Third law firm joins the chorus threatening suits against Activision Blizzard over the Bungie split

    
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There appears to be a Pattern.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: In the wake of the split between Activision Blizzard and Bungie, with the latter regaining full rights and ownership of Destiny 2, a law firm is working on a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. This time it’s firm Kuznicki Law, filing in the central district of California, and encouraging investors between August 2nd, 2018, and January 10th, 2019, to join in the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for allegedly making “materially false and/or misleading statements.”

Why would have heard this one? Because it’s the third such case following two other suits being prepared and submitted over the sudden split with Bungie. Key to note is that all of these suits hinge upon the same basic premise that Activision Blizzard knew the split was imminent and didn’t disclose the information to investors at the time, which admittedly seems like the sort of thing you’d want to know before entrusting the publisher with your money. It remains to be seen what will come from these particular lawsuits, although they seem unlikely to diminish the publisher’s recent stock price woes.

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Utakata

Wait…you can still post in this “discussion”? o.O

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I just locked the one that went off the rails under GD’s comment since I was getting so many reports on it and it was going nowhere fast. The topic itself is still open, just not that subthread. :D

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Utakata

Oh …okays, thanks for explaining that. And thanks for the clean up! :)

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Bruno Brito

Y’know, i was just watching a old Daily Show snippet where Jon made fun of a debt payment for 700 billion dollars. Obama went for a plan where this money would be raised in 10 years and got shittalked into oblivion by Fox News.

When Jon did the math, 50% of the entire population of america had 2.5% of the money in America: 1.4 trillion dollars in everything they owed. If you took HALF OF IT, you would pay the debt.

Then Fox News proceeded to attack the poors because “the poor people are not what they used to be: 99.7% of them have a refrigerator. 25% of them have dishwashers ( imagine being a dishwasher and bringing work home. )”

Again: It puts everything in your life in perspective, and it’s laughable when a mouthpiece of people who never even touched the ground without silky feelings enveloping their feet engages in debate with people that worked nightshifts, scared for their lives and of their families, one paycheck away from hunger or destitution.

I make mine, the words of Biggie Smalls:

“We used to fuss when the landlord dissed us
No heat, wonder why Christmas missed us
Birthdays was the worst days
Now we sip Champagne when we thirsty
Uh, damn right, I like the life I live
‘Cause I went from negative to positive
And it’s all (It’s all good, *****)
And if you don’t know, now you know, *****”

To hell with these rich parasites.

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Greaterdivinity

Investors crying into their piles of money sue for more, and I haven’t a care in the world for them. And I enjoy Activision being more uncomfortable, especially after they essentially said they fired 800+ people for no reason.

Eat the rich.

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BDJ

I wish you people would stop with the hyperbole. Its petty and old at this point.

Activision had their reasons for letting people go. You might not agree with said reasons, but they had reasons none the less. Restructuring / consolidating departments and cutting dead weight / unnecessary positions is more than enough reason.

Yea it sucks for those let go and we might not agree with it, but saying they had no reason is letting your hyperbole flag fly at full mast.

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Rumm

Restructuring and consolidating are literally PR terms that corporations use instead of “fire.” The issue isn’t that people were let go, though that is AN issue, but rather that their CEO simultaneously pulled in 5 million cash and 28 million total in a single year. Is it hyperbole to lament the rich when the people who made it possible for someone as scummy as Bobby Kotick to rake in 28 million dollars are then let go in a year that boasted record profits? I don’t think so, but my head isn’t up my own ass either.

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BDJ

No they aren’t. We have to do it all the time where I work. I am not a CEO or in senior management. It happens all the time to damned near every business.

You guys have this victim / jealousy complex. Oh noes, CEO makes million (no shit, every CEO in the world does), he should get rid of all of his monies so he can keeps the employees that aren’t needed employeed!

It makes no sense to keep dead weight just for the sake of keeping dead weight. Don’t sit here and tell me that you haven’t sat at your place of employment and thought or said to friends “damn this person doesn’t do shit, why do they even keep them around”.

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Rumm

Get rid of all his money? No. Get rid of 2 million so that 400 people can keep their jobs? Iwata did it, and Nintendo wasn’t on a tear that year. That should be the standard, not the Kotick model; trust me, he’ll be able to live on 26 million instead, poor lad.

You also just called 400 people who lost their jobs dead weight who don’t do shit, and are trying to call someone else out on hyperbole? That someone can even try to defend this as just the way things are is pretty gross.

