We’ve got some hefty Activision Blizzard news for you today, so buckle up and let’s go for a ride.
Shareholders approve Microsoft buyout: On our first stop of the tour, ABK shareholders overwhelmingly voted this week to approve next year’s Microsoft acquisition of the company at $95 a share. CEO Bobby Kotick, who’s still around for some reason, said that this takeover will “create great value for our players, even greater opportunities for our employees, and to continue our focus on becoming an inspiring example of a welcoming, respectful, and inclusive workplace.” As long as you get all of those buzzwords in there, Bob.
Scarlett’s lawsuit: We’ll then take a little bit of a side detour to look at a labor complaint lodged against Epic Games by Cher Scarlett, a former Blizzard and Apple employee who asserts that the studio wouldn’t hire her because she’s been an outspoken proponent of unions in the tech industry. The company claims her pro-union views had no bearing on its decision not to hire her. “The NLRB office is currently investigating the labor complaint, and if it finds sufficient evidence, it will then issue a complaint against Epic,” reported the Washington Post. Scarlett made it into our reports last year when she rebutted ABK’s claims on the then-new Activision-Blizzard scandal and organized workers for California’s lawsuit.
Versailles victorious: Activision-Blizzard’s messy layoffs in France a few years ago continue to haunt the company, as former Blizzard workers at the Versailles branch have now won a suit over supposed redundancies in a French appeals court, with the court essentially finding that Blizzard’s attempt to use a legal framework for shuttering under supposed financial hardship was bunk. While the offices are still gone and the employees can’t win back their jobs, they can now pursue proper compensation – at minimum another half year of salary.
Longdale’s ascent: And our last stop on the tour is at the highest offices in World of Warcraft, where former WoW Classic lead Holly Longdale has now been named executive producer of both sides of the the MMORPG. This doesn’t change the status quo as much as you might think, as Ion Hazzikostas remains WoW’s game director (and a VP of Blizzard) and John Hight is still the franchise’s general manager. “It’s an honor to work with this team and these games. My heart is full! Cheers to the future we will continue to build together — both players and the teams,” Longdale tweeted.