Activision CEO to Receive $15 Million Payout if Fired
Embattled Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will receive $15 million if fired without cause, according to an SEC filing detailing some of the terms around Microsoft's planned $69 billion acquisition of Kotick's company (H/T Axios).
Under Kotick's watch — and with his knowledge, per reporting by the Wall Street Journal — Activision Blizzard experienced a culture of widespread sexual misconduct that has the company under investigation by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing and in the midst of settling a suit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Kotick himself has faced myriad calls for his resignation. He volunteered to take a pay cut in October in response to the scandals, and said he would forgo bonuses until the board saw improvement in company culture. This latest SEC filing shows that he could receive as much as $22 million stock in July or later, should that improvement materialize.
The filing also shows the board may extend Kotick's contract 12 months past its scheduled March 2023 expiration. This is despite reports Kotick would leave Activision Blizzard once the Microsoft merger is finalized. He owns or has the right to acquire 6.5 million shares in Activision Blizzard, which will be worth $619 million at the $95/share Microsoft paid in the acquisition.
Activision Blizzard is prohibited from entering a collective bargaining agreement with employees as part of the deal, per the filing. Microsoft itself would have to approve any such agreement. That may complicate unionization efforts underway among Raven Software quality assurance testers — Activision Blizzard owns that studio, and has so far demonstrated distaste for a possible union.