Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway buys Activision stock

Purchase was made before Microsoft said it would acquire the video game publisher in deal worth $68.7B

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has loaded up on Activision Blizzard stock.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BRK.A BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC. 469,818.31 +6,928.31 +1.50%
ATVI ACTIVISION BLIZZARD INC. 77.71 +0.68 +0.88%

According to a 13F filing, Berkshire Hathaway bought approximately 14.66 million Activision Blizzard shares valued at around $975 million as of the end of 2021. As of Tuesday morning, Activision Blizzard shares are up more than 20% year-to-date. 

BUFFETT'S BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY WILL HOS ANNUAL MEETING IN PERSON

The purchase came ahead of Microsoft's announcement that it planned to acquire the embattled video game publisher for $68.7 billion. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MSFT MICROSOFT CORP. 262.52 +2.90 +1.12%

The deal, which values Activision at approximately $95 per share, is expected to close in fiscal year 2023, pending regulatory approval and completion of other customary closing conditions. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer. 

Warren Buffett (left) and Bill Gates (right) (Getty Images / Getty Images)

Microsoft was co-founded by Buffett's long-time friend Bill Gates, who stepped down from the boards of Berkshire and the tech giant in 2020. Gates and Buffett rank fourth and sixth, respectively, among the world's richest people, according to real-time tracking by Forbes.

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Activision Blizzard shares fell as low as $56.40 apiece last year following allegations from California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (CDFEH) that the company paid its female employees less than their male counterparts, provided them with fewer opportunities to advance, fostered a "frat boy workplace culture" and ignored complaints of blatant harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

The Activision Blizzard Booth during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.

The Activision Blizzard Booth during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong / AP Newsroom)

In the months that have followed, Activision Blizzard employees have called for the firing of chief executive officer Bobby Kotick for failing to disclose his full knowledge of employee sexual harassment and discrimination complaints to the company's board of directors. They have also accused the company of worker intimidation and engaging in union-busting tactics.

Robert "Bobby" Kotick

Robert "Bobby" Kotick, chief executive officer of Activision Blizzard Inc., smiles during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on Monday, May 2, 2016.  ( Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

In order to address employee concerns, Activision announced it would increase its hiring of women or nonbinary employees, invest millions in accelerating and expanding opportunities for diverse talent and underrepresented communities, waive required arbitration of sexual harassment and discrimination claims and increase transparency related to pay equity. It also formed a workplace responsibility committee to oversee the workplace culture transformation and work in tandem with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Over 20 employees have exited the company, including former Blizzard President J. Allen Brack, and another 20 employees have faced other types of disciplinary action since CDFEH's lawsuit in July.