Welcome to another round of global roundup.
The acquisition of videogame maker, Activision Blizzard by Microsoft has taken a new twist this week as the deal continues to drag. Microsoft has threatened to walk away from the $70 billion acquisition deal if a federal judge grants an injunction that would delay the deal’s closing.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Thursday argued in federal court for a preliminary injunction to temporarily block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, saying the acquisition will give Microsoft the ability, an incentive, to harm competition in various markets.
This week, reports revealed that Warner Bros. Discovery is in talks with Netflix to sell some of its HBO library titles to the streaming platform. If this surprising deal pulls through, popular shows like the Game of Thrones would stream on Netflix.
At a time of slowing growth and cutthroat competition, Alibaba has named a new Chairman and CEO in a surprise management shakeup. Joseph Tsai, the Executive Vice Chairman and one of Alibaba’s co-founders, will take over from longtime leader, Daniel Zhang as chairman of the board.
Meanwhile, Olx Group has cut around 800 jobs globally. The move comes as the company started to close operations of its automotive business unit Olx Autos in some markets after long exploring potential buyers and investors.
Here is a summary of the bulletin
- Microsoft threatens to walk away from $70 billion Activision Blizzard acquisition
- Warner Bros. Discovery to shop some of its HBO library titles to Netflix
- Alibaba Group names new Chairman and CEO
- Meta to lower the recommended age for using its Quest headset to 10 from 13
- Olx Group has cut around 800 jobs globally
Microsoft ready to walk away from Activision deal
The first day of a weeklong hearing that could determine the outcome of Microsoft’s $70 billion acquisition of the video game giant Activision Blizzard opened Thursday with a promise from Microsoft: If a federal judge grants an injunction that would delay the deal’s closing, Microsoft could abandon the deal altogether.
She added that a loss could force the company into a “three-year administrative nightmare” that would sink the transaction, which it hopes to close by July 18.
That raised the stakes for the hearing in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, where the US Federal Trade Commission started making its case that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision — and its well-known games like Call of Duty — would be disastrous for the video game industry because it would give it the ability to stiffen out rivals.
“If this deal is completed, the combined company … is likely to have the ability, an incentive, to harm competition in various markets related to consoles, subscription services and the cloud (for gaming),” FTC lawyer James Weingarten said in the government’s opening arguments
The FTC argues it needs a judge to block Microsoft and Activision Blizzard from closing their $69 billion merger until the agency’s in-house court gets to rule on whether the combination hurts competition in the video game industry.
According to Mr Weingarten, the tech giant might make Activision’s titles exclusive to the Xbox console or lower their quality on competing systems to entice gamers to the Xbox. He cited Microsoft’s 2020 acquisition of ZeniMax Media and its roster of game developers for $7.5 billion, following which it declared some of those games Xbox-exclusive.
Warner Bro shopping some of its HBO TV titles to Netflix
In a hugely surprising move, Warner Bros. Discovery is shopping some of its HBO library titles to rival Netflix. Such a deal would mark the first time in nearly a decade that HBO shows would exist on a rival SVOD service in the U.S., according to Deadline.
If this unexpected deal ultimately succeeds, it might imply that Netflix would start streaming popular TV shows like Game of Thrones.
The first title that Deadline understands is set to be part of the arrangement is Issa Rae’s comedy Insecure, which ran for five seasons on HBO and finished in December 2021. We hear there are other titles being discussed.
This is a financial move, according to sources. HBO veterans reportedly opposed the plan, but corporate financial considerations prevailed. Sources emphasise that the deal is not finalised and could yet fail, but despite this, it represents a significant change in the premium pay industry’s overall approach.
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav signalled early in his tenure that he is open to foregoing exclusivity and license content to boost the bottom line. Earlier this year, Warner Bros. Discovery moved to distribute titles such as Westworld to free streaming platforms such as Roku and Tubi.
Alibaba Group names new Chairman and CEO
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has named a new Chairman and CEO in a surprise management shakeup announced at a time of slowing growth and cutthroat competition.
In this historic shakeup, Joseph Tsai, the Executive Vice Chairman and one of Alibaba’s co-founders, will take over from longtime leader, Daniel Zhang as chairman of the board, according to the company’s announcement on Tuesday. Eddie Wu, currently serving as the chairman of the e-commerce unit, Taobao and Tmall Group, will assume the position of Chief Executive Officer.
Speaking about the new changes, the former chairman, Daniel Zhang who exits after 8 years in the position said this was the right time to make the transition.
“This is the right time for me to make a transition, given the importance of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Group as it progresses towards a full spin-off,” Zhang said in the announcement.
Both appointments will take effect in September, and Zhang will continue to serve as the chairman and CEO of Alibaba’s cloud unit.
This is the second time Alibaba is experiencing a significant change in executive leadership within a few years, following co-founder, Jack Ma’s departure in 2019. Moreover, this development is coming just months after the company’s most extensive restructuring in 24 years.
Meta to lower the recommended age for using its Quest
Meta has announced plans to lower its recommended age for the usage of its Quest Headset from 13 to 10, to allow for more family usage and enjoyment, according to a blog post.
“Today we’re announcing changes to give families even more ways to use and enjoy Meta Quest. Starting later this year, parents will be able to set up parent-managed Meta accounts for Meta Quest 2 and 3 for their children ages 10 – 12.”
In addition to helping parents limit the types of apps their children download, the business claimed that it would provide parents more control over how their accounts are used because they would be the ones who gave final consent for setting up the accounts.
“With new parent-managed Meta accounts, we’re making it easier for parents to create and manage their family’s accounts on one device. We’ll require preteens to get their parent’s approval to set up an account, which will give parents control over the apps their preteens download from our app store“, it says.
Olx Group cut around 800 jobs globally
Olx Group, the online marketplace and classified business arm of Prosus, has cut around 800 jobs globally. The move comes as the company started to close operations of its automotive business unit Olx Autos in some markets after long exploring potential buyers and investors, TechCrunch learned and as confirmed by the company.
The Amsterdam-headquartered company, which is operating in over 30 countries around the world, recently started informing the affected employees about the layoffs. They are not limited to a particular market or division.
An Olx spokesperson confirmed the job cuts and said it resulted from the decision to exit Olx Autos that was announced in March.
“Earlier this year, we made the strategic decision to exit the Olx Autos business and potential buyers or investors have been explored since then,” the company said.
“As a result of this process, it became clear that pursuing individual country sales was the best option, given the significant value that exists within local markets. This includes Chile, the financing business in Latin America, and both the Olx classifieds platforms and the Autos transaction businesses in India, Indonesia and Turkey”, it further added.
But Olx Group couldn’t find potential buyers or investors in other markets, meaning that the company has shut down its operations in Argentina, Mexico and Colombia. Although Olx Autos will continue to sell vehicles in these markets, the company will not be accepting any new transactions, as stated on the Olx Argentina website. As for other markets, it’s unclear what’s going to happen next.
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