Activision-Blizzard Then-Parent Company Vivendi Almost Fired Bobby Kotick
In a report by Bloomberg, emails released as part of a shareholder lawsuit show that French company Vivendi, was considering ousting Activision CEO Bobby Kotick.
Kotick, who’s been the butt of jokes of gamers for the past few years due to the publisher’s “milking” of its franchises, has been at the helm of the company for 20 years. Vivendi’s top brass was planning to kick Kotick off rather than allow the CEO to be part of an investor group that pushed for a $8.2 billion deal that saw Activision buy itself from Vivendi.
The documents mention that Kotick handed an ultimatum of sorts, saying he won’t cooperate in any plan of Vivendi to raise funding through Activision that didn’t include selling a chunk of its shares to the group headed by himself and co-chairman Brian Kelly. Additionally, Kotick even mentioned that if the board didn’t agree with his notion, it can choose to fire him instead.
It’s no secret now that Activision managed to buy itself from Vivendi to form Acitivison-Blizzard. But for those wondering why Vivendi’s board didn’t push through, then-Activision chairman Philippe Capron states in an email that Kotick’s public image was “strong” around the time; while Vivendi General Counsel Frederic Crepin speculated that Kotick was hedging that Vivendi wouldn’t terminate him due to the market reacting negatively to the idea of an Activision-Blizzard without him heading the ship.
You can read more on the whole ordeal and why Kotick and Kelly are being sued by checking Bloomberg.
Regardless of how you feel of Kotick, I have to admit, the guy has some brass balls. While he gets a lot of flack for annualizing the publisher’s franchises, it’s worth noting that Kotick does have the biggest moneymakers in video games with Call of Duty, Skylanders, and World of Warcraft. So, he might be doing a few things right.