'Lucky' Activision stock purchase that led to $60M profit under investigation

Barry Diller attends the "Liberty: Mother Of Exiles" World Premiere at NYIT Auditorium on Broadway on October 07, 2019 in New York City.
(Image credit: Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Three men who have links to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick are currently under investigation for alleged insider trading, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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."

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.