Activision CEO Bobby Kotick Was Almost Fired Over Buyback From Vivendi

Vivendi said it would fire Kotick “happily. Tomorrow if you want.”

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick was nearly fired last year during Activision’s multibillion dollar share buyback from parent company Vivendi, according to court filings.

In October 2013, Activision acquired approximately 429 million company shares from Vivendi for about $5.83 billion, and a separate investment group led by Kotick and Activision chairman Brian Kelly purchased 172 million shares from Vivendi for $2.34 billion.

Court filings obtained by Bloomberg reveal that Vivendi was ready to fire Kotick over his refusal to approve any sale of Vivendi’s shares that didn’t include his investment group.

“I really wonder who’s going to fire him,” Vivendi’s CEO at the time Jean-Francois Dubos asked in an email. “Myself, happily. Tomorrow if you want,” Vivendi’s then chief financial officer and Activision chairman replied.

Kotick and Kelly will have to face investor claims that their investment group, which also includes Chinese game publisher Tencent, wrongfully benefited from buying 25 percent of Vivendi’s Activision shares at the same discount offered to Activision.

"Activision’s board of directors supports the ongoing leadership of the company by Bobby Kotick and Brian Kelly, who are the most effective executives in the interactive entertainment industry,” Activision spokeswoman Maryanne Lataif told GameSpot in a statement. “The recent transaction restructuring the company’s ownership has received widespread market support."

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer in search of the Citizen Kane of burritos.

Discussion

92 comments
sonicare
sonicare

This guy makes EA look like the world's greatest company.

brxricano
brxricano

"...but then he like, totally came up with the money so.....change for a hunski??"

Vodoo
Vodoo

He's not an effective executive, he got lucky. Mr Kotick probably never even played CoD.

Damnation_6
Damnation_6

I'm pretty sure 99% of gamers want this guy fired. Go work in the banking sector you greedy cretin.

homey_d_clown
homey_d_clown

In other words:

That guy sucks, we were going to fire him but he is making us mad profits while screwing some of our investors, so we will do nothing, except talk about how he sucks.

mkdms14
mkdms14

Soo why was he not fired is the real question?  Answer no one had the balls to do it.

je29836
je29836

nobody likes this fat asshole except for his bimbo secretary

Barighm
Barighm

Alas, even if he was fired, he would still be dirty stinking rich.

pork7
pork7

He is a fat, greedy chipmunk.

23Jarek23
23Jarek23

The man knows how to earn money, only a fool would fire him. He's difficult to look at though. 

whalesex
whalesex

The best part of these articles are the comments from people who think they know what they're talking about. 

blackothh
blackothh

I would have rather not known this information......It makes me sad.

blackpuddytat
blackpuddytat

Thy pockets are lined with so much gold Mr Kotick. that thine trousers are about to fall down from the weight.


That's FPS gold, microtransaction gold and DLC gold.

DefconRave
DefconRave

He looks like Ramsay Snow in GOT, just a 100x more creepy.

Unholy123
Unholy123

Sigh... in a better timeline... maybe not ours though...

Geogyf
Geogyf

Ok since the misinformation here is great, i will clarify it:


1)The real company is Activision-Blizzard. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activision_Blizzard

2)Activision-Blizzard owns both Activision and Blizzard.

3)In the past Vivendi bought iActivision-Blizzard.

4)Vivendi had financial problems and want to offload Activision-Blizzard.

5)Vivendi could offload ACtivision-Blizzard easily.

6)Vivendi tried a shitty but legal move. They tried to get loan from Activision-Blizzard.

In essence they tried to get loan from their owned company.

7) You can understand that Activision-Blizzard would not recover easily from that "loan".

8) Activision-Blizzard bosses  had a good idea.

9) Their idea was to buy back Vivendi's share.

10) So it happened.


In the end these golden CEO boys will live royall w/e happens to their companies.

in Kottick's case he benefitted more by keeping Activision-Blizzard afloat.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

even Koticks bosses hate him. He really does look like a reptillian slime ball.

maximo
maximo

Unfortunately "almost" being the operative word

jhpiv4
jhpiv4

This is a great day for the internet.

zintarr
zintarr

If I was a muti-millionaire you could happily fire my ass also.

playstationzone
playstationzone

He should be fired  makeing same games every year and not makeing new Crash game maybe sell back to sony  and evey year he laughing at all of you for buying his games what copy and paste games like skylanders and COD series.

