Vivendi executives considered firing Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick during last year’s buyout deal, according to a new report.
An exclusive on Bloomberg claims to have obtained multiple emails in which Vivendi’s board discussed the move to dismiss Kotick.
The emails are part of a court filing from last month that alleges Kotick threatened to quit if directors didn’t allow him to head up the group that would eventually purchase $8.2m of Vivendi’s stock in Activison Blizzard.
Activision shareholders led by Anthony Pacchia allege that Kotick and his group violated their duties to shareholders by "approving a self-dealing and unfair transaction." A Delaware judge ruled last month that Kotick and Activision chairman Brian Kelly must face the suit’s claims.
The alleged messages from that suit reveal Vivendi’s former CFO and Activision chairman Philippe Capron offered to happily” fire Kotick, adding tomorrow if you want."
Vivendi general counsel Frederic Crepin wrote that he believed Kotick was betting that the company wouldn’t "dare" let him go, and Activision’s independent director Richard Sarnoff said he would help if Vivendi decided to fire Kotick.
"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," company representative Maryanne Lataif told Polygon, following Bloomberg’s original report.
"The recent transaction restructuring the company’s ownership has received widespread market support."