A shareholder rights law company is investigating Activision Blizzard. Robbins LLP, a "nationally recognized leader in shareholder rights law", is working to determine whether the spate of recent sexual harassment accusations constitute a breach of shareholder law.
Why is Robbins LLP investigating Activision Blizzard?
According to a press release issued by the firm, Robbins LLP is investigating Activision Blizzard to find out whether higher-ups violated the 1934 Securities Exchange Act and "breached fiduciary responsibilities" to the company at large. The firm points to the recent lawsuit by the California DFEH, which alleges that sexual harassment is part of Activision Blizzard's toxic workplace culture. Handling the lawsuit is Robbins' Lauren Levi, who also provides an email address if you're a shareholder and you want to get in touch.
Robbins LLP doesn't specify exactly how Activision Blizzard could have violated the Securities Exchange Act, nor how the execs in question breached their fiduciary responsibilities. All the firm says is that shareholders "have legal options" against the officers and directors of Activision Blizzard. It's possible that in failing to disclose the ongoing harassment investigation and its potential consequences, Activision Blizzard failed in their duty to ensure shareholders are informed of potentially deleterious company developments. If the investigation bears fruit, we'll likely hear much more about it soon.
What's the backdrop to this investigation?
After the State of California's lawsuit emerged, Activision Blizzard's response was criticized by the company's employees. In an open letter with more than a thousand signatures, employees said they felt Activision Blizzard's statements and legal counsel were "abhorrent and insulting", and that their values as employees of the company were not "accurately reflected" by their leadership. At noon today, employees will stage a walkout - both physical and virtual - to protest the harassment allegations. You can follow its progress - and join in if you'd like - with the #ActiBlizzWalkout hashtag on Twitter.
Since the lawsuit emerged, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has issued his own statement addressing the allegations. In the statement, Kotick describes Activision Blizzard's initial response as "tone deaf" and says the company "did not provide the right empathy and understanding". Kotick also says he's enlisted the services of Activision Blizzard law firm WilmerHale to conduct a review of company policies and procedures in order to ensure Activision Blizzard is a "respectful and inclusive workplace". We'll bring you more on this as soon as we get it.