A judge has ruled that Microsoft can complete its $75 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.


An important US barrier to the merger’s completion has been removed after a Federal judge decided that Microsoft can complete its 75 billion dollar acquisition of video game publisher Activision Blizzard, the studio behind Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.

The July 11 edition of the P.M. A federal judge has ruled that Microsoft can complete its $75 billion acquisition of videogame producer Activision Blizzard, removing a significant impediment in the United States. Sarah Needleman, a tech reporter, has more on what’s next. Furthermore, NATO promises to bring Ukraine closer but fails to provide a timetable for membership, frustrating Kyiv. Vivian Salama, a national security reporter, reports from the NATO meeting in Lithuania. Annmarie Fertoli is the host.


A transcription company produced this transcript. This version might not be complete and could undergo revisions.

Susan Fertoli: 

A US judge rules in favor of Microsoft and permits it to finalize its 75-billion-dollar agreement with Activision. Additionally, NATO promises to enlist Ukraine but makes no mention of a timetable.

Vicki Salama: 

There was disagreement among several partners over the prospects for Ukrainian membership, including the US, which firmly believed that the moment was not right for Ukraine to join NATO.

Annmarie Fertoli says: 

Also, why did Tesla start an internal investigation against Elon Musk? The date is July 11th. Annmarie Fertoli here from the Wall Street Journal. This is the PM edition of What’s News, with the top news and business stories from the day. A federal judge has ruled that Microsoft can complete its $75 billion acquisition of video game publisher Activision Blizzard, the firm behind Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, removing a main US impediment to the transaction. Sarah Needleman, a Wall Street Journal tech writer, is here to explain. Sarah, the Federal Trade Commission had filed a complaint against this transaction. What does the FTC’s decision mean?

That represents a huge setback for the FTC, says Sarah Needleman. It means that Microsoft and Activision can finalize the agreement before the August hearing where the FTC expected to generally argue against it because the FTC filed a lawsuit in December alleging that the agreement was unlawful.

Susan Fertoli: 

Does the FTC have any options in this situation?

Sheila Needleman Although it is highly unexpected, the FTC has the right to appeal. Since they would have to litigate the same matter again if they lose at this stage, they typically withdraw from the negotiations.

Annmarie Fertoli says:

 However, this is hardly the end of the road for Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. This transaction has not been approved by UK regulators. What does the battle in Europe look like? Could this still be called off?

Sheila Needleman 

Therefore, it is possible as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority stated today that it was ready to accept fresh suggestions from Microsoft for resolving its competition-related issues. Additionally, they requested a postponement of the hearing scheduled for later this month. A potential lifeline has been provided by the requests for a stay made by the CMA, Microsoft, and Activision. It implies that they could negotiate a solution. Although we’ll have to wait and watch, this is a huge step in the right direction for the transaction.

Annmarie Fertoli: 

Sarah Needleman is a Wall Street Journal technology reporter. Microsoft’s Vice Chair said in a statement that the firm is appreciative of the court’s “quick and thorough decision” and that the company is committed to addressing regulatory issues. The CEO of Activision stated that the combination will benefit both consumers and employees. According to an FTC representative, the agency is upset with the judgment and will announce its future moves in the coming days.

In other business headlines, Oklo, a nuclear fission startup valued at roughly 850 million dollars, is planning to go public through a special purpose acquisition company. A SPAC, indeed. According to corporate representatives. Sam Altman, the CEO of artificial intelligence firm OpenAI, has backed the California-based company. The maker of the popular chatbot ChatGPT is that business. Oklo is creating a small modular nuclear reactor design with the intention of selling electricity on the market for energy. I’m now joined by Wall Street Journal reporter Jennifer Hiller to talk more about the forthcoming IPO. What does Oklo expect from this IPO?

