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   Technology StocksActivision....Returns!


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From: JakeStraw1/24/2019 11:14:48 AM
   of 1991
 
Activision Blizzard had its price target raised by analysts at Morgan Stanley from $60.00 to $72.00. They now have an "overweight" rating on the stock.

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From: JakeStraw5/3/2019 9:14:30 AM
   of 1991
 
Activision Blizzard Announces First-Quarter 2019 Financial Results
finance.yahoo.com

Edited Transcript of ATVI earnings conference call or presentation 2-May-19
finance.yahoo.com

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From: JakeStraw5/3/2019 12:19:10 PM
   of 1991
 
Activision Blizzard said it has lined up five franchises for a new, city-based Call of Duty esports league.

Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris and Toronto will all play host to franchise teams that will compete in a professional league based on what is perhaps Activision Blizzard’s most successful title, the company announced after its earnings call earlier today.

Each city is partnering with existing Overwatch League team owners to leverage the existing framework that Activision has labored over for the past few years to lay the groundwork for a global, city-based Call of Duty league, the company said.
techcrunch.com

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From: Sr K8/4/2021 1:39:53 AM
   of 1991
 
Prior post was 5/3/2019

Activision Blizzard Executives Exit as Company Faces Gender-Bias Lawsuit

A California agency accused the company of failing to respond to employee complaints of harassment, discrimination and retaliation


The Blizzard Entertainment booth at the ChinaJoy expo in Shanghai last year. Blizzard is the unit behind hit franchises such as World of Warcraft and Overwatch.PHOTO: ALEX PLAVEVSKI/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

By
Sarah E. Needleman

Updated Aug. 3, 2021 7:24 pm ET

Activision Blizzard Inc. said the head of its Blizzard Entertainment unit and a senior human-resources executive are leaving the company, as the videogame publisher seeks to stabilize its business after a gender-bias lawsuit and calls to improve its culture.

J. Allen Brack has stepped down as president of the studio behind hit franchises such as World of Warcraft and Overwatch, the company said Tuesday. Jesse Meschuk, who served as Activision’s senior vice president for global human resources, is no longer in his role, an Activision spokeswoman said.

Two company veterans, Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra, were named co-leaders of Blizzard, which Activision acquired in 2008. Ms. Oneal is Activision’s first female business unit head. Mr. Meschuk joined Activision in 2005 and had been in his most recent role since January.

“It became clear to J. Allen Brack and Activision Blizzard leadership that Blizzard Entertainment needs a new direction and leadership given the critical work ahead in terms of workplace culture, game development, and innovation,” the company said.

Messrs. Brack and Meschuk didn’t respond to requests for comment. In a statement on Blizzard’s website, Mr. Brack said he is confident in his replacements’ ability to lead “with the highest levels of integrity and commitment to the components of our culture that make Blizzard so special.”

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To: Sr K who wrote (1983)10/28/2021 2:51:50 PM
From: Sr K
   of 1991
 
Activision Blizzard Chief Reduces Pay, Pledges Changes Amid Probes Into Company Culture

Bobby Kotick says videogame publisher will end mandatory arbitration for sexual-harassment, discrimination claims


Bobby Kotick announced changes for Activision Blizzard aimed at making the company more diverse and safer for employees.PHOTO: BRIAN LOSNESS/REUTERS

By
Sarah E. Needleman
and
Kirsten Grind

Updated Oct. 28, 2021 11:52 am ET

Bobby Kotick, the longtime chief executive of videogame publisher Activision Blizzard Inc., ATVI -0.04% told employees Thursday he would take a pay cut and end mandatory arbitration for internal harassment and discrimination claims amid regulatory probes into the company’s culture.

Mr. Kotick, 58 years old, was the second-highest paid chief executive nationwide, earning $154 million in 2020, according to The Wall Street Journal’s annual ranking of pay and performance for leaders of S&P 500 companies.

In a letter made public Thursday, Mr. Kotick said that he asked Activision’s board to reduce his salary to the minimum allowed under California law for salaried workers—$62,500—and that he would forgo bonuses and equity grants.

