Activision ‘lucky’ stock buy that made $60m profit under investigation

Three men who have ties to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick are currently being investigated 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 reportedly bought about $108 million worth of Activision stock just four days before the announcement of the acquisition of Microsoft in January (thanks, GamesIndustry.biz). The purchase netted the trio a profit of around $60 million.

In addition to referring to Kotick as “a longtime friend” of the WSJ, Barry Diller served alongside him on the Coca-Cola board – a role Kotick stepped down from in March, saying he wanted to give all his “attention” to Activision Blizzard. Meanwhile, David Geffen is close friends with Diller, while Alexander von Furstenburg is the son of fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, to whom Diller is married.

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Alexander von Furstenberg (L) and Ali Kay attend the Diane Von Furstenberg fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2014 at Theater at Lincoln Center on September 8, 2013 in New York City.

Socialite Alexander von Furstenberg and film studio executive David Geffen are also under investigation. (Image credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
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David Geffen looks off camera outside UCLA.

Socialite Alexander von Furstenberg and film studio executive David Geffen are also under investigation. (Image credit: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for UCLA)

Diller’s close personal relationship with Kotick, and the resulting ties between Geffen and von Furstenburg, have drawn suspicion from two US federal agencies. The US Department of Justice is “investigating whether any of the options trades violated insider trading law” while the Securities and Exchange Commission conducts its own investigation.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Diller called the $60 million purchase and profit “just a lucky bet” and “one of those coincidences.” According to him, the three investors “did not act on any information of any kind from anyone”.

Meanwhile, von Furstenberg pointed out that he had bought Activision stock in the past, saying, “The idea was that Activision at some point would go private or be acquired at some point.”

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