The author of the complaint is more precise New York City Employees Retirement System (NYCERS), one of the incarnations of the pension system founded by the state of New York in 1920. Present in the capital of Activision Blizzard, this pension fund accuses Bobby Kotick of speeding up the takeover bid that Microsoft had made to escape responsibility for errors , for which he is charged as head of the company. In particular, Bobby Kotick was directly implicated in November last year by a Wall Street Journal investigation, according to which Kotick had protected various employees accused of misconduct, and also reported an episode in which the CEO allegedly threatened an assistant with life over the phone. To complete the portrait of the character, we also recently learned from the Wall Street Journal, again him, that a former companion to Kotick in 2014 obtained a truce that prevented him from addressing her in the ensuing harassment case.
Filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery, the NYCERS trial is trying to pressure companies to open their books and expose misdemeanors, if any. In addition to Kotick’s exit door and golden parachute, the pension fund believes that Activision Blizzard’s eagerness to do business with Microsoft has hurt the company’s value. An argument that is already harder to swallow, as Microsoft has put $ 68.7 billion on the table at the rate of an offer of $ 95.5 per share. shares. It should also be remembered that more than 98% of shareholders have already happily voted for the takeover, obviously satisfied with this historic amount.
“New York City requires Activision to provide a long list of documents, including documents regarding the agreement with Microsoft, information on five potential buyers mentioned in the official description of the Activision sales negotiations, and notes from the Board of Directors“, reports the Axios website, which revealed the existence of this complaint. The New York Foundation hopes to obtain internal documents that will allow Bobby Kotick to be implicated in sexual offense cases that have attracted attention since the summer.
One thing is for sure, Bobby Kotick and Phil Spencer of Microsoft have themselves acknowledged that negotiations were unusually fast for an operation of this caliber. According to executives, the exchanges that led to this historic deal began only in November last year, at the exact time when the head of Activision Blizzard was under pressure like never before after the groundbreaking investigation by the Wall Street Journal.
“Given Kotick’s personal responsibility and liability for deteriorating working conditions in Activision, it should have been clear to the Board of Directors that he was unfit to negotiate a sale of the company.“, criticizes the complaint. NYCERS condemns the fact that this quick deal allows”Kotick and his co-directors to escape responsibility for their blatant breach of their fiduciary duty“, We can read.
“Microsoft began acquisition negotiations on November 19, 2021, but the board did not hold a meeting to discuss Microsoft’s approach until two weeks later, on December 1, 2021. Between those two dates without board approval or actual Microsoft offer, Kotick happily informed Microsoft that it would be willing to accept an offer in the range of $ 90 to $ 105 per. shares.“, Reads the complaint.
“The speed with which Kotick moved to not only set a bid ceiling, but to execute a deal, was predictable. The merger not only offered Kotick and his co-directors a way to escape responsibility for their obvious breach of fiduciary duty, but it also offered Kotick the opportunity for a significant undivided profit.“, she adds.
“We do not agree with the allegations in this complaint and look forward to presenting our case to the Court.”A representative of Activison Blizzard replied to the Games Industry page.
For Activision Blizzard, the New York claim comes on top of complaints from the state of California that started the whole affair, relentless pressure from its activist staff, who are still fighting for internal reforms and a union, or even an investigation from Securities and Exchange Commission, US Federal Financial Markets Authority. It is in this context that Federal Trade Commissionthe agency responsible for controlling anti-competitive business practices and other monopolistic situations is currently examining Microsoft’s takeover bids.
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