Yesterday‘s announcement that Activision Blizzard was being acquired by Microsoft, pending approval, surprised many in gaming and tech. Now since the announcement, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has given an interview to VentureBeat on the deal and what was behind it. Meanwhile, more details are out on the road to the major deal.
Many considered Activision Blizzard’s stock price drops in 2021 were due to the various allegations of discrimination, a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, land even allegations of covering up instances of abusive actions in the workplace. However, in the interview, Kotick says that the reasons for entering talks to sell the company was about company growth and plans for the future. Thinking about the long-term outlook, where things are going in terms of the cloud and additional production, they started considering a sale.
He says that discussion with Microsoft’s Phil Spencer happened at the right time with the proposed sale price being about 45% over the stock price. When asked if the sexual harassment investigation and lawsuits had any impact on it, as it did seem to affect the stock price, Kotick asserts that “I think what affected the stock price more than that is pushing out Overwatch and Diablo. And then I think people started to see that this year’s Call of Duty wasn’t performing as well,“ he names the California DFEH filing and the Wall Street Journal article as contributing factors but downplays the impact saying “ stocks go up and down for a variety of reasons. I think our view is that at $95 a share with all cash, that’s a really great deal for our shareholders''.
Phil Spencer, now named CEO of Microsoft Gaming, will be the person to whom Activision Blizzard answers to once the deal goes through. Spencer declared that Microsoft is committed to inclusion in his reaction to the announcement, which mostly focused on future plans and the deal itself. On the legal issues and workplace matters, Spencer had previously stated that Microsoft was "reevaluating" its relationship with Activision Blizzard.
Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier shared that according to what he has heard, employees have some optimism about the management change and Xbox One Studios positive culture. However, there is some anger for Bobby Kotick probably headed towards an exit with a big payday. But the employees are still determined to keep organizing and not give up the fight for better conditions. Associates of A Better ABK have also confirmed continued efforts.
Some sentiments I’ve heard from Activision Blizzard employees today:- Optimism about management changes and the positive culture at several Xbox-owned studios- Fury toward Microsoft for giving Bobby Kotick a big payday and soft exit- Determination to keep organizing— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) January 18, 2022
The Wall Street Journal reports that Kotick wanted to change the image of the company and considered other buyers. He also considered potentially buying media outlets like Kotaku or PC Gamer to change the narrative.
The deal is, if it passes regulation approval, expected to be final next year.