U.S. securities regulator probes Activision over workplace practices - WSJ

© Reuters/MIKE BLAKE The entrance to the Activision Blizzard Inc. campus is shown in Irvine, California

(Reuters) -The U.S. securities regulator is investigating Activision Blizzard’s handling of employees’ allegations of sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the investigation and documents viewed by it.

Shares of the Santa Monica, California-based videogame publisher were down 5.4% in afternoon trading.

The regulator has issued a subpoena to the “Call of Duty” developer as well as its senior executives including chief executive officer, Bobby Kotick, the report said. (https://on.wsj.com/2XCTG9m)

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The company and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

The reported investigation comes at a time the videogame publisher is embroiled in a lawsuit that alleges a culture of sexual harassment in the company, which was followed by the firm’s then president, Allen Brack, stepping down. (https://reut.rs/3ECUCeE)

California’s anti-discrimination agency has accused the company of suppressing evidence of sexual harassment and bias against female workers, alleging that the firm allowed a “frat boy” culture in its workplace. (https://reut.rs/3hOn2Zi)

The SEC has asked for documents including minutes from Activision’s board meetings since 2019, personnel files of six former employees as well as Kotick’s communications with other senior executives about sexual harassment or discrimination complaints by employees or contractors, the report added.

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Vinay Dwivedi)

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