Activision CEO reaps $20.2 million in three-day stock sale

Modern Warfare 2 launch window sees Bobby Kotick exercise nearly 2 million stock options for $1.99 million--which he immediately sells for $22.2 million.

Today, Activision basked in the glory that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 had the biggest launch in entertainment history. November 10 saw the Infinity Ward-developed shooter sell a staggering 4.7 million copies in the US, UK, and Canada, generating $310 million in just 24 hours. Dollar-wise, that's as much as Grand Theft Auto did worldwide on day one in 2008, and as much as Halo 3 reaped in its first week globally in 2007.

Bobby Kotick just got paid.

Unsurprisingly, nobody basked more in Modern Warfare 2's success than Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing made today, the outspoken executive used the occasion to exercise nearly 2 million stock options that had vested in 2000--eight years before Activision merged with Vivendi Games to form Activision Blizzard. Kotick took over Activision in 1991, shortly before it filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Given that at the turn of the century Activision was nowhere near being the world's largest third-party publisher, the strike price for each share Kotick exercised was a low $1.03. With the new company flying high on last week's better-than-expected July-September earnings report, Kotick reaped an impressive windfall by selling nearly 2 million shares at prices between $11.43 and $11.51 per share from November 9 to November 11.

The result? Minus the nearly $2 million strike price, the executive cleared nearly $20.2 million in just three days. The figure comes atop his normal compensation package, which totaled $14.95 million in 2008, according to Forbes magazine. Following the sale, Kotick still retained 3,109,729 shares of Activision Blizzard, which ended trading today at $11.44--making said shares worth $35,575,300.

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302 comments
Sanguis_Malus
Sanguis_Malus

That's a damn cheesy picture. Still, he does not give a f***, he has too much money.

BoondockSaint66
BoondockSaint66

"The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games." Nice job, Bobby. You're still a dick.

lhscouchmonster
lhscouchmonster

i am actually suprised he doesnt own more stock in his own company. he must be saving that 15 million a year and doing something with it. i guess its not activision stock....

dethtrain
dethtrain

nice. wish i had money in stocks back then.

Binarynova
Binarynova

Sure, he just weighed his stock options intelligently and happened to make a ton of money in the process, but that doesn't change the fact that Activision Blizzard fired a great many people whose combined lifetime salaries wouldn't have put a dent in his newly acquired money. What's wrong with people?

shimya
shimya

he is a very smart man, and deserves all the money he makes.

Anchordog
Anchordog

*laughs @ Crimson Maher* You laugh at the idiots who have supported Acitivision? You, the enlightened one, have only been "Activision free" since last year. lol You think just because you didn't buy MW2 that you are less responsible for Kotick making money. And in the end, who cares...don't buy Activision games if it helps you sleep at night. I, on the other hand, accept the fact that there are people out there who will make more money than me. I am not going to be the guy who misses out on a ridiculously good game because I mistakenly think whether or not one person buys their game really makes a difference to the company.

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

That's a lot of money for one man, while there are some people out there somewhere in the world struggling to even earn money to put food on the table.

scorero
scorero

it seems like a lot of people think that he just got a major bonus. he didn't. he owned some shares in his own company that he bought up 9 years ago. sure, a lot of public companies pay their employees w shares, but that could be a good or bad thing depending on how the stock fares. he held on to his stock for 9 years and then sold it at 11 times the value he paid for it. it took him 9 years to make that. it's not like it was a bonus or the result of mw2 in particular.

melty3219
melty3219

Bobby Kotick is pro he used his brain so he deserves the money anyone hating is just jealous!

grootelaar
grootelaar

my god look at that smile wow dude seriously stop training your mouth mussels

4163982838
4163982838

unfortunately this capitalism at it's finest. The higher ups get richer, and hard working developers might get a $100 bouns. Merry christmas....(sigh) I think though the developers are happy, i mean you get paid to make great games that to me seems like some form of payment in itself. But an extra million dollars wouldn't hurt either.