The announcement was part of a series of changes Mr. Kotick said were aimed at making the company more diverse and safer for employees.

“Over the last decade, as we’ve brought in new companies, grown our workforce, and expanded our business, we believed we had the systems, policies, and people in place to ensure that our company always lived up to its reputation as a great place to work,” Mr. Kotick said in the letter. “Clearly, in some vitally important aspects, we didn’t.”

An Activision spokesperson declined to comment beyond Mr. Kotick’s letter.

‘We need tougher rules and consistent monitoring across the entire company to make sure reports are being handled correctly and discipline is appropriate and swift.’

— Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick

Activision, which owns hit franchises such as “Call of Duty,” “World of Warcraft” and “Candy Crush,” is facing a lawsuit by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging the company ignored employee complaints of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation, and maintained a “frat-boy” culture.

The Securities and Exchange Commission also opened an investigation into Activision’s handling of allegations of sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination, and has subpoenaed Mr. Kotick.

An Activision spokeswoman previously said the company was cooperating with the SEC. The company moved in court to pause the lawsuit by California’s DFEH, but the request was denied, court filings show. Activision has said it would fight the suit from the California agency.

Activision has agreed to pay $18 million to settle an investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission into its workplace practices. The California regulator has said the proposed settlement amount is too low and that the agreement includes provisions harmful to victims and its case. Activision has said that the settlement is subject to court approval and that it would take steps to “prevent and eliminate harassment,” including providing better training.

A spokesman for the EEOC declined to comment. In a court filing earlier this month, the federal agency said the California regulator’s objection could potentially derail relief for hundreds of people.

Mr. Kotick isn’t alone in Silicon Valley in volunteering to significantly reduce his compensation. Founders such as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook Inc. and Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com Inc. have also opted against collecting large stock grants and salaries and instead have relied on the value of their investments in their companies.

Mr. Kotick’s 2020 pay package of $154 million was in part due to a performance-based award related to his 2016 employment agreement. In March, the board approved an extension of that agreement, slated to expire this year, through 2023.

The Activision boss also wrote to employees that he is implementing a new companywide antiharassment policy. “We need tougher rules and consistent monitoring across the entire company to make sure reports are being handled correctly and discipline is appropriate and swift,” he wrote.

The change on mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment and discrimination means Activision’s roughly 10,000 workers will be able to sue the company directly, rather than go through an arbitrator if claims are made. Employees who previously criticized statements from management had called for that policy to change.

Additionally, Mr. Kotick said the company aims to increase the number of women and nonbinary people in its workforce by 50% over the next five years and invest $250 million over the next decade to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent.

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at sarah.needleman@wsj.com and Kirsten Grind at kirsten.grind@wsj.com

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From: Sr K1/18/2022 9:49:59 AM
   of 1991
 
Microsoft to Buy Activision Blizzard in All-Cash Deal Valued at $68.7 Billion

Acquisition of videogame heavyweight would make Microsoft the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue


Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty is one of the popular game franchises Microsoft would add to its portfolio.PHOTO: RICHARD B. LEVINE/LEVINE ROBERTS/ZUMA PRESS

By
Cara Lombardo Follow


,
Kirsten Grind Follow

and
Aaron Tilley Follow

Updated Jan. 18, 2022 9:23 am ET

Microsoft Corp. MSFT -0.99% agreed to buy Activision Blizzard Inc. ATVI 30.50% in an all-cash deal valued at $68.7 billion, using its largest acquisition by far to grab a videogame heavyweight that has been roiled by claims of workplace misconduct.

The deal, if completed, would sharply expand Microsoft’s already sizable videogame operation, adding a stable of popular game franchises including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush to Microsoft’s Xbox console business and its own games like Minecraft and Doom. Microsoft said the transaction would make it the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Japan’s Sony Group Corp.

