Activision Blizzard sued by city of New York

New York City has filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, alleging that it rushed the Microsoft acquisition to diminish ongoing investigations at the company. 

The lawsuit was filed earlier this week (May 2) by the city of New York’s retirement system, fire department pension fund, police pension fund and board of education retirement system. These groups currently own Activision Blizzard stock, and allege that recent decisions have damaged company value (thanks, Axios).

According to the suit, Activision’s merger “seriously undervalues” the company whilst simultaneously “extinguishing” claims put towards it by employees and in other lawsuits. The suit also says that CEO Bobby Kotick will be “able to escape liability and accountability entirely” thanks to the merger.

Back in November of last year a report emerged alleging that Kotick knew of the supposed sexual misconduct at the company since 2018. The report alleged Kotick didn’t tell the board about an alleged rape and out-of-court settlement, though Kotick said the claims were “inaccurate”.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick
Credit: Getty Images/ Drew Angerer

New York’s suit also states that the Activision Blizzard board’s decision to “entrust the negotiation process” of the Microsoft merger to Kotick is “inexcusable”, as he is set to receive a large payout when the deal is completed.

Earlier in the week the Activision Blizzard board also urged shareholders to vote against the self-publication of a report detailing the company’s progress regarding the slew of harassment and abuse allegations brought to light.

To investigate Activision Blizzard, the state of New York requested to see the company’s books and records on April 4 this year, with statute demanding the developer do so by April 11. Activision Blizzard only responded on April 14, violating Section 220 of the Delaware Code – the compilation of statutes for the state of Delaware.

This lawsuit adds to the growing number of ongoing suits faced by Activision Blizzard, not to mention the upcoming union election for the Game Workers Alliance, a union formed by Raven Software staff in reaction to Activision Blizzard’s treatment of employees at the studio.

In other news, former Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aimé has talked about how he tried to foster a positive company culture when he was there.