slingshot_ylo
slingshot_ylo

Kotick is just another corporate leech who makes his fortune off of the talent and work of others. How much money did the people who actually made MW2 (artists, programmers, writers, composers, etc.) make individually? Part of that $60 you paid for the game does go them, but part of it also goes to people like Kotick. For those of you unfamiliar with business, this is called "overhead." More examples of overhead factored into the retail cost of the game are things like advertising/marketing/PR, human resources, utilities, etc. Some of these are required - e.g., you've got to pay the electric bill - and some are useful - e.g., an effective marketing campaign which MW2 has - some functions like those Kotick performs just add bloat to the price of the game, but he still reaps a reward for someone else's work.

peetowser
peetowser

Good, now you can go back to firing people you #$%&@& This is where your money goes, fellow gamers... Imagine what could have been done with it... Bah you don't care right, go enjoy MW2 and cry later huh?

robgam3r
robgam3r

funny how many rich people there r in the world and how many people r suffering there is no balance in anything humans have made the road for whats ahead and what could that be a early christmas i dont think so

logic532
logic532

sad part is leonheart it's probably true.

CrimsonMaher
CrimsonMaher

I laugh at all the idiots who paid this man his millions by buying 60$ expansion packs. If you hate him don't buy his games! Thankfully I've been Activision free since 2008!

leonheart_z
leonheart_z

@logic532...that was the funniest post i've seen today...haahaha

logic532
logic532

You will be judged one day kotick! until then enjoy all the hookers and coke your unearned millions can buy.

logic532
logic532

There are some ceo's I respect Steve jobs and Bill Gates being two of them but this guy just looks slimey! He tries to bully around other third party developers oh i just hate him. Why did mw2 have to be freaking activision?

izmickey
izmickey

I get upset just by looking at his face. Put some green hair, lipstick, powder color face and we got ourselves a real life greedy, uncool version of joker. But, gotta admit the man knows what he is doing....i still hate him though.

hobobobo00
hobobobo00

why is everyone (as in the last 4 posts) mad at him? im jealous too, i think 20m is alot more than he needs but its his job and knowing obama hes prbly goin pay like 90% of it back as tax anyways

johnnyjh89
johnnyjh89

Can't believe my $60 went to him makes me feel guilty about buying Modern Warfare 2

johnnyjh89
johnnyjh89

What an A-Hole Somebody dropkick him now!!

johnnyjh89
johnnyjh89

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

What a d!#k. Way to send a message to your investors that you believe in your company. Who is this clown? Do they really believe he's the reason for their success?? No!! It's companies like Infinity Ward, etc. THEY should be getting all the bonuses. Screw this guy.

Wallenstein_155
Wallenstein_155

I'm glad not a penny of that 20.2 or 310 million was from me. Kotick and all his believers can say all they want about bottom-line profits, but thinking only about profits is a short-term goal and profits is NOT the sole goal of any company. That thinking is part of the problem as to why the recession started. Efficiency and risk-taking must go hand-in-hand with profits, and with Kotick claiming he instills an atmosphere of "pessimism, skepticism, and fear" into his company and wishing to annually "exploit games that have the potential to become $100 million dollar franchises" shows he doesn't care for either efficiency or risk-taking. And this approach will show 20 years from now when every other developer has come up with new and innovative franchises while Activision is still riding on the CoD and Guitar Hero train, or developers wind up leaving Activision because they are tired of creating the same types of games.

camilomf
camilomf

@ahnariprellik: I think eventually his bad decisions will affect how well the company does commercially. For now, I don't really put my money on Activision, plenty of other good games to buy. And if you still have any doubts about this guy read this: "At the 2009 Deutsche Bank Securities Technology Conference [Kotic said] "We have a real culture of thrift. The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games." Kotick later stated he tries to promote an atmosphere of "skepticism, pessimism, and fear" in his company and, "We are very good at keeping people focused on the deep depression."

