Recently, SOC Investment Group publicly urged Activision Blizzard shareholders to vote against Activision Blizzard executive board members, including CEO Bobby Kotick, that are currently up for re-election. Within their filing, SOC asserted that Bobby Kotick, Brian Kelly, Robert Morgado, Robert Corti, Barry Meyer and Peter Nolan all “failed either to recognize that Activision Blizzard for years maintained the alleged unsafe workplaces exhibiting frequent and repeated sexual harassment, sexual assault, and gender discrimination, or to appropriately address the Company’s alleged ‘frat house’ culture once it was publicly revealed.” Here, the SOC is citing the sexual assault and gender discrimination lawsuits filed against Activision Blizzard, specifically both the ongoing California’s Department of Fair Employment and Equal Housing lawsuit and the settled U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit as well. Furthermore, New York City shareholders are also suing Activision Blizzard over executives failing their fiduciary duties, like greatly harming the company value thereby significantly limiting the profits created by the Microsoft acquisition.
In response to the SOC’s public appeal for Activision board members to be replaced, Activision Blizzard retorted that SOC’s filing contained “blatant misrepresentations”. Activision Blizzard asserts that the company “made progress in ensuring there are diverse slates of candidates for all open positions” by highlighting new hires, namely a senior director of equal employment opportunity, equity and compliance, and a chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. Additionally, Activision Blizzard continues by stating that the SOC propagated “half-truths”, meaning the SOC took pertinent information within the investigations out of context, resulting in a misrepresentation of the company.
Therefore, Activision Blizzard claims SOC “not only fails to address the significant workplace progress the board has overseen to enhance the company’s culture, but also mischaracterizes the board’s governance practices and misrepresents the outcome of prior shareholder votes to fit its false narrative.” While it seems Activision Blizzard is constantly producing turmoil, it should be noted that Activision Blizzard shareholders overwhelmingly support the Microsoft acquisition, meaning some shareholders that are voting on the company’s board might forgive some of the lawsuits due to the success of obtaining a merger that increased Activision Blizzard stock values.