Producer and film studio executive David Geffen, Fox co-founder Barry Diller, and investor Alexander von Furstenberg are said to have purchased around $108 million worth of Activision shares just four days before the Microsoft acquisition was announced back in January (thanks, GamesIndustry.biz). The purchase netted the trio a profit of around $60 million.
As well as referring to Kotick as "a long time friend" to the WSJ, Barry Diller served alongside him on Coca-Cola's board of directors—a role Kotick stepped down from in March, saying he wanted to give his "full attention" to Activision Blizzard. Meanwhile, David Geffen is a close friend of Diller, while Alexander von Furstenburg is the son of fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, to whom Diller is married.
Diller's close personal relationship to Kotick, and the consequent ties of Geffen and von Furstenburg, has sparked suspicion from two US federal agencies. The US Justice Department is "looking into whether any of the options trades violated insider-trading law" while the Securities and Exchange Commission runs its own investigation.
Speaking the Wall Street Journal, Diller called the purchase and $60 million profit "simply a lucky bet" and "one of those coincidences." According to him, the three investors "acted on no information of any kind from anyone."
Meanwhile, von Furstenberg pointed out that he had purchased Activision shares in the past, saying, "The thought was that Activision at some point would either go private, or would be acquired at some point."