Activision Blizzard's stock closed up 10% on Tuesday, reaching a 52-week high of $92.91 per share, after US District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley denied a motion from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requesting a preliminary injunction to block its merger with Microsoft.
After a week-long hearing in San Francisco, California, Judge Corley ruled that the US regulators failed to demonstrate how Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard would hurt competition as the Xbox maker has publicly committed to license Activision's Call of Duty to rivals.
Concerns about the acquisition of Call of Duty owner Activision Blizzard are mounting, not only over Microsoft's capacity to keep the game away from competitors in the home console market, but also because this move may give the Xbox owner undue power to shape the future emerging cloud gaming market. This deal risks enabling Microsoft to establish a damaging monopoly.
Once likely to block the Activision-Microsoft deal, regulatory obstacles are disappearing as the winds continue to change in both the UK and the US. This is a positive outcome in the long uphill battle to bring Activision game franchises under Microsoft's umbrella — a move that could boost gaming-related artificial intelligence and usher in a new era for the industry.
There's a 90% chance that Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard in 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.