ACMC85
ACMC85

I don't like Kotick at all, but you can't fire him. He made the company money and lots of it. He might drive things into the ground, but it's MONEY.

Meta_Dragon
Meta_Dragon

Please please, someone fire him. He ruined Blizzard and is making the market stale with FPS games.

veryDERPY
veryDERPY

so when's the gamestop finance section going up?

_planet
_planet

Where's Donald trump when you need him? You're fired!!!!


Guess his $60 odd mil a year salary isn't enough to feed his family.

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

Awww they aren't using his soulless demon picture for the articles anymore. Tis a shame....it matched him perfectly.

KiLLLeR150
KiLLLeR150

Why oh why couldn't this have happened.

Pewbert
Pewbert

I've never heard one good word about Bobby Kotick. He is almost on par with Steve Jobs for most untrustworthy human being.

Still, he was good in Moneyball :D

Shielder7
Shielder7

Sounds like rich manipulating the system again to get richer. 

aeluron1989
aeluron1989

Lots of CEO hate here. Wonder what got him in trouble.

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@whalesex Indeed.


The wanting to fire had nothing to do with games or profits.  It had to do with Kotick gumming up the sale and tying Vivendi's hands. 

nickpeck36
nickpeck36

@blackpuddytat  Blame the gamers that buy said FPS, MT & DLC, if it wasn't for them / us they wouldn't be making that money :)

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@ACMC85 Yup.  Let's face it: When people are hiring a CEO and one says "I will make great games and bankrupt you" and another says "I will not make great games but will make you very rich," it's the latter what gets the job.

BMTO_Abe_Ace
BMTO_Abe_Ace

@Meta_Dragon Actually my friend he had nothing to do with what Blizzard has become. Ever since Activision got involved with Blizzard this has been a conspiracy theory that Activision is going to ruin Blizzard, but we've yet to see that. D3 wasn't his fault, that was Blizzard continuing down the same path they've been on for as long as I've played Blizzard games. StarCraft 2 certainly wasn't his fault, Blizzard pumped money INTO that, and the only features they never got around to adding were the promised monetization features. Truly if Bobby had his greasy reptilian hands in Blizzard that would have been the FIRST thing to be developed. The casualization of WoW started (slowly) before they got in bed with Activision as well. Alas, while I'd like to blame Activision for Blizzard being Blizzard I cannot, because I've seen them act stupid long before they were in any way associated with Activision or Kotick. 

uchihasilver
uchihasilver

@Meta_Dragon ugghhhhh i hate these kind of comments it isn't Activision that's the problem you realize, for some reason most gamers blame CoD which in turn means these people are idiots as its not CoD that needs to evolve it's every other damn publisher that makes a CoD clone cos then you know if they didn't copy it we may actually get different FPS games *Shock Horror* i know right powerful thought process right there ¬.¬ 

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@_planet I've known some very rich people.  (They're all asshats).  You get to a certain point, they don't think about money in terms of feeding the family like normal people.  It's all competing against all the other rich asshats.  "Your plane has 12 seats? Well mine has 14."


Asshats.

waffleiron88
waffleiron88

@Shielder7 not so much the rich as it is a certain group of individuals known for their obsessive love of money or shekels.

Meta_Dragon
Meta_Dragon

@aeluron1989 I believe he also made a statement that companies should charge for Cutscenes in video games. Though that might have been someone else.

Pupchu
Pupchu

@aeluron1989  Kotick has been a controversial figure in video game industry for years. The guy have pretty much said he is not interrested in new and original IPs... unless he can sequel it every year and pretty much run it to the ground.

EcksTheory
EcksTheory

@uchihasilver @Meta_Dragon Actually, the people most directly responsible for the stale market of fps games are the morons who buy the same repackaged game year after year. stop buying them, and theyll stop making them.

keech
keech

@Pupchu He's also said that video game development shouldn't be "fun", and developers SHOULD be afraid of losing their jobs if they can't churn out AAA money makers every year or two.