An acquisition also would mark the latest and biggest move by Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella to reshape Microsoft through a string of deals that have helped make the world’s second-highest-valued company a powerhouse in business computing and a rising giant in videogames.

The deal entails significant complications, too. Shares in Activision had been down nearly 30% since California regulators filed a lawsuit against the company in July alleging sexual harassment and gender pay disparity among the company’s roughly 10,000 employees.

Activision shares surged nearly 38% in premarket trading Tuesday after The Wall Street Journal reported it was close to a deal with Microsoft, whose shares fell 1.6%.

Microsoft said in its announcement that Bobby Kotick would remain as Activision’s CEO following the deal, and report to Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer.

Since the California lawsuit in July, Activision, Mr. Kotick, and its board of directors have been under intense pressure from shareholders, business partners, and others over the misconduct allegations. Following a Wall Street Journal investigative article in November about Activision’s handling of workplace issues, nearly a fifth of Activision’s roughly 10,000 employees signed a petition calling for Mr. Kotick to resign, and Mr. Spencer told Microsoft employees the company was evaluating its relationship with Activision.

Activision has announced a number of changes in recent months that Mr. Kotick has said are intended to make it a welcoming and inclusive workplace, including a zero-tolerance harassment policy and an end to mandatory arbitration for harassment and discrimination claims.

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Activision had pushed out or disciplined more than 80 employees since July as part of efforts to address harassment and other misconduct allegations.

The deal follows a boom in the videogame business during the pandemic. It also comes as Microsoft and other technology giants are jockeying for position amid major changes in the sector, including a shift toward cloud-based gaming and the rise of a virtual world known as the metaverse where people can play, work and shop across different platforms using digital avatars.

The Metaverse Prompts High-Stakes Race for Big Tech

0:00 / 6:12


The Metaverse Prompts High-Stakes Race for Big Tech

A tech industry battle is taking shape over the metaverse. WSJ tech reporter Meghan Bobrowsky explains the concept and why tech companies like Facebook, Roblox and Epic Games are investing billions to develop this digital space. Photo: Storyblocks
Mr. Nadella’s Microsoft has shown an enormous appetite for acquisitions—but Activision is more than twice the size of its previous biggest deal. In that earlier purchase, Microsoft paid more than $26 billion for professional social network LinkedIn Corp. in 2016, pushing Microsoft into social media.

Last year, Microsoft made what was then its second largest acquisition, shelling out $16 billion for artificial intelligence company Nuance Communications Inc. to help accelerate growth in the healthcare market.

In making these giant acquisitions, Microsoft has been successful largely because it keeps its hands off new entities and provides support in additional funding and technology like Microsoft’s Azure cloud, said analysts. In July, Microsoft said that LinkedIn for the first time surpassed $10 billion in annual revenue.

Microsoft has stumbled in some of its deal efforts, noticeable in the defeat in 2020 of its attempt at buying parts of short-video app TikTok from Chinese parent company ByteDance Ltd. At the time, TikTok faced a threatened ban in the U.S. by then-President Donald Trump over national-security concerns.

Microsoft also engaged in unsuccessful talks to buy social networking company Pinterest and chat startup Discord Inc.

After those deals fizzled, Microsoft decided to double down on investments into its gaming ambitions, one person familiar with Microsoft’s strategy said.

TROUBLE AT ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
More coverage of the turmoil at the videogame company, selected by the editors

Excerpt

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From: Sr K1/18/2022 12:10:49 PM
   of 1991
 
This is updated

Microsoft to Buy Activision Blizzard in All-Cash Deal Valued at $68.7 Billion

Acquisition of videogame heavyweight would make Microsoft the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue


Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty is one of the popular game franchises Microsoft would add to its portfolio.PHOTO: RICHARD B. LEVINE/LEVINE ROBERTS/ZUMA PRESS

By
Cara Lombardo Follow


,
Kirsten Grind Follow

and
Aaron Tilley Follow

Updated Jan. 18, 2022 10:10 am ET

Microsoft Corp. MSFT -1.22% agreed to buy Activision Blizzard Inc. ATVI 27.08% in an all-cash deal valued at $68.7 billion, using its largest acquisition by far to grab a videogame heavyweight that has been roiled by claims of workplace misconduct.

