve voice recognition technology in its upcoming line of smartphones.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

THE BIG PICTURE: Audience, based in Mountain View, Calif., sells voice technology for a variety of smartphones and tablet computers, including devices made by Google Inc. and its Motorola Mobility subsidiary.

Like other suppliers of mobile device components, Audience continues to benefit from the continued increase in global demand for mobile devices.

THE ANALYSIS: Benchmark analyst Gary Mobley initiated coverage of Audience with a "Hold" rating and $15 price target, saying that while the company is poised to succeed, its shares are a little too expensive right now.

"Despite strong market growth prospects and superior voice and audio processing technology, we are waiting for a more opportune time before carrying a 'Buy' rating," Mobley wrote in a note to investors.

The analyst noted that Audience shares have more than doubled since the company's September announcement that its technology would not be used in the iPhone 5. In the months since, the stock has gotten a boost from higher demand from other smartphone makers and the strong launch of the Samsung Galaxy S IV.

THE SHARES: Up 39 cents, or 3 percent, to $13.99 after peaking at $14.59 earlier in the day. Over the past 52 weeks, the company's shares have traded between $5.51 and $23.41.

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