Activision Blizzard stars in the largest corporate operation of the second most valued company in the world. Microsoft It has just launched a purchase operation on the video game giant for more than 60,000 million euros. In this transaction there will be no Spanish personnel who will suffer changes in ‘bosses’, because just Last December, it definitively closed its office in Spain. It does so predictably to maintain the United Kingdom as the center of operations, with the invoicing of digital sales of titles through the Netherlands, with lower taxation, as other multinationals in the sector do.
The Spanish subsidiary, as is the case with other large companies in the video game sector, has a purely commercial purpose. In other words, it usually has a distribution agreement with the owner of the intellectual property in Europe, which in this case is the Dutch parent company, to redistribute physical video games with the different distributors. However, this activity has been progressively losing weight in recent years. This led to a reorganization of the offices at European level, which led to the dismantling of some of the network spaces. Spanish is one of them. This was communicated to their employees in March 2021. That is where the entire collective dismissal process began.
The workforce has been reduced in recent years to less than twenty employees before the global coronavirus pandemic broke out. In March 2021, a negotiating commission was started to carry out the dismissal of all those who remained in the company. In April it was agreed, as reflected in its recently submitted annual report to the Mercantile Registry, an extinction file for practically all: eleven workers left. The last ones did it a month ago, in December. They have left two workers not affected by the cut, to carry out this transition.
Beyond the dismissals of the remaining staff, there is another consequence of this reorganization in which Spain loses space and is left with hardly any role: the distribution contract signed with the parent company in the Netherlands will lose its validity. Therefore, the company’s video game sales operations to different retailers in Spain are completed. And in addition, the owner will pay financial compensation “that would cover any future contingency that may affect as a result of early termination,” he says. It does not specify it in its communications, but because of what happened in other markets, everything indicates that all sales are being centralized through the United Kingdom.
The company will remain open in case there is any kind of litigation. The company has had to see faces with the Tax Agency on several occasions in recent years. In 2018 an inspection was opened, although the result is not specified. A couple of years ago he did have to checkout. In total, he had to pay 2.5 million euros, including default interest. In relation to this procedure, the firm initiated an amicable procedure between the Spanish and Dutch administrations. This is a mechanism provided for in international agreements to avoid double taxation in order to resolve conflicts.
This decision contrasts with the strategy followed by other of its rivals, who have kept their commercial office in Spain intact. Nintendo, for example, maintains it – it buys all the product to distribute it to the German parent company – and has also had to face the Treasury with the payment of 3 million in 2018. A year later, this Spanish subsidiary of the owner of Super Mario moved similarly to Activision Blizzard and requested an arbitration agreement to avoid double taxation. Electronic Arts, owners of the Fifa, The Sims or Battlefield franchises, also continue to have a local team of almost 400 people.
Candy Crush Studio
The Activision Blizzard group, which will pass into the hands of Microsoft after the sale that has been announced this week in case it finally passes all the regulatory filters, also has a relevant office in Barcelona. It is not yours directly, but King, the owner of the mobile game Candy Crush, which opened a relevant studio in Barcelona. At the end of 2020, the latest data available, the center had almost 600 employees. They are dedicated to producing titles for this division of mobile phone products. In addition, they also have support functions that they provide to the group. Total he ‘rebilled’ the parent company in the United Kingdom more than 70 million euros in the last year for these concepts.
It is also pending what will happen with the Spanish study Digital Legends, based in Barcelona, which was acquired last October by Activision Blizzard. These are a hundred employees who, at least according to the announcement they made public, were joining the discipline of their new owner. “This is an amazing team of professionals and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome them,” said Rob Kostich, group president. These developers were focused on launching a new mobile title in the Call of Duty family.