The deal, if completed, would sharply expand Microsoft’s already sizable videogame operation, adding a stable of popular game franchises including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush to Microsoft’s Xbox console business and its own games like Minecraft and Doom. Microsoft said the transaction would make it the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Japan’s Sony Group Corp.

An acquisition also would mark the latest and biggest move by Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella to reshape Microsoft through a string of deals that have helped make the world’s second-highest-valued company a powerhouse in business computing and a rising giant in videogames.

The deal entails significant complications, too. Shares in Activision had been down nearly 30% since California regulators filed a lawsuit against the company in July alleging sexual harassment and gender pay disparity among the company’s roughly 10,000 employees.

Activision shares surged nearly 38% in premarket trading Tuesday after The Wall Street Journal reported it was close to a deal with Microsoft, whose shares fell 1.6%.

Microsoft said in its announcement that Bobby Kotick would remain as Activision’s CEO following the deal, and report to Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer.

Since the California lawsuit in July, Activision, Mr. Kotick, and its board of directors have been under intense pressure from shareholders, business partners, and others over the misconduct allegations. Following a Wall Street Journal investigative article in November about Activision’s handling of workplace issues, nearly a fifth of Activision’s roughly 10,000 employees signed a petition calling for Mr. Kotick to resign, and Mr. Spencer told Microsoft employees the company was evaluating its relationship with Activision.

Activision has announced a number of changes in recent months that Mr. Kotick has said are intended to make it a welcoming and inclusive workplace, including a zero-tolerance harassment policy and an end to mandatory arbitration for harassment and discrimination claims.

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Activision had pushed out or disciplined more than 80 employees since July as part of efforts to address harassment and other misconduct allegations.

The deal follows a boom in the videogame business during the pandemic. It also comes as Microsoft and other technology giants are jockeying for position amid major changes in the sector, including a shift toward cloud-based gaming and the rise of a virtual world known as the metaverse where people can play, work and shop across different platforms using digital avatars.

The Metaverse Prompts High-Stakes Race for Big Tech

0:00 / 6:12


The Metaverse Prompts High-Stakes Race for Big Tech

A tech industry battle is taking shape over the metaverse. WSJ tech reporter Meghan Bobrowsky explains the concept and why tech companies like Facebook, Roblox and Epic Games are investing billions to develop this digital space. Photo: Storyblocks
Mr. Nadella’s Microsoft has shown an enormous appetite for acquisitions—but Activision is more than twice the size of its previous biggest deal. In that earlier purchase, Microsoft paid more than $26 billion for professional social network LinkedIn Corp. in 2016, pushing Microsoft into social media.

Last year, Microsoft made what was then its second largest acquisition, shelling out $16 billion for artificial intelligence company Nuance Communications Inc. to help accelerate growth in the healthcare market.

In making these giant acquisitions, Microsoft has been successful largely because it keeps its hands off new entities and provides support in additional funding and technology like Microsoft’s Azure cloud, said analysts. In July, Microsoft said that LinkedIn for the first time surpassed $10 billion in annual revenue.

Microsoft has stumbled in some of its deal efforts, noticeable in the defeat in 2020 of its attempt at buying parts of short-video app TikTok from Chinese parent company ByteDance Ltd. At the time, TikTok faced a threatened ban in the U.S. by then-President Donald Trump over national-security concerns.

Microsoft also engaged in unsuccessful talks to buy social networking company Pinterest and chat startup Discord Inc.

After those deals fizzled, Microsoft decided to double down on investments into its gaming ambitions, one person familiar with Microsoft’s strategy said.

Since taking over as CEO in 2014, Mr. Nadella has spent more than $10 billion to buy more than a dozen game studios, including the companies responsible for the Doom franchise and Minecraft.

