Apparently, the market expects the controversial $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft to close soon, as trading of the publisher of Call of Duty and Diablo has been halted at the New York Stock Exchange.
There is a variety of reasons why trading of a stock may be halted, but the dedicated page on the Stock Exchange website indicates "news pending" as the motivation.
This means that traders expect relevant news, likely about the consummation of the embattled acquisition to come soon, possibly before trading opens tomorrow morning.
The British antitrust authority (CMA) issued a preliminary approval a while ago and their final order is expected this week. If that comes in the British morning, all practical obstacles to the consummation of the acquisition would be removed, and Microsoft appears to be poised to close pretty much immediately.
The American FTC stands pretty much alone in its opposition to the deal, but it has no power to stop its consummation. Its attempt to trigger a preliminary injunction have been rejected by both a Federal Court and the Court of Appeals and its administrative law court hearings will simply come too late.
The regulator could seek a divestiture afterward, but that would be a long and difficult process which would have to meet extremely high legal standards to have any chance of succeed.
Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been announced all the way back in January 2022, but its consummation has taken longer than expected due to regulatory opposition.
While the European union approved the deal, the British CMA moved to block it due to competitive concerns based on the cloud streaming market.
This roadblock appears to have been removed via the licensing of Activision's cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft, opening the way to the closure of highly-discussed deal, which saw Sony as one of its primary inustrty critics. Yet, even the house of PlayStation ended signing a deal to keep the Call of Duty franchise on its platforms, which it had initially refused.