Jennifer Hiller: 

Oklo claims they’re getting closer to actually producing reactors, and they anticipate having deliveries within the next few years. So, basically, you need funds to go out and start building a nuclear reactor, and the licensing process can be long and laborious for nuclear power businesses, so there will be some costs connected with that as well as the fuel recycling that they are considering.

Susan Fertoli: What is the market size and type for nuclear reactors of this kind?

Jennifer Hiller: We actually don’t know yet, though. These kinds of compact modular reactors are not now available in the US. Large nuclear power facilities have traditionally dominated the market and were constructed over many years. There is currently one in Georgia that is nearing completion, but there hasn’t been much nuclear construction in the US in a while, and many believe that developing smaller reactors will be the way that industry develops in the future.

As a result, there are many startups attempting to go smaller, both in the United States and abroad. And they believe that by going smaller, they would be able to do them cheaper and faster. And the modular part would be that you construct a kind of factory where you can repeat this process and make a lot of little reactors.

Annmarie Fertoli: 

Jennifer Hiller, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. On to marketplaces now. The US Federal Reserve is anticipated to increase rates once more this month after pausing last month. However, as our markets writer, Matt Grossman, notes, “Some investors think there’s further to go when it comes to tightening monetary policy.” The Fed has increased rates at the quickest rate since the 1980s. So, Matt, why is that? Investors may not be certain that the Fed’s plan to raise rates is effective.

Mr. Matt Grossman: If you told folks a year ago that interest rates were going to approach 5%, they might have believed we’d be in a recession by now or that inflation would have returned to the Fed’s 2% target. Obviously, the economy is still doing well, and inflation is still, by some measures, about twice the 2% target, so I think a lot of investors are wondering why these very aggressive rate hikes haven’t done as much as they might have thought to truly control inflation.

The Federal Reserve will convene later this month. The majority of investors currently believe that rates will increase once more. Then, the issue is, is that all there is to it? Is that the last rate increase, or will there be more in the future? If we do, I believe many investors are unsure about how the stock market, which, as you know, has had a really excellent year thus far, will react. It’s very likely that many concerns about how well the economy would handle a significantly tighter monetary policy will resurface if rates start to sort of creep closer to 6%.

Annmarie Fertoli says: 

Matt Grossman is a Wall Street Journal markets reporter. Next, NATO disappoints Ukraine by failing to provide a timetable for its accession to the alliance. After the break, find out what was given and how Ukraine reacted. NATO leaders gathered in Lithuania for a two-day summit declined to offer Ukraine a clear path to membership, frustrating Kyiv, which sees NATO as critical to preventing Russian aggression. Vivian Salama, a Wall Street Journal national security reporter of Microsoft, joins me now from the NATO Summit in Vilnius. Hello, Vivian.

Thank you for having me, Vivian Salama.

Susan Fertoli:

 What does it mean that NATO and Kyiv are getting closer, but there is no timetable for Ukraine to join the alliance, Vivian? What does that actually imply?

Vicki Salama: In essence, they declared that Ukraine would receive an invitation. As the first day of the summit comes to a close, there are still more questions than answers because neither party specified when that would occur nor truly laid out what would need to take place in order for the invitation to cease to exist.

Annmarie Fertoli: 

How will Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy react to this? He had voiced disappointment prior to the release of this communique language. What has he said since then?

Vivian Salama: 

Just about an hour after the language of the communique was decided upon, Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a speech in the center of Villus, in which he genuinely attacked his allies in a manner similar to that of his earlier statement. He stated that while he respects and values what they have accomplished, it is ultimately too little, too late, and every day that NATO delays making a decision about the future of Ukraine, Russia grows more confident as a result of their actions. He even went so far as to disparage their ambivalence and hesitation in the preceding statement as being weak and foolish.I mean, he used pretty strong words, which is unusual for him. As a result, it emphasizes how unhappy and upset he feels with the outcome of these discussions.

Annmarie Fertoli: 

We were aware coming into this that the NATO countries were split on what to do regarding Ukraine’s membership. What happens to them now?

