Activision Blizzard Lawful Head Sees Pay Slip Amid Merger Hurdles

Activision Blizzard Inc.’s top law firm observed his fork out slide 33% previous calendar year as the online video match keeping enterprise coped with place of work misconduct promises and proceeded with a proposed $69 billion sale to Microsoft Corp.

Grant Dixton, employed by the enterprise in 2021 to succeed its retiring main legal officer Christopher Walther, received more than $5.5 million in complete compensation in 2022, a proxy statement submitted this 7 days by Activision displays.

That was down from $8.2 million the prior calendar year, when Activision gave a almost $1.8 million signing reward to Dixton, a former US Supreme Court docket clerk who went on to turn out to be normal counsel for the Boeing Co.

Dixton is one particular of many in-property lawyers recruited to Activision inside the earlier two many years as the business bolsters its labor and work expertise amid a unionization drive in the gaming sector.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Activision has also been hit with lawsuits accusing it of letting gender discrimination and harassment to prosper in its workplace.

Dixton’s fork out last yr involved $3.5 million in inventory awards and almost $1.3 million in funds, which includes $750,000 in base salary. Activision also disclosed it paid about $134,000 in relocation fees for Dixton.

Dixton owns $9.4 million in Activision stock, according to Bloomberg data.

Current lawful additions at Activision include previous King & Spalding litigation counsel Zachary Byer, hired in March as a litigation director. Byer was beforehand a nonequity associate at Kirkland & Ellis, wherever Dixton also utilised to do the job.

Benjamin Lin, a former Cooley associate, joined Activision in December as a director of mental home.

Activision very last calendar year hired Joseph Heimsath, a previous investigator for the Intercontinental Rescue Committee’s ethics and compliance unit, to be an ethics and compliance investigations counsel. Activision is now looking to retain the services of a director for securities and corporate governance, for every an on the net career listing.

While the firm seeks to ramp up its inner lawful and compliance operate, Activision’s potential sale to Microsoft was challenging last 7 days when a British isles regulator rejected the takeover.

The offer, introduced in January 2022, has Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom advising Activision.

The US Federal Trade Fee indicated this previous December that it would also seek to block the merger with Activision despite an hard work by Microsoft to salvage the deal. In March, Microsoft tentatively defeated a bid by video gamers to scuttle the transaction in federal court.

As for the discrimination and harassment lawsuits, Activision defeated some of these cases, whilst the fallout from some of them continues.

Frances Townsend, a veteran in-residence lawyer tapped by Activision in 2021 to oversee government affairs, general public plan, and other corporate functions, resigned in September. Townsend had performed a critical position in addressing place of work-associated claims in opposition to the enterprise.

In February, Activision agreed to a $35 million settlement with the US Securities and Trade Commission, which experienced accused Activision of inadequately addressing place of work misconduct issues.

Activision also agreed last 12 months to a further $18 million settlement with the US Equivalent Employment Chance Commission.