In October, at the Journal’s WSJ Tech Live conference, Mr. Spencer, the Microsoft gaming chief, said the company wasn’t slowing down on its gaming acquisition spree. “We’re always out there looking for people who we think would be a good match and teams that would be a good match with our strategy, so we’re definitely not done,” Mr. Spencer said.


Activision Blizzard has been under intense pressure from shareholders, business partners, and others over workplace misconduct allegations.PHOTO: BING GUAN/BLOOMBERG NEWS
Microsoft’s gaming strategy increasingly is focused on growing its subscription business, called Game Pass, which for a monthly fee lets gamers have access to a catalog of games. In the past, Mr. Nadella has likened the Game Pass strategy to the “ Netflix for games.” Microsoft announced early last year that Game Pass had 18 million subscribers. With the Activision announcement on Tuesday, Microsoft said it now has 25 million subscribers.

Microsoft on Tuesday said the deal would bolster its Game Pass portfolio, with plans to bring Activision games into the subscription service. With Activision, Microsoft said it would have 30 internal game development studies. The transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies, Microsoft said, and is expected to close by July 2023.

Buying Activision would increase Microsoft’s videogame revenue by about half. Analysts estimate that Activision’s sales in 2021 totaled $8.7 billion, according to FactSet, while Microsoft reported $15.4 billion in gaming revenue for the fiscal year through June, accounting for about 9% of its total.

Activision’s stock had been rising, amid the videogame industry’s pandemic surge, until the July lawsuit by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which alleged gender pay disparity and sexual harassment at the company. Activision has disputed the department’s allegations

The company also has been under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Journal reported in September, with a specific focus on Mr. Kotick, who was separately subpoenaed along with other senior executives. Activision has said it is cooperating with the SEC.

Activision also said in September it had agreed to settle a two-year-long probe of sexual harassment claims by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for $18 million. The settlement is pending a judge’s approval.

The Journal’s investigative article in November, which cited interviews and internal documents, showed that Mr. Kotick didn’t inform the board of sexual misconduct allegations that he was aware of, including rape, against managers across the company. It also detailed misconduct allegations against Mr. Kotick, including when an assistant complained in 2006 that he had threatened in a voice mail to have her killed.

Activision has said the Journal’s reporting gave a misleading view of the company and its CEO. Mr. Kotick has said he was transparent with his board, which issued a statement supporting him. An Activision spokeswoman has said that he wouldn’t have been informed of every report of misconduct and that Mr. Kotick regrets the alleged incident with his assistant.

The Journal’s article Monday reported that Activision had collected 700 reports of employee concern over misconduct and other issues since July. A summary of the company’s personnel issues was prepared before the December holidays but Mr. Kotick held it back, believing it would make the company’s workplace problems seem bigger than is already known, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

An Activision spokeswoman disputed the 700 figure and said employee comments included statements on social media and ranges from benign workplace concerns to “a small number” of potentially serious assertions, which the company investigated. She said “the assertion regarding Mr. Kotick is untrue.”

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From: Sr K2/17/2022 7:03:46 PM
   of 1991
 
WSJ NEWS EXCLUSIVE

Regulators Widen Activision Blizzard Probes Over Workplace Issues

SEC subpoenas more current and former executives; California agency seeks additional information on CEO Bobby Kotick and board’s handling of workplace misconduct allegations

Federal and state regulators have widened their investigations into how Activision Blizzard Inc.’s ATVI -0.60% leadership handled workplace misconduct claims, according to documents and people familiar with the probes, as the videogame giant works to complete a planned $75 billion sale to Microsoft Corp. MSFT -2.93%

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, a state watchdog agency, has subpoenaed Activision’s directors related to the company’s handling of the workplace issues, according to people familiar with the matter. It also has subpoenaed police departments in the Los Angeles-area for any records they have related to longtime Chief Executive Bobby Kotick and 18 other current and former Activision employees, according to the people and to documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The department’s move represents an escalation of its original complaint against Activision, which was made public in July. That complaint alleged sexual harassment and gender-pay disparity across the company’s roughly 10,000 employees, but didn’t specifically mention Mr. Kotick, except regarding his salary, or Activision’s directors.