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BDJ

You still aren’t grasping it. Do you honestly sit here and think that every single employee they let go was needed? Do you think all of them were productive?

Why do you think that people should be kept employed even if they aren’t needed?

Please, i’d love to hear your answers to these questions.

Out of 35 here where I work, 9 are dead weight and I know this for a fact. Thats 25% of them. You mean to tell me that Blizzard doesn’t have 5-10% dead weight? Yes, its harsh, but its reality in business. 800 people even at the median of $56k is 44.8 million a year. I dont know where you get this 2 million at lol.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

I gotta agree with Rumm on this point – calling those people “dead weight” is pretty shit-tastic all the way around. You know nothing about who they were, what they were doing, etc. Companies let go of people who are in critical roles and busting their ass day-in, day-out all the time.

This was 100% a short-term decision meant to increase profits for shareholders in the middle term. This had NOTHING to do the performance or efficacy of the people who were fired.

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BDJ

You don’t know this though. You can’t say it was a short-term decision. You can’t say why they made the decisions. You can only assume like everyone else commenting on the topic.

I wasn’t aware though that CMs were “critical roles” .

I also know that dead weight sounds harsh but …

“Currently staffing levels on some teams are out of proportion with our current release slate. “.

So in other words, they were bloated in departments and that bloat was no longer required. They were overstaffed.

Should they keep employees employed for the the sake of keeping them employed if they are overstaffed?

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Utakata

At BJD:

“You don’t know this though. You can’t say it was a short-term decision. You can’t say why they made the decisions. You can only assume like everyone else commenting on the topic.”

You really don’t this either.

…and enough with the apologetics already.

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BDJ

Just like you don’t know why either. See how that works?

Oh but I forgot. They are jerks!! Big meanie heads!

I love you stalking me. Its cute.

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Venomlicious

You can’t win with a head made of rock. People like BDJ like to think they know anything and no experience at all. I hope one day the company that BDJ works for trims the fat and can see from the other end. To even side with corporate America make sure you sign your name in permanent ink so you get what was promised from Beelzebub.

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BDJ

You mean that you cannot sway a realistic person into irrational thoughts and hatred because a business made a sound business decision? Gotcha.

You also assume that I have no experience. I am a Project Manager. On projects, I am responsible for a lot more people than you have ever had to be responsible for. Per job, we peak at around 650 employees. I have had to let people go. I have walked up on deck and saw people standing around doing nothing that I had to let go. I have also had to be the guy making mass layoffs. Please don’t be presumptuous.

If I were to get trimmed then so be it. Its called life. It happens to 1000s ever day. Just because you get a job doesn’t mean you are entitled to keep it. This is the world we live in , regardless of how bad it sucks some times.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

There’s a certain level of irony to you scolding someone for being presumptuous, when you are doing the exact the same thing. Not saying that you are both aren’t being presumptuous, but self awareness and all that jazz.

BDJ, the brunt of your argument centers around the concept that it’s a sound decision decision because everyone let go must have been under-performing/unneeded employees. If we took this incident isolation – you might have an easier sell. But keep in mind that ATVI posted a record-setting year, and Bobby Kotick got an astronomical amount of money for doing … whatever the hell it is CEOs claim to do. But we can’t, this layoff HAS to be put into the context of ATVI made a ton of money this year, Bobby Kotick made a ton of money, and for no discernible reason, they fired 800 people at the drop of a hat.

Beyond that, they then come out and say that the firings might actually backfire, which as far as I can see, isn’t something that’s frequently said to investors.

So if we assume this was supposed to be a good business decision, it doesn’t seem to be working. Their stock is still abysmal (and not recovering) and they are already hedging their bets about how this impact the business via their little note to investors. The timing and brevity of the firings suggest that this wasn’t done to cut ‘dead weight’ because in big corps like this you always have what’s a called a “Performance Improvement Plan” of documented performance issues because you can get canned — to cover the company’s ass from a wrongful termination suit. So if what you suggest were accurate, you’d have about 800 people who all just happened to fail PIP on the same day, strategic timed around an investor call. There’s no bureaucratic way that happened.

So that leaves us with terminations that were driven by budget, not performance. While performance might have been factor, it was almost definitely not the deciding factor, or even a major factor. Instead they probably said, “We need to save $500k from this department. Find the right combination of people to fire to make it happen.” And so they did.

