Microsoft Began Activision Acquisition Talks Just Three Days After Bobby Kotick Misconduct Report Was Published


Activision Blizzard has been under fire due to reports of widespread, prolonged, and persistent workplace issues for a while now, with allegations ranging from abuse to harassment to sexual misconduct . When news broke that Microsoft was acquiring the company in a deal worth nearly $69 billion, set to be finalized next year, it didn’t take much to figure out that the hit that Activision’s stock prices had suffered as a result of these reports had been a big part of why the acquisition was even happening.

Now, we have a much clearer idea of just what the correlation was there. As recently reported by CNBC, a regulatory filing recently submitted to the SEC shows that Microsoft began acquisition talks with Activision Blizzard in what seems like an opportunistic move on November 19, which was just three days after The Wall Street Journal published its report on Activision Blizzard and CEO Bobby Kotick.

“On November 19, 2021, in the course of a conversation on a different topic between Mr. Spencer and Mr. Kotick, Mr. Spencer raised that Microsoft was interested in discussing strategic opportunities between Activision Blizzard and Microsoft and asked whether it would be possible to have a call with Mr. Nadella the following day. Mr. Kotick agreed to participate in such discussion,” the aforementioned filing reads.

Interestingly enough, November 19 is also the day that reports emerged about Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s disparaging stance on Activision’s problematic workplace issues, regarding which he said Xbox was “evaluating all aspects” of its relationship with the Call of Duty publisher.

Less than a month ago, Spencer also said that Microsoft had “had a good discussion” with Activision Blizzard leadership regarding the latter’s issues and its plans to tackle them. Read more on that through here.

Reports have also suggested that when the acquisition is finalized sometime in 2023, Kotick will leave the company.

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