Activision Blames Microsoft Acquisition for Failing to Hire Woman to Board

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Activision Blizzard is in violation of California state law because of the gender breakdown of its board of directors, and the company has blamed Microsoft's planned acquisition for its failure to comply.

California passed a law in 2019 requiring all companies with a board of more than six members to include at least three women among those members. Activision Blizzard had until the end of 2021 to add a third woman to its 10-person board, but did not do so.

"Since the company's current directors would cease to continue to serve on our Board of Directors upon consummation of our proposed transaction with Microsoft, we were unable to conclude the [hiring] process in 2021," Activision Blizzard told Axios. "We will be continuing our efforts to appoint a new female director."

It's unclear how much of an effect the acquisition could have had on the process of finding a new board member when the law in question dates back years before Microsoft approached Activision Blizzard about an acquisition.

Activision Blizzard is also at the center of multiple scandals regarding workplace harassment, particularly targeting women. It is in the process of settling a suit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and is still under investigation by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

The company's failure to comply with the law should mean $100,000 in fines for its first violation, and $300,000 in fines for each subsequent violation.