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Microsoft buys game maker for almost $70B

Microsoft is paying nearly $70 billion for Activision Blizzard, the maker of Candy Crush and Call of Duty. The deal comes as Microsoft is trying to boost its competitiveness in mobile gaming and virtual-reality technology. The all-cash $68.7 billion deal will turn the maker of the Xbox gaming system into one of the world’s largest video game companies.

It will also help Microsoft compete with tech rivals such as Meta — formerly Facebook — in creating immersive virtual worlds for both work and play. If the deal survives scrutiny from U.S. and European regulators in the coming months, it also could be one of the priciest tech acquisitions in history.

Technology, bank stocks drag to new 2022 low

Stocks fell to a new low for the year on Wall Street Tuesday and bond yields surged amid renewed jitters the Federal Reserve will lift interest rates to tackle rising inflation. The S&P 500 fell 1.8%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.5% and the Nasdaq sank 2.6%.

Technology stocks and banks led the decline. Goldman Sachs fell after the investment bank reported a sharp drop in profits. Crude oil prices rose amid supply concerns following an attack on an oil facility in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Activision Blizzard soared on news of a blockbuster buyout by Microsoft.

US regulators aimingat illegal mergers

U.S. competition regulators have mounted an effort to tighten enforcement against illegal mergers, in line with President Joe Biden’s mandate for greater scrutiny to big business combinations.

The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission announced they are seeking public comment on how current merger guidelines can be updated to better detect and prevent illegal and anticompetitive deals in an increasingly consolidating corporate marketplace. The agencies are stressing the importance of robust competition to the economy, workers, consumers and small businesses. In their request for public views on mergers, the regulators are stretching toward a broader definition of anticompetitive conduct.

Felony charges are 1st in fatal Autopilot crash

California prosecutors have filed two counts of vehicular manslaughter against the driver of a Tesla on Autopilot who ran a red light, slammed into another car and killed two people in 2019. The defendant appears to be the first person to be charged with a felony in the United States for a fatal crash involving a motorist who was using a partially automated driving system.

Los Angeles County prosecutors filed the charges in October, but they came to light only last week. The misuse of Autopilot, which can control steering, speed and braking, has occurred on numerous occasions and is the subject of investigations by two federal agencies.

Goldman Sachs Q4 profits fall 13%

Goldman Sachs’ said its fourth-quarter profits fell by 13% from a year earlier, largely due to the bank preparing to pay out hefty pay packages to its well-compensated employees. It’s the latest sign that wages are increasing sharply, particularly on Wall Street.

The New York-based investment bank earned $3.94 billion, or $10.81 a share. That’s down from $4.51 billion, or $12.08 a share, in the same period a year earlier. The results missed analysts’ expectations, who were looking for on average a profit of $11.80 a share, according to FactSet.

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