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Activision Blizzard’s ex-CEO Bobby Kotick wants to buy TikTok

Activision Blizzard's ex-CEO Bobby Kotick wants to buy TikTok

Bobby Kotick, who used to be CEO of Activision Blizzard but quit at the end of last year, wants to buy TikTok because a new bill in the US could ban the app or force its sale. The Wall Street Journal says Kotick brought up the idea of working together on such an acquisition at a conference dinner last week with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and other people sitting with him. He also brought it up with ByteDance Executive Chair Zhang Yiming. The WSJ estimates that TikTok would sell for hundreds of billions.

Kotick was CEO of Activision for more than 30 years, but he didn’t leave on the best of terms. A 2021 case resolved last year claimed that his firm encouraged sexual harassment and gender discrimination, establishing a “pervasive frat boy workplace culture.” Soon after, the Wall Street Journal said that Kotick knew about misconduct and attack claims made over the years but did not properly tell the board about some of them. At the time, The Verge said that he was also accused of harassing people. According to Activision Blizzard, the story was “misleading.”

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As soon as the news got out, workers of Activision Blizzard left and asked Kotick to step down, but he didn’t. In the end, Kotick stayed on as CEO of Activision Blizzard until Microsoft bought the company out in 2023.

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Kotick Eyes TikTok Amidst US Sale Pressure

The “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act” passed last week, making Kotick interested in TikTok at a poor time. If it passes, President Biden said he would sign it. ByteDance, the Chinese business that owns TikTok, would have to sell the app within six months if the bill passes. The House will vote on it on Wednesday. If not, app shops in the US will not let it be sold.

Due to the sudden popularity of the bill, TikTok has been trying to get its millions of US users to support it. Last week, the company sent push messages to users asking them to call their representatives. After the House vote, the bill would go to the Senate. It is likely to pass the House because it passed the Energy and Commerce Committee with a majority vote last week. Lawmakers fear TikTok may leak personal data and have ties to China. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) also says that Altman’s involvement in the purchase could mean that OpenAI could use the app to train its AI models, which doesn’t sound great for users either.

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