Investigators began considering a meeting between Activision CEO Blizzard and the billionaire’s stepson a few days before the man, his father and another wealthy ally earned millions of shares when the company was bought out by Microsoft for $ 68.7 billion.
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether Activision CEO Bobby Kotyk and Alexander von Furstenberg violated insider trading laws when they met for breakfast in January before Furstenberg’s decision to buy shares in the company with his father, IAC chairman Barry Dealer and other media. tycoon David Geffen, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Three men bought shares for $ 40 each on Jan. 14, just days before Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard for $ 95 a share, bringing the three men $ 59 million in profits.
The dealer denied the allegations, telling WSJ that he and his associates knew nothing about the upcoming deal with Microsoft.
“We didn’t know about this deal, and we didn’t trust it that if we had done it, we would have continued,” Dealer said.
“It is also hard to believe that Mr. Kotzik, a perfect specialist, told them about the unfinished transaction during a social breakfast with Mr. von Furstenberg and his wife.”
Federal investigators consider Activision CEO Bobby Kotik (pictured) meeting with Alexander von Furstenberg a few days before Furstenberg decided to buy shares
von Furstenberg (left) bought the shares along with his father, IAC Chairman Barry Dealer (right) and fellow media mogul David Geffen for $ 40 a share on January 14
Geffen (above), Furstenberg and Dealer made $ 59 million after Microsoft acquired Blizzard Activision for $ 68.7 billion a few days later
The dealer served on the board of Coca-Cola along with Kotik, whom he called an “old friend.”
The dealer’s net worth is already $ 4.5 billion, while Geffen is worth about $ 10.3 billion and von Furstenburg is worth about $ 10.1 million.
An Activision spokesman said Kotsik was just enjoying brunch with his friends the day he met Furstenberg.
“He certainly did not share with them any information about a possible transaction with Microsoft,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Furstenberg and Geffen did not immediately respond to a DailyMail.com request for comment.
The three men are also under investigation for insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The SEC is also conducting a separate investigation against Kotik and other Activision executives on how they handled allegations of misconduct in the workplace that have plagued the company for the past year before being bought by Microsoft.
The dealer (pictured) was a member of the Coca-Cola Board along with Activision CEO Bobby Kotik, whom he called an “old friend”. He denies that he had any inside knowledge that Microsoft was preventing Activision Blizzard from buying when it made the purchase.
In September, the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched an investigation into the company, and two months later Kotyk, accused of mishandling harassment complaints, signaled that he would consider resigning if he could not be rectified quickly. company culture.
He has run the company for more than three decades.
The video game giant announced earlier this year that it had fired 37 employees since July 2021 and disciplined more than 40 others as it handles allegations of sexual harassment and other violations.
Last July, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the Fortune 500 company for what it called a “brotherhood” culture.
The agency says women make up only 20 percent of the workforce and receive less money, fewer promotions, more layoffs and suffer from “constant sexual harassment.”
“Male employees are proud to come to work from a hangover, play video games for a long period of time while at work, delegate their responsibilities to employees, joke about their sexual contact, talk openly about women’s bodies and joke about rape,” the lawsuit said. .
The suit named Blizzard President J. Allen Brack, who retired in August, and longtime World of Warcraft developer Alex Afrosiabi, who quietly left the company last year.
The video game giant has been under SEC targets for almost a year after reports of a toxic environment in the company’s workplace erupted with hundreds of allegations of harassment and discrimination.
It claims that during corporate events Afrasiabi had a so-called “Cosby Suite” at the hotel.
“During the company’s event (the annual convention called Blizz Con [sic]) Afrosiabi hit the co-workers by telling him [sic] he wanted to marry them, tried to kiss them and put his arms around them, ”the complaint reads.
“This was obvious to other male employees, including executives, who had to intervene and distract him from female employees. Afrosiabi was so famous that he participated in harassment of women that his number was nicknamed “Crosby Suite” [sic] after alleged rapist Bill Crosby [sic]. ‘
Activision Blizzard has agreed to pay $ 18 million to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to settle its sexual harassment investigation.
Over the past year, the company has received about 700 reports of employee concerns about sexual violence, harassment or other violations, in some cases isolated reports of the same incident, according to the WSJ.
Nearly 20 percent of Activision Blizzard’s 9,500 employees have signed a petition calling for Kotik’s resignation.