Microsoft-Activision Merger Challenged by U.S. Senators

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Samson is also a proud member of the Transgender Journalists Association. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

Microsoft-Activision Merger Challenged by U.S. Senators
Todd Bishop, GeekWire

Activision Blizzard’s $69 billion merger with Microsoft is being challenged by four U.S. senators, who are urging the Federal Trade Commission to reconsider approving the buyout because it wouldn’t benefit workers.

In a letter to the FTC Chair Lina Khan reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Sheldon Whitehouse said they are “deeply concerned about consolidation in the tech industry and its impact on workers.”


The senators noted that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick would be allowed to continue in his role and would receive a sizable exit package if the deal closes—despite calls from both employees and shareholders for Kotick to resign amid his handling of rampant sexual misconduct allegations against the company.

“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 senators wrote. The lawmakers also encouraged the FTC to reject the Microsoft-Activision deal if there’s proof the merger would make it harder for workers to negotiate with the companies.

In a response to dot.LA’s inquiries, Activision stated that it “is committed to a safe and equitable working environment for all employees and has invested significant resources to ensure we’re creating a model for the industry.”

Earlier this week, the company finalized a $18 million settlement with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that will create a fund for employees wronged by sexual harassment during the time at the company. But Activision continues to face federal and state investigations into its handling of workplace misconduct, as well as lawsuits from current and former employees.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal also reported on Thursday that the Justice Department is now investigating Kotick for potential insider trading violations. The CEO reportedly met with three shareholders accused of insider trading—media moguls David Geffen and Barry Diller, as well as Prince Alexander von Furstenberg—before the merger with Microsoft was announced. Shortly thereafter, the three investors are said to have purchased options trades worth nearly $60 million in profits.

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Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Samson is also a proud member of the Transgender Journalists Association. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

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Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Samson is also a proud member of the Transgender Journalists Association. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

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