Microsoft-Activision: US senators worried about the acquisition press the FTC

Microsoft-Activision: US senators worried about the acquisition press the FTC


It appears that Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard also represents an element of concern for politics in the US, with some American senators putting some pressure on the FTC, the body that is currently evaluating the procedure, claiming to block it if critical elements emerge.

These are four Senators in particular: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker and Sheldon Whitehouse, who have sent a letter to the FTC President, Lina Khan, because watch the procedure carefully, according to the Wall Street Journal. "We are very concerned about the progressive consolidation of the technology industries and the impact this may have on workers," she reads in the letter.

Activision, the facade of the headquarters According to what has emerged, it seems that the most critical point for politicians is the management of internal behaviors at Activision following complaints about mistreatment and abuse suffered by workers, as well as to the fact that he plans to keep Bobby Kotick as CEO until the closing of the operation scheduled for 2023, in addition to the large "severance pay" that the head of Activision Blizzard would pocket.

"This lack of stance although shareholders, employees and the public are demanding that Kotick be held accountable for the culture he has created, it would be an unacceptable result in Microsoft's proposed acquisition ", reads the letter from the senators in question, in addition to evaluating the termination of the agreement in the event that the workers cannot negotiate with the company.

On the latter aspect, Microsoft has already indicated that it does not want to oppose the formation of workers' unions within Activision Blizzard. As for focusing on the toxicity aspect of Activision's workplace, some argue it's a less critical factor for the FTC than the risk of over-centralization of power or monopoly, so it's difficult evaluate, at the moment, how much weight such a request by the policy might have in examining the case.

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Activision insider trading investigation expands

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating a breakfast meeting between Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and investor Alexander von Furstenberg, as part of its probe into possible insider trading related to Microsoft's $59 billion takeover bid for Activision, per the WSJ.

Why it matters: There's often unusual options trading activity ahead of big merger announcements, but the Feds either look the other way or nab small-timers. If there's a real case to be made here, it would be the highest-profile in memory.

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Background: Von Furstenberg and media moguls Barry Diller and David Geffen bought Activision options at $40 on Jan. 14, shortly after the breakfast and just four days before Microsoft said it would buy the gaming giant for $95 per share.

The defense: The 80-year-old Diller basically used an 'I'm not that dumb' defense in his statement to the WSJ, calling the situation a coincidence and argued he wouldn't have waited until so late in life 'to participate in so obvious a fraud.'

The bottom line: Activision and Microsoft each have billions of reasons not to terminate their deal, due to breakup fees, no matter how messy it may get.

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