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Pension Fund Sues To Stop Activision’s $69 Billion Sale To Microsoft

 |  November 14, 2022

A Swedish state-run pension fund sued Activision Blizzard Inc. and Microsoft Corp., claiming their planned $69 billion merger was rigged to exploit the beleaguered gaming giant’s sexual harassment crisis and protect its CEO.

The 205-page complaint also targets embattled Activision chief Bobby Kotick, plus current and ex-members of its board. It accuses them of engineering an underpriced deal in exchange for terms allowing Kotick to stay at the helm, at least until the transaction closes after a drawn-out regulatory review.

Knowing Activision and Kotick were “weak and wounded,” Microsoft used the leverage created by the scandal to acquire Activision “at a bargain price,” at an inopportune time, and following a sham process, according to the proposed class action. It was made public Nov. 10 in Delaware’s Chancery Court.

Read more: EU Watchdog Probe Microsoft’s $69 Billion Activision Bid

“Microsoft knowingly exploited the harassment scandal and its commercial leverage over Activision precisely to offer Kotick a way to save his own skin,” the lawsuit says. “It conspired with Kotick and the board to help them evade the personal and professional consequences of that scandal.”

Joe Christinat, a spokesman for Activision, defended the transaction Monday.

“This is a great deal for shareholders,” Christinat told Bloomberg Law. “We garnered 98% approval of votes cast. The board went through a thorough process to decide the right move for employees, shareholders, and players.”

A spokesperson for Microsoft told Bloomberg Law in a statement that “our proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard was negotiated lawfully and fairly.”