New NYC lawsuit alleges Activision CEO rushed Microsoft acquisition to escape liability

Kip Kniskern

Call of Duty: Vanguard video game on Xbox One and Xbox Series X

The New York City Employees’ Retirement System, which owns Activision stock, has filed suit against the gaming company, seeking to open the company’s books and expose potential wrongdoing by CEO Bobby Kotick, who has been under fire for knowingly allowing sexual misconduct at the company.

The lawsuit, a “220 complaint” that allows stockholders “to press companies to open their books and potentially expose wrongdoing,” according to a report on Axios, seeks access to “a long list” of documents, saying that it should have been clear to Activision’s board that Kotick was unfit to negotiate the sale:

  • New York says the Microsoft deal, which is pending regulator approval, allows “Kotick and his fellow directors a means to escape liability for their egregious breaches of fiduciary duty.”
  • It also says Microsoft’s $95/share offer undervalues the company, which was trading at close to that before Activision’s public scandals began last summer.

Activision has been the subject of a number of lawsuits and investigations, as it laid out in its latest quarterly filing, released yesterday, including a class action suit, four active lawsuits over the Microsoft acquisition, two 220 lawsuits like the one filed by the NYC Employees’ Retirement System, and an SEC / DOJ investigation and insider trading inquiries.

The suit doesn’t make things any easier for Microsoft, who still face regulatory approval for the $68 billion acquisition, set to become final sometime next year.