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Activision Blizzard has agreed to pay $35 million (nearly 2.9 billion rupees) to settle allegations that the video game maker handled workplace complaints and violated whistleblower protection rules, the US financial watchdog said on Friday.

The SEC said the company knew employee retention issues were “a particularly significant risk to its business” but to take appropriate steps to manage workplace misconduct complaints between 2018 and 2021.

The company, which makes the hugely popular Call of Duty game, also required employees to tell the company between 2016 and 2021 if the SEC contacted them for information — a violation of whistleblower protections, the agency said in a statement. rule.

“Activision Blizzard’s failure to implement the controls necessary to collect and review employee complaints of workplace misconduct prevented it from determining whether there were larger issues that needed to be disclosed to investors,” said Jason Burt, head of the SEC’s Denver office , said in a statement.

Representatives for the Santa Monica, California-based video game developer and company said in a statement that they were “pleased to resolve this matter amicably” and “enhance” their workplace report and contract language.

Microsoft, which makes the Xbox, offered $69 billion (nearly Rs 56,650 crore) for Activision Blizzard, but the Federal Trade Commission asked a judge in December to block the deal. EU authorities are also reviewing the deal. The FTC, which enforces antitrust laws, argued that the deal would give Microsoft’s Xbox exclusive access to Activision games, leaving Nintendo’s and Sony’s PlayStation in the cold shoulder.

FTC Administrative Law Judge Michael Chappell will rule on the deal after a hearing scheduled for August 2023.

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By Rebecca French

Rebecca French writes books about Technology and smartwatches. Her books have received starred reviews in Technology Shout, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller...