Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick’s ‘friends’ accused of $60m insider trading

Michael Gwilliam
Bobby Kotick at Activision BlizzardWikimedia Commons/Steven Simko

Three men considered to be friends of Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick are under investigation for insider trading in regards to the purchase of the company by Microsoft.

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard sent shockwaves throughout the game industry, giving the Xbox platform a plethora of new exclusive IPs such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft to help build its brand.

The purchase was also quite lucrative for those with Activision stock, so much so that there is a new controversy that once again involves embattled CEO Bobby Kotick.

Film exec David Geffen, Fox co-founder Barry Diller, and Alexander von Furstenberg bought $108 million worth of shares just days before the Microsoft purchase to the tune of $60 million in profit – something that is being investigated.

Arthas the Lich King statue in TaiwanActivision-Blizzard
Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard shocked the gaming world.

Friends of Bobby Kotick investigated for alleged insider trading

According to the Wall Street Journal, Kotick is a “long time friend” of Barry Diller while Geffen is friends with Diller who in turn is married to fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg – whose son is Alexander.

These ties have earned the attention of the US Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission who are “looking into whether any of the options trades violated insider-trading law.”

However, Diller has denied the allegations, calling the $60m profit a “coincidence” and a “lucky bet.”

microsoft buyout activision blizzard world of warcraft wowMicrosoft
Microsoft has as ton of franchises now.

Additionally, he said that the trio “acted on no information of any kind from anyone.” This was echoed by von Furstenberg who noted he bought shares in the company in the past and acted under the impression that “Activision at some point would either go private, or would be acquired at some point.”

We’ll have to see how this investigation unholds, but given the amount of money, it may be a while before we learn if the men are guilty of insider trading or just incredibly lucky.

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