The activist investor group calling for the ouster of Activision CEO Bobby Kotick is reportedly sounding the alarm on his massive payout from the Microsoft deal


Bobby Kotick, chief executive officer of Activision Blizzard Inc., attends the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 7, 2015 in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard.

  • SOC, an activist investor group, is sounding the alarm over Activision CEO Bobby Kotick’s massive payout.
  • Kotick is expected to step down after the Microsoft deal closes, according to the WSJ and Axios.
  • Based on Activision’s latest annual filing, Kotick could receive as much as $293 million in cash and in stock.
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An activist investor group that called for the ouster of Activision CEO Bobby Kotick is sounding the alarm on the massive payout he is due after the blockbuster Microsoft takeover closes.

Before the record all-cash $68.7 billion acquisition was announced Tuesday, SOC had urged Activision’s board to kick out Kotick over allegations he allowed widespread sexual harassment to persist at the company he has led since 2008.

But he remained in charge and is now set to exit only after Microsoft takes over, according to The Wall Street Journal and Axios. So SOC is concerned that Kotick’s massive payout will change his legacy.

“Now that I think it’s highly likely that he will retire once the deal is through, what are the accountability mechanisms for his years of leadership of the company?” Dieter Waizenegger, executive director of SOC told Axios. “I think that that needs to be linked to any golden parachute.”

Based on Activision’s latest annual filing, Kotick could receive as much as $293 million in cash and in stock, if he departs after a change in control of the company around the middle of 2023 — roughly the time the deal is expected to close.

Waizenegger also told Axios he hopes Activision will overhaul its board of directors, though acknowledged that the Microsoft acquisition makes this more complicated.

Activision is the video-game publisher behind the “Call of Duty” franchise. The purchase agreement marks Microsoft’s largest-ever acquisition and the largest acquisition of a video-game company in history.

It came after Activision’s stock price sold off last year amid sexual harassment claims. A California regulator sued Activision in July over the alleged harassment, and more than 1,800 employees signed a public letter in November petitioning for Kotick’s resignation. SOC published its own letter in the same month urging Activision board members to let Kotick out the door.



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