Activision Blizzard’s ex-CEO Bobby Kotick reportedly wants to buy TikTok

Activision Blizzard’s ex-CEO Bobby Kotick reportedly wants to buy TikTok

Bobby Kotick, the former CEO of Activision Blizzard who stepped down at the end of last year, is apparently interested in buying TikTok as a new bill in the US threatens to ban the app or force its sale. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Kotick mentioned the idea of partnering on such a purchase to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and others seated with him at a conference dinner last week, and brought it up with ByteDance Executive Chair Zhang Yiming. If TikTok is sold, the WSJ notes, it would likely go for hundreds of billions of dollars.

Kotick led Activision for over 30 years but didn’t exactly leave on a good note. In a 2021 lawsuit that was settled last year, the company was accused of fostering sexual harassment and gender discrimination under his leadership, in what was described as a “pervasive frat boy workplace culture.” The Wall Street Journal soon after reported that Kotick was aware of misconduct and assault allegations over the years and did not properly disclose some of these instances to the board. He was also accused of harassment himself, The Verge noted at the time. Activision Blizzard called the report “misleading.”

After the information came to light, Activision Blizzard employees walked out and demanded Kotick resign, but that did not happen. Kotick ultimately stayed on as head of Activision Blizzard until the completion of Microsoft’s acquisition in 2023.

Kotick’s alleged interest in TikTok comes at a tumultuous moment for the immensely popular platform after lawmakers introduced the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act” last week, which President Biden said he would sign, if it passes. Under the bill, which goes to the House floor on Wednesday for a vote, TikTok’s China-based parent company, ByteDance, would have to sell the app within six months. Otherwise, it’ll be banned from US app stores.

TikTok has been trying to get its millions of US users to rally behind it in wake of the bill’s sudden momentum, and sent out push notifications last week asking users to call their representatives. After the House vote, where it’s expected to be approved after clearing the Energy and Commerce Committee in a unanimous vote last week, the bill would move on to the Senate. While lawmakers’ concerns about TikTok center on fears of data privacy and its connection to China, WSJ notes that involving Altman in its purchase could open the app up to the possibility of being used by OpenAI to train its AI models, which doesn’t exactly sound ideal for users, either.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

By John Routledge

Founder and owner of - I'm an avid tech junkie, a lover of new gadgets and home automation. You will often find me reading, writing, and learning about new technologies. I've been featured in many leading technology magazines where I've written about my favorite topics.