New York City sues Activision Blizzard over Microsoft sale

New York City sues Activision Blizzard over Microsoft sale

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Gaming giant Activision Blizzard Inc. is being sued yet again, this time by the New York City Employees’ Retirement System and pension fund.

The suit, first reported by Axios today, is focused on Chief Executive Bobby Kotick, a man who has been in the spotlight for some time regarding what was called a “frat boy” culture at the company, where a blind eye was turned on numerous occasions when sexism and sexual misconduct were pervasive.

The lawsuit accused Kotick of being “unfit” to lead the company as it negotiated its sale to Microsoft Corp. earlier this year for a staggering $68.7 billion. At the time, this was the biggest sale ever in the tech industry in terms of raw numbers.

The plaintiffs, many of whom are teachers, police and firefighters who have stock in Activision Blizzard, have stated that Kotick had “personal responsibility and liability for Activision’s broken workplace.” The suit claims that by selling to Microsoft, Kotick and his fellow directors attempted to “escape liability for their egregious breaches of fiduciary duty.”

Kotick is no stranger to lawsuits. At the end of March this year, a judge in California approved an $18 million settlement over what went down in the company over the years regarding the “frat boy” culture. Just recently, another lawsuit was filed by a family after a woman killed herself, an act blamed on the sexual harassment she suffered when working at the company.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has also said it’s investigating Activision Blizzard with regard to “disclosures on employment matters and related issues.” There have been other lawsuits as well.

Critics have said that it was this tsunami of problems at the company that compelled Kotick to sell to Microsoft, but now the suit claims that the price tag on Activision Blizzard was too low and that was because of the problematic state the company had found itself in. The plaintiffs are demanding to see documents relating to the Microsoft sale and want information on five other companies that were in line to buy Activision Blizzard.

Photo: Gordon Tarpley/Wiki

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