Dow Today – Business Highlights: Microsoft buys Activision, stocks swoon
Microsoft buys game maker Activision Blizzard for about $70B
REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — 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 Wall St to new low for 2022
NEW YORK (AP) — 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 aiming at illegal and anticompetitive mergers
WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 a fatal crash involving Autopilot
DETROIT (AP) — 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 as compensation costs soar
NEW YORK (AP) — 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.
Ford, ADT form venture to make vehicle security products
DETROIT (AP) — Ford and security company ADT have formed a joint venture that will help businesses protect vehicles and expensive equipment they carry from theft. The first product from the venture called Canopy is a system that uses cameras, radar, global positioning and artificial intelligence to spot a potential thief and notify ADT, which will monitor the feeds and notify the customer or authorities if needed. The system will be offered as accessory on Ford and other top-selling vehicles starting next year. The company expects to integrate it in factory vehicles and offer it to other manufacturers over time. Ford is putting up about $60 million to start the venture during the next three years, with $40 million coming from ADT.
AT&T, Verizon pause some new 5G after airlines raise alarm
DALLAS (AP) — AT&T and Verizon say they will delay some new 5G wireless service after the airline industry raised alarms about potential interference with important systems on planes. The airlines had warned of massive flight cancellations and disruptions. The Biden administration got involved to settle the showdown between the telecom companies and airlines over AT&T and Verizon plans to launch new 5G wireless service this week. Airline CEO’s warn that thousands of flights could be grounded or delayed if the rollout takes place near major airports because the service interferes with key systems on board planes.
Majority of US states pursue nuclear power for emission cuts
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Many states in the U.S. are coming to the conclusion that solar, wind and other renewable power sources might not be enough to keep the lights on as they seek to dramatically cut their use of fossil fuels. Nuclear power is emerging as an answer to fill the gap as they transition away from coal, oil and natural gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A survey by The Associated Press found that about two-thirds of states are including nuclear power in their future energy plans. While nuclear power comes with its own set of potential problems, even the Biden administration wants it as part of the U.S. energy mix as it seeks to dramatically cut greenhouse gases.
The S&P 500 shed 85.74 points, or 1.8%, to 4,577.11. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 543.34 points, or 1.5%, to 35,368.47. The Nasdaq dropped 386.86 points, or 2.6%, to 14,506.90. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies lost 66.23 points, or 3.1%, to 2,096.23.