On November 16, the Wall Street Journal reported that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick knew about the sexual assault and misconduct allegations happening at the company but did not disclose that info to the company’s board. Just three days later, on November 19, CEO of Microsoft Gaming Phil Spencer initiated a call with Kotick that would lead to Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.
These details and more were revealed in a regulatory filing that was shared via CNBC and show that Spencer had been discussing “a different topic” before telling Kotick that Microsoft wanted to talk to him about strategic opportunities between the two companies.
“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 filing reads. “In a call on November 20, 2021, between Messrs. Kotick and Nadella, Mr. Nadella indicated that Microsoft was interested in exploring a strategic combination with Activision Blizzard.”
On November 18, Spencer sent an e-mail to staff saying he is “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” at Activision Blizzard and that he is “evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments.”
On November 26, Microsoft presented an initial offer of $80 per share – which would have been a 32% premium of Activision Blizzard stock price on November 25 – but the two companies would negotiate and the price would rise to $95 per share.
While the deal was officially announced on January 18, the filing states that Kotick had reached out to “a handful of other companies before the announcement” and that an unnamed person had even discussed purchasing the Blizzard part of Activision Blizzard or making parts or all of Activision Blizzard private.
Elsewhere in the filing, it is also says that Microsoft would have to pay anywhere from $2 billion to $3 billion if the deal falls through due to an “injunction arising from antitrust laws.” Additionally, a list of “shares of Activision Blizzard common stock beneficially owned” shows that Kotick currently owns 4,317,285 million shares. If he were to leave the company and be bought out, he could gain, according to the $95 per share price, $410,142,075.
WSJ previously noted that sources familiar with the deal say that Kotick will leave the company following the completion of the deal when it closes in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023.
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