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Activision Blizzard to pay $35 million SEC penalty

Activision Blizzard to pay $35 million SEC penalty


The SEC found that Activision Blizzard did not have proper workplace disclosure procedures in place while also violating an SEC whistleblower rule.

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

A Securities and Exchange Commission probe into Activision Blizzard has concluded with the company paying a $35 million penalty.

At the heart of the probe were charges that Activision Blizzard did not have adequate procedures in place that allowed it to document employee workplace misconduct complaints. As a result of this inadequacy, Activision Blizzard could not, therefore, determine if the misconduct problems were severe enough to warrant shareholder disclosure. Additionally, the SEC found that wording in the company’s separation agreements was in violation of an SEC whistleblower protection rule, requiring former employees to notify the company if they received a request for information from the Commission or other investigative bodies like the NLRB.

In a statement to The Verge, Activision Blizzard spokesperson Joe Christinat shared sections of the SEC’s findings, pointing out that the Commission did not find evidence Activision Blizzard enforced the notification clause. “We are pleased to have amicably resolved this matter,” Christinat told The Verge over email. “As the order recognizes, we have enhanced our disclosure processes with regard to workplace reporting and updated our separation contract language.”

The findings allow Activision Blizzard to pay the $35 million penalty without admitting to or denying the SEC’s findings.