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Appen and Butler Hill Join Forces

Australian linguistic technology business Appen has joined with the Butler Hill Group as it positions itself to win more international contracts.

The new company, Appen Butler Hill, will have Appen chief executive Bill Pulver as CEO and be based in Sydney.

Founder of Butler Hill, Lisa Braden-Harder, will run the joint company’s North American operations from Connecticut.

Mr Pulver said the merged entity would combine Appen’s skills in speech technology with Butler Hill’s search and text analytic capabilities.

The merged entity claims to have capabilities in 120 languages and a list of clients that includes Microsoft, IBM, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Toshiba and Motorola.

Combining the two companies would make the new entity a strong player in the global language services market, Mr Pulver said.

Venture capitalist Anacacia Capital has a stake in Appen. It has two seats on the board, one occupied by Anacacia managing director Jeremy Samuel.

“Butler Hill is a terrific fit for Appen. Anacacia is delighted to help this great success story continue to expand its global reach,’’ Mr Samuel said.

The deal will double the size of Appen and should help it form closer links with key clients in the US.

Anacacia has been speaking to Butler Hill for over a year and the past two months have been spent in due diligence.

The venture capitalists introduced Mr Pulver to the Appen board in July last year. He was then appointed CEO.

Appen was a former winner of the Prime Minister’s Exporter of the Year Award.

© The Australian Financial Review 2011

© Anacacia Capital Pty Limited