Whether or not Activision Blizzard founder and CEO Bobby Kotick stays with the company, should the proposed sale to Microsoft go through, is one of many questions that remains unanswered about the deal. We still don’t know what will happen, but Activision Blizzard recently updated a proxy filing with the US government, and it specifically mentions that management at Activision Blizzard and Microsoft have not sat down to discuss Kotick’s employment status as of yet.
“No discussions or negotiations regarding post-closing employment arrangements with Microsoft occurred between Microsoft and Mr. Kotick prior to the approval and execution of the merger agreement and the transactions contemplated thereby, or have occurred subsequent to such approval and execution, through the date hereof,” the statement says, as spotted by Stephen Totilo of Axios.
Although no official announcement has been made about Kotick’s future with Activision Blizzard should the deal be finalized, the Wall Street Journal reported that Kotick will leave. The official word is that Kotick will stay on at Activision Blizzard as its CEO for the time being, but behind the scenes, management at Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have reportedly agreed that Kotick will leave when the deal is done.
The silence on this matter and others is seemingly connected to how the deal remains pending, subject to approval from the US government. Or there could be other factors at play. Recently, four US Senators–including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren–wrote a letter to the FTC to say they are “deeply concerned” about the proposed buyout.
The lawmakers said the FTC ought to find out if Microsoft’s proposed buyout of Activision Blizzard could “exacerbate the flurry of sexual-abuse, harassment and retaliation allegations at Activision stemming from recent federal and state investigations.”
The senators also said they are concerned that Kotick will remain with the company should the deal go through. Kotick is accused of, among other things, knowing about and covering up reports of sexual harassment. Kotick is also said to have threatened to kill an assistant. Staff at Activision Blizzard have, for months, called for Kotick to step down.
Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, believes that the deal will go through, which is not a surprise. He said in an interview that, if the deal should materialize, Microsoft will still be number three in terms of market share.
In January, Microsoft announced it was planning to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, a figure that has since climbed to $75 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. This is by far Microsoft’s biggest acquisition ever–its next biggest was the $26.2 billion it paid for Skype in 2016. It’s one of the biggest acquisitions in the history of acquisitions across all business fields.
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