Activision Blizzard hit with $35M SEC penalty following violations probe

Kareem Anderson

Activision building 1

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission tagged Activision Blizzard with a $35 million dollar penalty following a probe into the publisher’s workplace misconduct procedures.

SEC essentially found that Activision Blizzard did not have adequate procedures in place to properly disclose workplace misconduct complaints to shareholders. During the probe, the SEC also stumbled across wording in Activision Blizzard’s separation documentation that tasks former employees with alerting the company when they receive information request from SEC or other investigative bodies, which is in violation of SEC whistleblower protection rules.

The Verge reached out to Activision Blizzard for comment on the ruling and obtained the following, “We are pleased to have amicably resolved this matter. As the order recognizes, we have enhanced our disclosure processes with regard to workplace reporting and updated our separation contract language.”

In addition, Activision Blizzard spokesperson Joe Christinat highlighted several sections of the SEC’s report that noted while the company had language which violated the SEC’s whistleblower standard in its disclosure forms, the company hadn’t enforced the clause.

Presumably, Activision Blizzard is looking to settle, negotiate or conclude any other outstanding legal entanglements as it heads into the final stretch of its Microsoft merger, and it’ll be interesting to see how its potentially new owner handles similar contracts in the future.