Activision CEO Bobby Kotick will reportedly leave the company after Microsoft acquisition closes

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick.
  • Microsoft is buying "Call of Duty" publisher Activision in a $68.7 billion all-cash deal.
  • As part of the deal, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick is reportedly out.
  • Microsoft said Kotick would remain in his position after the deal closes and report to Xbox lead Phil Spencer.

Microsoft is buying Activision, the major video game publisher behind the "Call of Duty" franchise, in an all-cash deal valued at around $68.7 billion.

It's Microsoft's largest ever acquisition, and the largest video game acquisition in history.

Microsoft will acquire a huge selection of intellectual property and game development resources: Game franchises like "Call of Duty," "World of Warcraft," and "Candy Crush," in addition to major game studios like Blizzard Entertainment and Treyarch. Activision's approximately 10,000 employees will join Microsoft in the deal.

One employee who apparently won't be joining Microsoft, though, is embattled Activision CEO Bobby Kotick: He's expected to leave the company once the deal closes, according to sources who spoke with the Wall Street Journal.

Those sources said that both Microsoft and Activision have agreed that Kotick "will depart once the deal closes," which could take anywhere from 12 to 18 months.

That's in stark contrast to what Microsoft said in its press release on Tuesday morning.

"Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard," the release said, "and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company's culture and accelerate business growth. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming."

Kotick reportedly knew for years about a variety of claims of sexual harassment and rape at his company.

An investigation by the Wall Street Journal detailed several specific examples of harassment and rape at Activision. Kotick was not only aware of those claims but, in a least one instance, reportedly intervened to keep a male staffer who was accused of sexual harassment despite the company's human resources department recommending he be fired.

At the time, Xbox head Phil Spencer said in an email to staff that Xbox was "evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments." Microsoft further addressed the issues at Activision during its investor phone call on Tuesday.

"We believe it's critical for Activision Blizzard to drive forward on its renewed cultural commitments," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said. "We are supportive of the goals and the work Activision Blizzard is doing. And we also recognize that after the close, we will have significant work to do in order to continue to build a culture where everyone can do their best work."

Neither Activision nor Microsoft representatives responded immediately to a request for comment.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email ([email protected]), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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