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(Washington, D.C) - On Thursday, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) requested that the Securities and Exchange Commission investigate “inaccurate and misleading disclosures” in filings related to the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft.
Activision Blizzard’s “Agreement and Plan of Merger with Microsoft Corporation,” included with form 8-K that it filed with the SEC on January 19, stated that Activision Blizzard is not aware of employee efforts to organize a union, that there are no ongoing strikes or other work actions, and that there is no material unfair labor practice complaint filed against the company with the National Labor Relations Board.
In fact, worker organizing activity at Activision Blizzard has been the subject of news reports and public statements since the summer of 2021. There have been multiple strikes and work stoppages at Activision Blizzard since that time, including one at Raven Software that was ongoing as of the date of Activision Blizzard’s announcement of the planned acquisition. Additionally, CWA filed an unfair labor practice charge for worker intimidation and union busting against Activision Blizzard in September, 2021 and the investigation of those charges is ongoing.
“As a result of these omissions, readers of Activision’s merger filing may be misled into believing that the company’s well-documented workplace disputes, including widespread allegations of abusive behavior, sexual harassment and sexual assault, and multiple strikes and other work stoppages – all of which have received extensive, national coverage in multiple media outlets – have been comprehensively resolved,” CWA Senior Director for Government Affairs and Policy Shane Larson writes in a letter to the SEC. “In fact, these disputes are ongoing, and both Activision management and its board were well aware that these disputes were unresolved. The significant negative effect that the revelation of Activision's horrendous sexual harassment issues has had on the company’s share price since they first became the subject of widespread public attention in late summer 2021, suggests that beyond merely failing to take care to ensure that it made accurate representations to readers of the merger agreement, Activision may have acted with an improper motive to conceal the true status of its workplace disputes.”
The Communications Workers of America is asking that the Securities and Exchange Commission investigate and take swift action to ensure that readers of Activision Blizzard’s filings have accurate disclosures available as they consider the proposed merger with Microsoft.
The corporation is also facing a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and previous lawsuits from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Activision Blizzard shareholders, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
CWA’s full letter to the SEC is available here.