Activision has disputed the department’s allegations and an Activision spokeswoman called the subpoenas to police departments an “extraordinary fishing expedition.”

Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission has sent an additional subpoena to Activision as part of an investigation it launched last year into the company’s handling of sexual harassment allegations. The SEC, as part of that investigation subpoenaed several senior Activision executives, the Journal reported in September, including Mr. Kotick, who has led Activision for more than 30 years. Activision has said it is cooperating with the SEC probe.


Blizzard Entertainment’s campus in Irvine, Calif. Activision is working to complete a planned $75 billion sale to Microsoft Corp.PHOTO: MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS
The more recent subpoena, viewed by the Journal, asked for records and communications from a much longer list of current and former executives than the SEC previously sought, and dating back farther, to 2016.

Both regulatory moves appear to have come after Santa Monica, Calif.-based Activision, producer of hit game franchises including World of Warcraft and Candy Crush, struck a deal to be acquired for $75 billion in cash by Microsoft. The SEC subpoena is dated Jan. 18, the day the two companies announced the deal. A subpoena from the California regulator to the Los Angeles Police Department is dated two days later.

Activision has moved in Los Angeles County Superior Court to quash the agency’s subpoenas to police departments, court records show. The Activision spokeswoman, Helaine Klasky, said those subpoenas are “calculated to harass, annoy and embarrass rather than serve any legitimate purpose.” She declined to comment on the California agency’s subpoenas of Activision’s directors and on the SEC’s move.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Fair Employment and Housing didn’t respond to a request for comment on Activision’s assertion.

Spokesmen for the SEC and Microsoft declined to comment.

Microsoft’s move to acquire Activision will significantly expand the software giant’s videogame capabilities. Mr. Kotick isn’t expected to remain at Microsoft after the acquisition closes, which the companies anticipated will be in 2023, the Journal has reported, citing people familiar with those plans. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission will be reviewing the deal, the Journal has reported.

The deal came together after a November investigative article in the Journal that reported that Mr. Kotick knew of sexual misconduct allegations across the company and didn’t inform the board of directors. The story also detailed a harassment allegation against Mr. Kotick from 2006, when an assistant complained that he had threatened in a voicemail to have her killed.

In January, the Journal reported that Activision had collected about 700 reports of employee concern over misconduct and other issues across the company.


BlizzCon, Activision’s annual company convention, was held in 2018 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is seeking police documents relating to BlizzCon between 2015 and 2019.PHOTO: BUSINESS WIRE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

An Activision spokeswoman has called the Journal’s reporting “misleading” and said Mr. Kotick deeply regrets the incident with his assistant. She disputed the 700 figure, saying some of the issues reported were benign and duplicate cases. Activision has announced a number of steps it says are aimed at improving its workplace and has fired or pushed out dozens of employees as part of an internal investigation.

Mr. Kotick said in a November interview that he was transparent with his board of directors. The board has publicly supported Mr. Kotick, as well as the deal with Microsoft.

Activision said in September that it had reached an $18 million settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionto resolve a separate investigation by that agency into workplace misconduct allegations. The settlement has yet to be approved by a judge.

Activision and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have been locked in a monthslong legal battle with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing over that settlement after the California agency sought to block it, saying the agreement could ruin the state’s case. A judge ruled against the department, which is appealing.

After the Journal’s November article, nearly a fifth of Activision’s employees signed a petition calling for Mr. Kotick to resign, and a number of business partners and shareholders expressed concerns. By the time of the Microsoft deal announcement, Activision’s stock price had fallen more than 30% since the California regulatory’s complaint was made public in July.

Ms. Klasky said in her statement that “every single report the company receives matters, and we have significantly increased the resources available to ensure that we can quickly and thoroughly look into each one.” She said the company’s expanded Ethics & Compliance team has completed reviews of more than 90% of internal reports since July.

