Activision-Blizzard Official Steps Down Ahead Of Acquisition

One of the top officials at Activision-Blizzard has stepped down from her role as the company is in the midst of what is likely to be the largest video game property acquisition in history. Frances Townsend, who has served for two years as both executive vice president of corporate affairs and chief compliance officer, vacated the positions Friday.

Townsend has not stepped away from the company entirely, as Bloomberg reports, and she will now serve as an advisor to the company's board of trustees and CEO Bobby Kotick.No official reason has been publicly given for her decision to remove herself from her former roles.

This is not the first time Townsend has made headlines. A former New York prosecutor, she had come under scrutiny last year when she was tapped as overseer in an investigation of sexual harassment of a female employee at the company, as had been reported by the Wall Street Journal. That suit ended up being settled out of court for $18 million, but Townsend still saw some public opinion backlash. According to the Washington Post, she had at one point early in the news cycle publicly called the employee's claims "distorted" and "false" and shared a social media post criticizing whistle blowers.

Prior to working for Activision-Blizzard, Townsend had held office under U.S. President George W. Bush, serving in counterterrorism advisory roles, which she filled from 2003 to 2004. She was a controversial figure in her time under President Bush and after as well. As Kotaku pointed out, she made appearances on national televised news programs following Bush's presidency, defending the CIA's administration-approved use of waterboarding, forced nudity, and sleep deprivation against suspected terrorists.

Microsoft's Xbox brand is currently in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard to the tune of $68.7 billion. If the deal goes through, it would be the largest the gaming world has seen by far and would result in Microsoft acquiring the rights to such series and franchises as Warcraft, Call of Duty, Overwatch, and Diablo, which could cause a major impact in both development and exclusivity. By comparison, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax Media last year for 7.5 billion, which, if the Blizzard-Activision deal closes, will fall to the fourth-highest-priced acquisition.

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There has been a lot of tension lately


Oh man folks shite is hitting the fan

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