We've been treated to a few new details about Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, with a regulatory filing revealing that Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer first initiated talks about the idea back in November 2021.
But why is that particularly interesting? Well, the day quoted in the report is November 19th, which is just three days after The Wall Street Journal published a report claiming that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick had been aware of sexual misconduct allegations for years at the company, and one day after Spencer reportedly told Xbox employees that Microsoft was “evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard".
Kotick has denied the WSJ allegations, calling them an "inaccurate and misleading view", with the Activision Blizzard board of directors stating back in November that they "remain confident in Bobby Kotick's leadership" to make ActiBlizz "the most welcoming and inclusive company in the industry."
Here's what the filing has to say about the beginning of the acquisition talks:
"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."
"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."
It's been pointed out by a few industry observers that Microsoft could have used Activision Blizzard's subsequent 11% drop in stock following the WSJ report as a chance to be opportunistic, hence the timely nature of the discussion.
In regards to Kotick, the official line from Microsoft is that the Activision Blizzard CEO will be sticking around indefinitely, but it's been reported that he will likely be leaving his role as soon as the Microsoft acquisition is finalised.
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