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Why the Appen Ltd share price is going nuts

The Appen Ltd (ASX: APX) share price gained another 6.35 per cent on Thursday as the tech company continues to provide shareholders with solid gains. 

The Appen share price has seen shareholders collect returns exceeding 200 per cent over the past year and is showing little sign of slowing. 

The company, which develops human-annotated data sets for machine learning and artificial intelligence, is continuing to expand and announced on Thursday that it had completed its acquisition of Leapforce Inc and Raterlabs Inc. 

California-based Leapforce, founded in 2008, and Raterlabs Inc facilitate working from home services that seek to evaluate search engine results.   

Leapforce specialises in “search relevance with a highly automated, proprietary end-to-end technology platform”, according to Appen. 

Appen expects the $105.3 million acquisition will add “scale and scope” to Appen’s plans to have a bigger impact on the growing artificial intelligence market. 

Appen also stated that Leapforce is expected to generate US$58 million in revenue and US$13.6 million in EBITDA in 2017. 

Appen said the deal will establish it as the “world’sleading provider of search relevance services”. 

The acquisition is also expected to be at least 35% EPS accretive on an underlying basis, “before synergies, expensed transaction costs and share based payments”, according to Appen. 

Appen was not the only ASX company with a hand in artificial intelligence (AI) to see its share price rise on Thursday. 

The Bigtincan Holdings Ltd (ASX: BTH) share price was up more than 13 per cent amid the company’s announcement that it had struck an agreement with Verizon Communications. 

Bigtincan said it had signed a multi-year agreement in which Verizon agreed to resell Bigtincan Hub to its US customers. 

Bigtincan Hub is the company’s “AI-powered sales enablement platform” that allows sales representatives “to more effectively engage with customers and prospects and encourage team-wide adoption”, according to Bigtincan. 

But not all the ASX companies trying to make an impact on the lucrative AI market are going so well. 

Brainchip Holdings Ltd (ASX: BRN), which hopes its technology will be adopted by manufacturers of driverless cars, among other things, has been watching its share price head down since late October. 

That being said, AI is a fast growing industry and it could pay to keep up-to-date on what’s going on in the sector. 

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Motley Fool contributor Steve Holland has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Appen Ltd. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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