Jan 18, 2022 - Economy & Business

$69 billion sale to Microsoft could boost Activision Blizzard's tattered image

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in July 2019.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in July 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Microsoft’s $69 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard sets the stage for the gaming giant to remove its sexual misconduct scandal from the spotlight, business ethicists say.

Why it matters: Mergers and acquisitions come with cultural shake-ups — and that’s precisely what Activision needs.

Flashback: The company is accused of failing to address incidents of sexual assault, harassment and discrimination.

  • Its stock has fallen by about 10% since allegations were publicized in July, making it a cheaper acquisition target.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Stephen Totilo: Microsoft's gaming division has built a positive reputation through its work on accessibility and the promotion of an inclusive gaming environment.

What they're saying: "It is an opportunity for a reset," Peter Jaworski, a Georgetown University professor of business ethics, tells Axios.

The bottom line: "Your reputation disappears at the end of your independent existence," says Charles Elson, corporate governance professor at the University of Delaware.

Go deeper: California sues Activision Blizzard over unequal pay, “sexist culture”

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