Bobby Kotick, Phil Spencer discuss Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard on CNBC

"We're dealing with our issues culturally and are making great progress."

Photo via Activision Blizzard / Mergr

Bobby Kotick and Phil Spencer deflected questions about workplace culture issues playing a role in Microsoft’s announcement today that it’s acquiring Activision Blizzard during an appearance on CNBC this morning.

Kotick, who is Activision Blizzard’s CEO, and Spencer, Microsoft Gaming’s CEO, went on the morning CNBC program Squawk on the Street to speak about the deal and some of its implications. And, naturally, questions about Activision Blizzard’s ongoing workplace harassment reports became a topic of discussion.

Directly asked to address Activision Blizzard’s workplace harassment issues, Spencer said the two companies have talked extensively about the reported issues and the company’s plan for handling them moving forward. As one might expect given the news of the day, Spencer did so with optimism in his voice.

“Culture is a journey for any workplace,” he said, adding that he takes harassment-related issues seriously. 

Kotick, who has remained CEO despite pleas from some investors that he resign, also dealt with inquiries about how Activision Blizzard’s workplace culture plays a role in this transaction. When David Faber asked if internal turmoil at the company played a role in the decision to sell, Kotick said “of course not.” 

“We’re dealing with our issues culturally and are making great progress there,” Kotick said.

For Kotick, the decision to sell was more about making sure that the company had critical resources in the future that will help the company succeed, like a purpose-built cloud, AI, user interface capabilities, data analytics, and a pipeline of talented workers.