In the tumultuous world of stock markets, 2023 has proven to be an auspicious year for Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) investors. The tech giant’s stock has witnessed a noteworthy rally, outperforming the broader S&P 500 market index by a notable margin.
While various factors have contributed to this surge, one standout catalyst is the burgeoning artificial intelligence (AI) landscape, with innovations like OpenAI‘s ChatGPT and Alphabet’s Google Bard captivating the world’s imagination.
However, the MSFT rally may not hinge solely on AI’s ascent as the company closes in on completing a record-breaking deal.
Notably, the technology behemoth is on the cusp of overcoming its final regulatory hurdle in acquiring the gaming development powerhouse Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), the government release revealed on September 22.
After a year and a half of anticipation, recent indications from UK competition authorities suggest approval of the latest concessions, potentially paving the way for Microsoft’s groundbreaking $69 billion buyout of Activision, marking the largest-ever gaming deal.
Specifically, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on Friday that the latest restructured proposal paves the way for the deal to be cleared.
Under the terms of the new offer, Microsoft would sell some gaming rights to French video game publisher Ubisoft, a move that could keep competition in cloud gaming open for years, the regulator stated.
“This is a new and substantially different deal, which keeps the cloud distribution of these important games in the hands of a strong independent supplier, Ubisoft, rather than under the control of Microsoft.”– Colin Raftery, a senior director of mergers at the CMA.
The CMA added it will continue reviewing the offer until October 6.
Microsoft stock price analysis
At the time of publication, MSFT price was standing at $319.53, down 0.39% in the past 24 hours.
The stock fell more than 5.7% and 1.8% on the weekly and monthly charts, respectively.
Year-to-date, Microsoft’s shares remain up over 31%.
Meanwhile, the shares are trading below the 100-daily moving average (MA), which currently acts as resistance in case the bulls try to attack the $330 mark again. The trend is now favoring the downside, with the next support located in the range of $305-310.
The latest developments regarding the Activision takeover represent a remarkable turnaround for a deal that was once deemed impossible after the Redmond, Washington-based company faced significant resistance from antitrust regulators, including an initial veto from the UK earlier in the year.
Now, Microsoft has never been closer to wrapping up the blockbuster acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the company behind some of the most popular video game franchises such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch.
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