People are pissed at ATVI not because they had a layoff, but because they had a lay-off, sudden and unplanned for, driven entirely by greed and an attempt at short term gains in stock. Which failed.

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BDJ

People are pissed that they let bungie go. All of the stocks took a big hit back in Nov/Dec. The split is why they haven’t recovered. Firing 800 people might have a tad bit to do with it, but not anywhere near as bad as bungie rolling out. In fact, stock prices rose after the news of the layoffs came out. On top of this, the actual fall resulting from the layoffs was $2.00 or 4%. The stocks over the last 2 and a half months have fluctuated between 3-5%.

To the brunt of my argument. The brunt of my argument falls around what they said. Its the only facts we have.

“de-prioritizing initiatives that are not meeting expectations and reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs across the business,”

and

“Currently staffing levels on some teams are out of proportion with our current release slate. “.

You are assuming in a negative direction because you didn’t like people being laid off by big meanie corporate activision. You are also assuming that they decided to fire people on a whim. Do you REALLY think that they just woke up on a Thursday, decided to let 800 people go and fired them friday? Come on man. You are smarter than this.

You are still dodging questions like Vince Vaughan bro.

– If there are no games coming out to market, why keep a huge marketing team?

– Do you thinks its justified to let people go that aren’t needed any longer?

– Do you think 30-40+ million a year is worth saving from a business stand point.

– If you knew that certain departments weren’t needed / were bloated, would you do something to remedy it?

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

Well it was performance related in one aspect. The e-sports niche cratered so they had to restructure when they got out of that business. Did they lose some talent that they would have rather kept? Probably but they may not have had enough open positions to keep them employed.

The only questionable part of the whole layoff was the large cut they did to CM. I didn’t particularly care to delve into what part of the business they came from but it could have been a similar situation (getting out of one thing or other).

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Greaterdivinity

https://www.techspot.com/news/79029-activision-blizzard-worried-downsizing-disrupt-operations.html

“The implementation of this restructuring plan may also be costly and disruptive to our business or have other negative consequences, such as attrition beyond our planned reduction in workforce or negative impacts on employee morale and productivity, or on our ability to attract and retain highly skilled employees. Any of these consequences could negatively impact our business.”

They literally just released this to investors. This move was intended to cut costs while redirecting funding towards more core development to better improve their finances and future titles. And the literal immediate reaction is that it will harm the company because.

So the firing literally accomplished the opposite of their intended goals. Had they messaged this clearly ahead of the firings this would be a different matter, but this is very much a reactionary “oh shit we need to cover our asses” response.

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BDJ

No it didn’t accomplish the opposite. They said “may”. Its like when you buy a game it comes with an epilepsy warning. Of course when friends or let go there is going to be a morale hit for a bit. Some others might sandbag. Those people sandbagging will be let go. They will higher more developers that actually work on the projects instead of sitting on social media all day.

Take off your activision hate goggles for a second and answer me this. Do you honestly think that activision didn’t have worthless employees that were dead weight or employees that weren’t needed anymore? There are 35 people in the office im in right now across 3 projects. I count at least 8 that could be let go, maybe 9. 6 of them are friends of friends that were hired. They literally work 30-45 minutes out of a 10 hour day. Do you think they should be kept employed just for the sake of keeping them employed even though they are essentially being paid to do nothing?

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dreamer

Are you suggesting the ~800 people let go were just simply not doing their jobs?

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BDJ

Im suggesting that out of 8000-9000 employees, sure, its doable to find that amount of people that aren’t needed and this isn’t just for Activision. Its for any business. There is so much bloat now a days, especially in game development.

I mean FFS, look at the Overwatch eSports casting team. They have like 20 people. Thats huge bloat. They could easily let some go. This also could have been something coming for a while. They were up with Overwatch and hearthstone. Hiring people left and right. Now they have slowed down, regardless of reasoning. I guess though, by most peoples illogical logic (lol!) that even though Blizzard overstaffed , they should keep the employees working anyways. Yep. Lets keep paying 40 million plus !

People also think this was done on a whim. You think the higher ups woke up one morning, said hey i feel like firing 800 people, lets do this!. Come on maaaaaaaaaaaan. They cut people because it made financial sense to do so.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

Anecdotes are not truth. Every company has under performing employees. But you don’t fire hundreds of people, without notice, for performance issues. That’s a great way to get yourself sued, in fact.

