Techmeme
January 19, 2022, 4:30 AM

Top News

Microsoft:
Microsoft plans to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7B in cash, or $95/share, in FY 2023; Activision's stock, which closed last week at $65.39, jumps 25%+  —  Legendary games, immersive interactive entertainment and publishing expertise accelerate growth in Microsoft's Gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud.
Tom Warren / The Verge:
Microsoft says Xbox Game Pass has 25M subscribers, up from 18M in January 2021  —  Microsoft's all-you-can-eat catalog of games is getting bigger, and now it's adding Activision Blizzard  —  Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass service now has 25 million subscribers.
Bloomberg:
Sources: Activision Blizzard tried to find other buyers, including Meta, while weighing a potential Microsoft takeover after the WSJ's exposé in November  —  Late last year, as Activision Blizzard Inc. and Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick were reeling from accusations that Kotick knew …
Peter Kafka / Vox:
Following several game studio acquisitions, Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal faces a big regulatory hurdle with Lina Khan's antitrust-focused FTC  —  Microsoft-Activision is like Disney-Fox.  Maybe bigger.  —  Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard for $69 billion.
CNBC:
Apple and Google warn of harmful consequences to user privacy and security from two proposed Senate antitrust bills scheduled to be considered this week  —  - Apple warned in a letter on Tuesday that antitrust bills being considered in the Senate would increase the risk of security breaches to iPhone users.
Makena Kelly / The Verge:
Democratic lawmakers unveil the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act, which would ban targeted ads but allow broad location-based and contextual ads  —  It could reshape the entire tech industry  —  On Tuesday, Democrats introduced a new bill that would ban nearly all use …
Wall Street Journal:
AT&T and Verizon temporarily restrict 5G expansion near US airports, but a few airlines will still suspend some flights on Wednesday amid Boeing's guidance  —  Flight suspensions occur even as AT&T and Verizon agree to limit signals within 2 miles of runways to address air-safety concerns
Lauren Feiner / CNBC:
The FTC and DOJ seek public comment on how to rewrite “the antitrust laws regarding mergers”, signaling a potentially tougher stance toward Big Tech deals  —  - The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice Antitrust Division kicked off a process to rewrite merger guidelines for businesses on Tuesday.
Todd Spangler / Variety:
YouTube says it's winding down YouTube Originals after six years and will only fund programs that are part of its Black Voices and YouTube Kids Funds  —  YouTube is getting out of the business of originals: The Google-owned video giant said it is winding down its original productions team after more than six years.
Andrew Asmakov / Decrypt:
Crypto.com halted withdrawals on Monday and required users to sign back in and reset 2FA; research shows it lost 4,600+ ETH, worth ~$15M, in a presumed hack  —  The crypto exchange has reportedly lost at least $15 million in Ethereum, and security experts believe the true losses could be much higher.
Frank Chaparro / The Block:
OpenSea acquires crypto lending APIs startup Dharma Labs, which will shutter its wallet in 30 days; source says the deal was valued between $110M and $130M  —  Quick Take  — OpenSea confirms acquisition of Dharma Labs  — Dharma Lab's Hollander picked for CTO role
Kate Rooney / CNBC:
The US OCC and Federal Reserve approve SoFi's bid to become a bank holding company via its Golden Pacific Bancorp acquisition; SoFi stock jumps 16%+ after hours  —  - San Francisco-based SoFi got approval from its two key regulators to become a bank holding company.
Kenrick Cai / Forbes:
Ironclad, which helps companies create and manage business contracts, raises a $150M Series E entirely from existing investors at a $3.2B valuation  —  Jason Boehmig spent two years as a lawyer in Silicon Valley, putting together documents for startups, before he had enough of the clunkiness of the job.
Keith Romer / New York Times:
AI tools can generate an optimal poker strategy, balancing bluffing and playing it straight, which some professional players are using to augment their play  —  Good poker players have always known that they need to maintain a balance between bluffing and playing it straight.  Now they can do so perfectly.
Tage Kene-Okafor / TechCrunch:
Kenya-based Copia Global, which uses proprietary logistics for a mobile-first e-commerce service aimed at unbanked customers in Africa, raises a $50M Series C  —  Kenyan B2C e-commerce company Copia Global has raised $50 million in a Series C equity round led by Goodwell Investments.

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Tomer Ganon / CTech:
Joanna Ossinger / Bloomberg:
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