U.S. Federal prosecutors are investigating the possibility of insider trading during Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Barry Diller, Alexander von Furstenberg, and David Geffen are being probed for profiting $60 million in Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard. The report states that the three men bought shares of Activision at $40 a share on January 14th. When the acquisition was announced four days later, shares were around $80 each.
Both the Justice Department and SEC are conducting investigations regarding insider trading. Barry Diller said in an interview that no one had any material that was not available to the public regarding the acquisition.
“It was simply a lucky bet,” he said. “We acted on no information of any kind from anyone. It is one of those coincidences.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Diller continued that von Furstenberg was “buying Activision stock before that, and the thought was that Activision at some point would either go private or would be acquired at some point.”
Interestingly, Barry Diller was serving on the Coca-Cola board of directors with Bobby Kotick, Activision CERO. Kotick, who was on the board since 2012, was announced to be stepping down later this year. Furthermore, Diller and Kotick are described as good friends.
Both Activision and Microsoft declined to comment to the Wall Street Journal report.
It’s unsure what this investigation means for Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard. The deal still has to be approved and is not likely to go into effect until mid-2023 at the earliest.