Activision, known for games like Call of Duty, has been in the news a lot about issues related to sexism and employee misconduct, of which Kotick was aware.
The Wall Street Journal published a story in mid-November about allegations of sexual misconduct against Activision Blizzard, saying that Kotick had been notified. The American Business Journal cited, among other things, interviews, internal emails, and other internal documents that showed the CEO was aware of abuses in 2016 and 2017. The Wall Street Journal also reported on cases in which Kotik himself was accused.
Then a group of Activision Blizzard employees demanded the CEO’s resignation. The company denied the allegations and the board of directors said it would stand behind Kotick. When the deal with Microsoft was announced, it was said that he would definitely stay until the acquisition was completed. Kotik is expected to resign after that.
Financial news agency Bloomberg reported that the deal gained traction because Activision lost credibility. Microsoft is said to have contacted Activision to support the lead partner at a difficult time and to express concerns about the game maker’s treatment of women. During those conversations, Microsoft would also have expressed an interest in the acquisition if Activision was willing to sell it.
It was announced Tuesday that Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard for $69 billion. The American software company, which also makes Xbox, wants to take another step into the gaming world with an acquisition. It is the largest ever acquisition in the industry. In response to the news, rival Sony lost $20 billion in market capitalization on the stock exchange in a single day.
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