Vivian Salama: 

Many allies were divided regarding the future of Ukrainian membership, including the United States, which was firmly in the no camp, feeling that now is not the time to allow Ukraine to NATO. President Biden has stated that now is not the time because there is an active war, and that even contemplating Ukrainian membership will eventually draw the US into a larger battle. of Microsoft But he’s also repeatedly mentioned the need to “clean house,”

if you will, address corruption, and deal some of the domestic concerns that NATO members must solve in order to achieve membership requirements. As a result, certain allies, particularly those on the eastern flank, Poland, which has been very loud, is supporting President Zelenskyy and feels that they need to take action. So once more, following the first day of the summit, you truly have more questions than answers on the possibility—if any—that Ukraine would join NATO in the short to medium term.

Annmarie Fertoli: 

Vivian Salama, national security writer for the Wall Street Journal, joins us from Vilnius, Lithuania. Thank you so much, Vivian.

Salama, Vivian: Thank you for inviting me.

Annmarie Fertoli: 

Another significant development from this week’s meeting was the announcement by the Biden administration that it would proceed with the long-promised 20 billion dollar sale of F-16 jet fighters to Turkey. This announcement came hours after the president of Turkey removed his opposition to Sweden’s participation in the alliance. Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor, dismissed claims that the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to allow Stockholm to join the alliance was directly related to moving up with the long-promised sale, but US sources said the jets did come up in discussions. 

Microsoft Can Close Its $75 Billion Buy of Activision Blizzard, Judge Rules
Microsoft Can Close Its $75 Billion Buy of Activision Blizzard, Judge Rules

In other news, as search and rescue crews raced across the state to reach stranded individuals, heavy, continuous rain overnight in Vermont swamped the capital city of Montpelier at levels not seen in over a century. The governor of the state, Phil Scott, termed the recent 48 hours of rain and flooding “historic and catastrophic,” and warned that more rain was on the way later this week. The same storms that are currently affecting Vermont and Western New Hampshire pounded New York’s Hudson Valley earlier this week. And we can exclusively reveal that Tesla’s secret plans to construct a glass-walled structure near the electric automaker’s headquarters in Austin, Texas, have provoked an internal investigation. 

Internally, the “Project 42” blueprints were characterized as a home for the company’s CEO, Elon Musk. 

Following an order for millions of dollars of specialized glass, the sort used on the outside of buildings, the business’s board members investigated whether corporate resources had been exploited. Those are the opinions of those who are familiar with the circumstances. It was impossible to learn the outcome of Tesla’s inquiry or the project’s status. And finally, while it may be a little early for some to start planning a trip for 2024, it’s already too late for solar eclipse chasers. 

A total solar eclipse will occur on April 8th, 2024, spanning from South Texas to Maine. Fans are booking hotels in its route, driving up prices. For instance, hotel stays in Carbondale, Illinois, last April cost, on average, slightly over $97 a night. A Super 8 motel just 20 miles away will cost $449 per night starting in 2019. According to Ethan Steinberg, our travel and consumer trends writer, some hotels that know they can charge more are canceling reservations. He suggests having a backup plan.

Ethan Steinberg: 

Once hotels learn about the eclipse and the rates they can charge, they may cancel existing reservations and relist the same dates and rooms for greater fees. This might also happen on short-term rental sites like Vrbo. The company would let travelers rebook if anything like this happens at the last minute, according to a spokesman there. Hosts who cancel and re-list for more are punished by the site’s algorithms, according to the spokeswoman. It’s less likely to occur on other Microsoft platforms like Airbnb because they forbid hosts from canceling and turning around the same dates for a greater charge.

Susan Fertoli: 

Good news: you will have plenty of time to make preparations for the following complete solar eclipse. Considering that won’t occur until 2044, make sure to prepare. That concludes the news for this afternoon on Tuesday. We’ll return in the morning. I work for the Wall Street Journal as Annmarie Fertoli.

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