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Xbox Boss Reportedly Began Acquisition Talks Days After Controversial Activision CEO Report

Xbox Boss Reportedly Began Acquisition Talks Days After Controversial Activision CEO Report

New regulatory findings have revealed the timings of the acquisition talks, which appear to have been very calculated.

Microsoft announcing their upcoming acquisition of Activision is very likely the biggest gaming news we’re going to get all year, and has raised so many questions about the future of the two companies, the exclusivity of certain IPs, and everything in between. It’s also been widely discussed whether the takeover could help Activision move past their turbulent history of sexual harassment and poor labour practices, which were made public in a series of lawsuits last year.

However, new reports are suggesting that the timings of the conversations surrounding the buyout were very opportunistic. As reported by CNBC, a regulatory filing which was released on Friday seems to indicate that Microsoft Gaming CEO, Phil Spencer, began conversations with Activision CEO, Bobby Kotick, just three days after it was revealed that Kotick was aware of the company’s sexual assault allegations well before they became public, and even once sent a death threat to a female employee.

“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 [Microsoft CEO] Mr. [Satya] Nadella the following day,” the regulatory filing reads. It then adds that on 20 November, Nadella told Kotick that he was interesting in “exploring a strategic combination with Activision Blizzard.”

Spencer’s supposed conversation with Kotick also took place just a day after he released a statement addressing the explosive report. At the time, he said he was “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions”, and that he was “evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments.”

After the acquisition announcement, Spencer also claimed that he looked forward to extending Microsoft’s “culture of proactive inclusion to the great teams across Activision Blizzard”, and said: “Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players. We deeply value individual studio cultures. We also believe that creative success and autonomy go hand-in-hand with treating every person with dignity and respect.”

It has been speculated that Kotick may step down as CEO once the acquisition is finalised, but nothing has been officially confirmed yet. 

Featured Image Credit: Xbox/Microsoft, Steven Simko via Wikimedia Commons

Topics: Activision, Activision Blizzard, Microsoft, Xbox, no article matching