Activision’s Kotick may see windfall in buy

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Bobby Kotick, the chief govt of Activision Blizzard Inc., may stroll away with as a lot as $520 million after Microsoft Corp. completes its deliberate buy of the videogame firm.

In a securities submitting Friday, Activision stated Mr. Kotick would obtain $14.4 million in severance if he’s terminated or quits beneath a wide range of circumstances inside a yr of a change of management on the firm. It additionally stated Mr. Kotick owns 4.3 million shares and has the suitable to amass one other 2.2 million — probably value simply over $500 million mixed on the $95-a-share deal worth. Mr. Kotick acquired $826,549 in compensation in 2021, in keeping with the submitting.


Friday’s disclosure, in Activision’s annual proxy assertion, displays the corporate’s definitive accounting for Mr. Kotick’s stake within the firm and potential severance beneath present agreements. It offers buyers their finest window thus far into the potential windfall Mr. Kotick may obtain after the acquisition, which is pending regulatory approval. Activision and Microsoft have stated they anticipate it to shut by spring 2023.

Robert “Bobby” Kotick, president and chief govt officer of Activision Blizzard Inc. ( David Paul Morris/Bloomberg by way of Getty Photographs)

Activision stated on Thursday that its shareholders permitted the merger.

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Mr. Kotick, 59 years previous, is a part of a bunch of people that in 1991 acquired the belongings of the corporate that grew to become Activision Blizzard. He has been its CEO ever since, making him one of many longest-serving heads of a publicly traded tech firm. Mr. Kotick is anticipated to step down from Activision when the deal closes, the Journal reported in January.

A spokeswoman for Activision Blizzard stated that Mr. Kotick bought $50 million value of Activision inventory in 2013 and that he, together with all shareholders, bought the good thing about a 500% enhance in worth because of the firm’s “extraordinary efficiency” beneath his management over the previous eight years. All fairness he has earned relies on efficiency, she stated.


In its regulatory filings, Activision additionally stated Mr. Kotick would not stand to obtain any extra fairness, or to see his rights to any fairness awards accelerated, on account of the acquisition, or if he ought to depart within the wake of the deal.

 Robert Kotick, president and chief govt officer of Activision Blizzard Inc.  (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg by way of Getty Photographs / Getty Photographs)

Activision reported paying Mr. Kotick $155 million in 2020, largely in fairness, making him the second-highest paid CEO in The Wall Avenue Journal’s annual evaluation of compensation for S&P 500 CEOs. On the time, Robert Morgado, Activision’s lead unbiased director, stated the CEO’s pay was earned over 4 years and mirrored greater than three a long time of making worth for shareholders.

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Santa Monica, Calif.-based Activision, recognized for its Name of Responsibility, World of Warcraft and Sweet Crush franchises, has round 10,000 workers.

Mr. Kotick has been roiled in controversy, as state and federal regulators have accused Activision of mishandling worker sexual-harassment circumstances and gender-pay disparity. In October, Mr. Kotick stated he requested Activision’s board to scale back his wage to the minimal allowed beneath California legislation for salaried staff — $62,500 — and that he would forgo bonuses and fairness grants. The announcement was a part of a sequence of adjustments Mr. Kotick stated had been geared toward making the corporate extra various and safer for workers.


Mr. Kotick himself has been accused over time by a number of ladies of mistreatment each inside and out of doors the office, in keeping with folks acquainted with the incidents and paperwork, the Journal reported in November. Activision has stated that the Journal’s article paints “a deceptive view of Activision Blizzard and our CEO” and that it “ignores necessary adjustments beneath technique to make this the trade’s most welcoming and inclusive office.”

Microsoft Activision Blizzard

Bobby Kotick, chief govt officer of Activision Blizzard Inc and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella  (Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg by way of Getty Photographs  |   Microsoft / Getty Photographs)

In late March, a California decide permitted an $18 million settlement between Activision and the Equal Employment Alternative Fee, which has been investigating the corporate over allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation.

Ticker Safety Final Change Change %
MSFT MICROSOFT CORP. 277.52 -12.11 -4.18%

Individually, Activision was sued in July by California’s Division of Honest Employment and Housing for allegedly ignoring complaints by feminine workers of blatant harassment, discrimination and retaliation. The corporate has stated the lawsuit consists of distorted, and in lots of circumstances, false descriptions of its previous, and that it strives to pay all workers pretty.


The U.S. Securities and Change Fee is also investigating Activision over workers’ allegations of sexual misconduct and office discrimination. Activision has stated it’s cooperating with the company.

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at [email protected] and Theo Francis at [email protected]

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