In the world of speculative investing, which we live in, putting out a statement like GD just quoted might as well have just been admitting to the fact that it’s already happening, because investors will treat it as if they are anyway.

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BDJ

Its not anecdotal though. You are assuming that every single employee let go was unnecessarily let go. You are acting like Acti-blizz should keep employees on regardless if they are needed or not. This is not how business works, regardless of record years or whatever the case may be.

As for the quot that GD posted. Its a disclaimer of sorts. You have to cover your ass at all times, especially with investors.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

IT IS anecdotal – because you are using a single, localized experience and extrapolating from that all other instances work empirically the same — which is bad logic.

I am assuming nothing about the quality of the people let go, only that it’s silly to assume assume that wide-swathes of people were all let go for performance issues, without notice, on the same day, and only the ‘dead weight’ was let go. The reality is that while yes, some ‘dead weight’ as you describe it might have been involved, this is a cost reducing effort which–which doesn’t give 2 shits about performance.

In regards to your company, it is a rare event in which people only work 45 minutes out of a 10 -hour day and my assumption is that those people probably do contribute in other ways that you are not aware.

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BDJ

I am one person, in a corporate setting, telling you that bloat exists and you sit here denying it. Where do you work? Can you honestly sit here and tell me that some people arent needed where you work. Be honest. Don’t lie.

And trust me when Im talking about the business I’m in. I am not exaggerating. I know these people. I am in and out of their offices frequently as I am their boss.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

No, you are arguing against and argument that I didn’t make. I never said that corporate bloat doesn’t exist. My company is fairly well run and has a strong corporate culture so there’s no one that I would say isn’t needed. Are there people I could get by without? Sure. Would I want to? Hell no.

You made the assertion that the only person let go were “dead weight,” I countered by saying that that wasn’t the case because performance terminations don’t happen in mass, with the stated goal of increasing the company bottom line. It’s likely that some of the people who were cut were under-performing, but based on the empirical evidence of how it went down, I don’t think that was the determining factor.

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BDJ

I guess I could have worded it differently. Having a lot of bloat leads to under-performance by default. Im not saying these employees are bad. If you have too many employees , there isn’t enough work to go around.

There is also other things to consider as well. In my line of work (Electrical and Instrumentation) , at the start of the job , we bring in a lot of helpers. They do things like install cable tray (race way for cables) and other mundane things. In the middle of the job we bring in Electricians to do all of the technical work. Do we keep on all of the helpers? Nah. They would just sit around, mashing their nuts , with nothing to do. We Let them go. I see this no differently than that. You cut costs , no matter how hard it is and you bring in what you need, which is more devs , animators, etc. Its the hard knock life of working for anyone.

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Utakata

“Activision had their reasons for letting people go.”

Because they’re jerks, to put it mildly? That seems a good enough reasons for a lot of people in power these days. Just saying.

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BDJ

Again, bringing your own personal opinion and trying to pass it as fact. You nor me or anyone else other than the powers that be over there know why.

I mean… They are jerks? Seriously? Thats the reasoning you go with? Lawd help us.

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Utakata

I am only countering someone else’s personal opinion and trying to pass it as fact with something they have unlikely considered. And if you find it that offensive, feel free to flag it for moderation. /shrug

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IronSalamander8 .

This is rather a popcorn moment. CEOs are so grossly overpaid, especially here in the US, and to fire all those people while giving the CEO a large raise makes it worse. I have no idea how solid the legal grounds these firms are standing on are to even have a case, but it’s certainly a situation to watch.

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Armsbend

Most investors are not filthy rich. Most Americans have some of thier retirement tied up in their 401ks. Most 401ks are run by large institutions and many of those owned large shares of the stock – so regular joe’s retirements can be affected too. It isn’t just the guys they put on the tv set that are affected by companies without info.

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NecroFox4

It’s REALLY worth noting here that not everyone who invests in the stock market is rich. There are millions of working-class folks out there who invest, and plenty of them have/had ATVI stock in their portfolio. This lawsuit is about far more than the top 5% of stockholders who make more money than I’ll ever see. The common people aside, a victory for the stockholders would also set a strong precedent that could help prevent such tactics in the future.

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BDJ

All ACTI needs to be able to prove is that Bungie was underperforming. Do you HONESTLY think that ACTI would have let them walk away if they were meeting expectations?

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Armsbend

It depends on the contract. Bungie was not owned by Activision like they were MS.

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BDJ

True. How could a lawsuit be successful, in your opinion?