U.S. senators call for investigation into Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition

by Adam Fitch  ·  Updated 
U.S. senators call for investigation into Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition

Four senators in the United States have penned a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) calling for the planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft to be investigated.

The letter: The senators have questioned whether the transaction would worsen the allegations and lawsuits against the Call of Duty and Overwatch developer.

  • The message, which has reportedly been seen by The Wall Street Journal, was signed by Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Sheldon Whitehouse.
  • It urges FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan to take a look into the planned acquisition to see whether it could aggravate the ongoing allegations and legal action against Activision Blizzard.
  • The letter makes a point of highlighting that the deal, as it stands, will see Bobby Kotick retain his position as Activision Blizzard CEO until 2023 and receive a significant payout from his departure.
  • "This lack of accountability, despite shareholders, employees, and the public calling for Kotick to be held responsible for the culture he created, would be an unacceptable result of the proposed Microsoft acquisition," the letter reads.

State of play: Though Activision Blizzard recently had an $18M settlement approved by a judge, the video game giant is still not in the good books of many.

  • The company has been subject to a plethora of accusations and lawsuits due to claims of sexual harassment, misconduct, and discrimination. A new suit alleging "rampant sexism" was filed on March 23, for example.
  • There have been calls from almost 1,900 employees and even a group of shareholders for Kotick to resign as CEO, especially due to the company's responses to the accounts of mistreatment that surfaced.
  • The proposed acquisition is worth almost $69B, the equivalent value of buying each of the 32 NHL teams twice over, each of the 30 MLB teams, or 29 NBA teams.
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