Bobby Kotick reportedly wanted to buy gaming websites to reduce the critical coverage of Activision Blizzard

The CEO wanted to change the narrative around his company.

Image via Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard has been under public scrutiny since last year due to alleged cases of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment toward female employees, which led the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to file a suit against the company in July 2021.

The gaming company took another hit in November 2021 after the Wall Street Journal reported Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, knew about allegations of sexual harassment toward female employees for years but failed to inform the board of directors.

Last night, hours after Microsoft revealed that it was in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Kotick considered buying out Kotaku and PC Gamer—two major outlets in video games press—to reduce critical coverage surrounding Activision Blizzard and rebuild the company’s public reputation.

With the impending acquisition by Microsoft, it remains unclear whether Kotick will still be in a leadership position within Activision Blizzard. Microsoft revealed yesterday that Kotick will continue serving as Activision Blizzard’s CEO for now and that when the deal is finalized, the company will direct to Phil Spencer, Microsoft Gaming’s CEO.

Spencer and the Xbox leadership were particularly concerned last year when the Wall Street Journal reported Kotick was aware of the alleged sexual misconduct cases, causing them to reportedly evaluate their relationship with the company.

The acquisition by Microsoft was revealed just one day after it was reported that Kotick had hidden information amid sexual harassment and misconduct allegations surrounding Activision Blizzard. The gaming company reportedly fired more than three dozen employees and disciplined about 40 others since July 2021, according to the Wall Street Journal.