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Microsoft Approached Activision for a Deal Days After Misconduct Reports

With regulators and lawmakers tightening the noose around Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard and the latter’s handling of workplace misconduct, it has been revealed that Xbox CEO Phil Spencer approached Bobby Kotick to express an interest in a business deal merely days after Kotick and his leadership team were accused of wrongdoing. The explosive Wall Street Journal report, which uncovered a history of systematic abuse at Activision Blizzard and accused Kotick of being aware of it as well as partaking in misconduct, led to the company’s stock tumbling. Spencer had previously said that he was troubled by the allegations against Kotick, and said that Microsoft would review its relationship with the company.

What SEC reveals about Xbox Activision deal

A United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s filing reads:

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 WSJ report, which contained allegations against Kotick, was published on November 16th. This revelation comes amid an ongoing investigation into workplace misconduct at Activision Blizzard. According to WSJ, authorities have subpoenaed several executives including Kotick but have been met with resistance.

Opinion: Microsoft is a business and Spencer is a businessman

Zarmena writes… I continue to be surprised by the amount of people expressing their shock over these revelations. Spencer does seem to have a good public profile but he works for a global multinational that’s focused on expanding its reach and making profits. Microsoft jumping at the opportunity to purchase Activision Blizzard as soon as its stock tumbled is hardly surprising. What truly deserves criticism, however, is Kotick getting an easy escape.

In other news, Guerrilla Games has revealed that Horizon Forbidden West was delayed to avoid crunch, and has explained why the game’s loading screen was revamped on the PS5.

[Source: SEC via The Verge]

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