MagicTestacle
MagicTestacle

I wish Black Isle guys would get some money. Loved Fallout 2...

tyco_ex
tyco_ex

Everyone can cry all they like but YOU STILL BOUGHT HIS CRAP. I don't own a single guitar hero or Call of Duty game. And the only Blizzard game I have is the old school Starcraft. I'm surprised he hasn't tried to charge $10 a month to play SC on battle.net yet. If you really don't like how he is running the company stop giving them all your money. When they start losing money they will vote for new leadership. Not until then.

ahnariprellik
ahnariprellik

@camilomf: Okay so maybe he didnt work for the stocks he sold but thats how the stock market works, you take oppotunities when they present themselves. All I am saying is give the guy a little credit, he runs the company but I am assuming he isnt the only one who decides what games activision produces and distributes. But I guarantee you he wasnt just handed a CEO position. And yes Activision may put out the same games every three months or so but should we really blame this guy, I mean after all we are still buying the guitar hero's and COD's arent we. At least they are good quality games and worth the money they cost. Could be worse, they could all be that kiddie crap the wii puts out. Then I could see an argument. But its like the age old saying "if you build it they will come", if you keep making the same game...people will still buy it. Its not his fault people keep falling for it.

Zerosumgame
Zerosumgame

@Camilomf Totally agree. I just wrote 30k put options on Activision.

camilomf
camilomf

DesiaAC, look up "stock options" on wikipedia, will you? The guy didn't "invest" a decade ago, he simply exercised stock option rights. Which means Activision just sold him these stocks at the super low strike price and he sold it right back for market price. That's capitalist opportunism at its best. And no, Anharicprellic, he didn't make that much money for his "hardwork", the guy's an obnoxious profiteer (look some of his comments to the press online) who could care less about the quality of Activision games as long as they turn a profit. And you could bet he's not responsible for the quality of MW2. I for one am happy that at least most people are as disgusted at this as I am. I wish my gaming money went to all those developers who just got laid off industrywide.

DesiaAC
DesiaAC

@ _el_Greco_ Yeah, you really have to hate the guy for looking for short term profit making. Oh, apart from the part where he invested in the stock a decade ago...

scorch0188
scorch0188

I'm curious if anyone else (a normal person) made serious bank from buying the stock when it was only $1.03 per share... Obviously no $20 mil, but this couldn't have been the only person to play the stock market right.

ahnariprellik
ahnariprellik

Personally I dont see why everyone is attacking the guy. I mean yeah he is probably overpayed but without him in charge of the company you wouldnt have a MW2 so you should be a bit more thankful. And like all of us, he has to make a living and I doubt he instantly got that position as CEO I am sure he worked very hard for it so personally I say good for him. If I could do the same I would. Its discouraging to hear so many people expecting handouts or thinking someone doesnt deserve something they work hard to earn.

Thathomelessguy
Thathomelessguy

@_el_Greco_ lmfao, I totally agree with him being a typical fat ugly vain grossly rich ceo.

spence23
spence23

brainwashed kids who buy activions casual gamer garbage are the reason these ugly pig ceo's such as bobby kotick are rich, its ashame.

_el_Greco_
_el_Greco_

lol This man is the typical fat, ugly, vain, grossly rich CEO. I wish there would be a way for him to get the hell out of Activision... He's a tumor to this company. It's all short-term success he's after. Look at that porker face of his!! THIS MAN WILL RUN THE COMPUTER GAME INDUSTRY INTO THE GROUND! Someone really needs to take this guy out before it's too late.

BigBacon87
BigBacon87

This guy is what is exactly what is wrong with the world. Nobody who made MW2 is worth that much yet this joker, who does next to nothing but run his mouth all day gets paid. Here's to hoping he get's hit by a bus or at least a bad case of the herp.

superluigi96
superluigi96

Seeing that face makes me ashamed that I bought MW2. Ugh. I hate myself right now.

jeffv541
jeffv541

Look at his face, that is the face all of you COD fanboys feed...

Pwnd56
Pwnd56

hahaha, yeah yeah yeah, i dont know. so can someone answer?

shawise
shawise

let's jump him! quick alexkn64 grab his legs and you look out for the po-po AMT6400.