If the government investigations into Activision aren’t resolved before the Microsoft deal closes, Microsoft will then have to take them on, according to corporate governance and mergers and acquisitions experts.

Asked about Activision’s workplace issues when the deal was announced, Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer told the Journal: “We see the progress that they’re making that was pretty fundamental to us deciding to go forward here.”

Any new movement in those probes is unlikely to derail the deal, except if regulators were to uncover something that affected the value of Activision, a “material adverse change,” said Charles Elson, founding director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware.

In the case of Activision and Microsoft, Microsoft is required to pay Activision a breakup fee of about $3 billion after April 18, 2023, if the company walks away, securities filings show. Activision, meanwhile, has to pay about $2.3 billion if it abandons the deal.

In the California probe, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing is looking into directors’ knowledge and handling of the sexual harassment and other allegations internally over the years, and how the directors worked with executives at the company, according to the people familiar with the investigation.

It couldn’t be learned why exactly the department is seeking police records. In a court filing, the department said it was prompted by information in “public reporting,” including by the Journal, but didn’t elaborate.


Activision Blizzard headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif. Microsoft’s move to acquire Activision will significantly expand the software giant’s videogame capabilities.PHOTO: BING GUAN/BLOOMBERG NEWS
A subpoena to the Los Angeles Police Department, reviewed by the Journal, shows the agency is asking for “documents related to any complaints and/or criminal investigations,” for 19 current and former Activision employees, including Mr. Kotick. The agency also is asking for documents related to any complaints, calls for service or criminal investigations related to Activision’s annual company convention known as BlizzCon, between 2015 and 2019. An LAPD spokeswoman declined to comment.

The state agency has investigated alleged misbehavior at California companies in recent years, and in December announced a settlement of more than $100 million with Activision rival Riot Games, a subsidiary of China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. Initially, Riot had proposed a settlement of $10 million, according to a department press release.

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From: Sr K3/17/2022 10:35:58 PM
   of 1991
 
Barry Diller’s Gambling License Is Delayed by Regulator Over Investigation Into Trading
Nevada Gaming Commission’s decision follows news of an SEC investigation into the MGM Resorts stakeholder


The gambling regulator is delaying licensing for Barry Diller, following the launch of federal investigations into bets he and other investors made on videogame company Activision Blizzard shares before it agreed to be acquired by Microsoft.PHOTO: MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS

By Katherine Sayre

Updated Mar. 17, 2022 6:27 pm ET

The top gambling regulator in Nevada on Thursday delayed MGM Resorts International stakeholder Barry Diller’s licensing after federal authorities launched insider-trading investigations into his share purchases of Activision Blizzard Inc.

Nevada Gaming Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Togliatti in a public meeting ordered that Mr. Diller’s application to be in the casino industry undergo “further fact-finding and investigation” by the state’s Gaming Control Board. The board’s staff investigates the backgrounds of executives and major shareholders who must be licensed to operate in the state’s gambling industry. State regulators determine applicants’ “suitability” to be licensed, and their regulations are intended to prevent corruption or criminal activity in the industry.

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From: Sr K4/21/2022 1:08:53 PM
   of 1991
 
Activision Blizzard Plans to Add Two Women to Its Board

Move comes after allegations of sexual misconduct at the videogame maker, which has agreed to be bought by Microsoft

Activision Blizzard Inc. plans to add two women to its board of directors.PHOTO: XING YUN/COSTFOTO/DDP/ZUMA PRESS

By Will Feuer

and Sarah E. Needleman

Updated Apr. 21, 2022 11:59 am ET

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(2 minutes)

Activision Blizzard said it is moving to add two women to its board of directors, months after allegations of workplace discrimination and a toxic culture at the videogame company led to lawsuits and federal investigations.

The company said it has elected Lulu Cheng Meservey, a communications executive at newsletter platform Substack, to the board and plans to nominate Bacardi Ltd. executive Kerry Carrto the board at the company’s 2022 annual meeting. Current board members Hendrik J. Hartong III and Casey Wasserman won’t stand for re-election, the company said.

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