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Activision Blizzard is playing ball with federal investigators looking into possible insider trading activities involving the video game company.
In an April 15 regulatory filing, Activision acknowledged that it had received a “voluntary request for information” from the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as a grand jury subpoena from the Justice Department—both tied to investigations into alleged insider trading ahead of the company’s announcement of a $69 billion merger with Microsoft. The Santa Monica-based game developer said it had “informed these authorities that it intends to be fully cooperative with these investigations.”
The matter at hand involves somes of the country’s wealthiest men—namely, music and film mogul David Geffen, media magnate Barry Diller and Diller’s stepson, Prince Alexander von Furstenberg—as well as Activision’s controversial CEO Bobby Kotick. As the Wall Street Journal reported last month, authorities are investigating Activision stock options trades made by the three investors days before the Microsoft deal was announced—and whether a brunch meeting between Kotick and von Furstenberg may have imparted material nonpublic information that influenced the options trades.
Diller has denied the allegations, telling the Journal that the investors “had zero knowledge of that transaction and it belies credulity to think that if we did we would have proceeded.” An Activision spokesperson, meanwhile, described Kotick’s meeting with von Furstenberg as “a social brunch with his friends at a popular restaurant” and insisted that the CEO “didn’t share any information with them regarding a possible transaction with Microsoft.”
In any case, the insider trading investigations are the latest in a whirlwind of controversies surrounding Activision—from ongoing probes (themselves cause for controversy) into an allegedly toxic workplace culture, to labor strife among its workforce, to antitrust concerns around the Microsoft deal itself. With new issues cropping up around the “Call of Duty” publisher seemingly every week, chances are that this isn’t the last time Activision appears in this space for the wrong reasons. — Samson Amore
The streaming service announced Tuesday that some big changes are on the way after a disastrous first quarter sank its share price. The company vowed to crack down on password sharing and all but confirmed it will add an ad-supported option.
Italian battery manufacturer Italvolt’s CEO announced a new gigafactory in SoCal's Imperial Valley that should produce enough batteries to supply 650,000 electric vehicles annually.
Libs of TikTok, a series of social media accounts that have gained popularity among conservative groups, is in the spotlight after a Washington Post report revealed the identity of the person behind them.
Adtech startup Trust, which provides emerging brands with digital advertising data insights, has raised $5 million in new equity funding from investors.
What We're Reading Elsewhere...
- Billie Jean King Enterprises, Elysian Park Ventures, R/GA Ventures and the Dodgers launch Trailblazer Venture Studio to empower women in sports.
- Furniture rental service Fernish makes its way to the East Coast.
- Honeybee Burger, owner of the plant-based burger chain of the same name, opens a flagship location in Venice.
- Ecommerce streamer talkshoplive partners with Maybelline and Seventeen magazine for prom season.
- EV battery makers are mining the ocean for minerals, but at what cost to the environment?
- Recycling robotics startup Glacier emerges from stealth with $4.5M and a system operating in an L.A. facility.
- Delta tests SpaceX's Starlink internet system in its airplanes.