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Netflix hiring new CFO from Activision Blizzard

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Netflix is hiring Spencer Neumann as its new CFO. He comes from the video game giant Activision Blizzard.
(AP)

Netflix is making a big hire from the video game world, bringing aboard Spencer Neumann as its new chief financial officer, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Neumann recently served as CFO of Activision Blizzard, where he oversaw the gaming giant’s financial reporting and accounting. He will succeed Netflix’s outgoing CFO David Wells, who announced his departure in August following a more than decade-long tenure working at the streaming entertainment company.

Netflix hasn’t made a formal announcement about Neumann. He arrives under something of a cloud after Santa Monica-based Activision announced that it was terminating his employment on Dec. 31 for issues unrelated to financial reporting and disclosure.

In an SEC filing, Activision said that Neumann had been placed on leave but didn’t elaborate on the cause of his dismissal.

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However, Bloomberg reported that his contract with Activision included a covenant barring him from shopping for new employment until the last six months of the pact, which was set to expire in April 2020.

Netflix has been aggressively hiring executive talent from the entertainment industry, prompting the competition to take countermeasures. 21st Century Fox is currently battling Netflix in court, alleging the streaming company poached some of its executives by inducing them to break their employment contracts.

As the new CFO of Netflix, Neumann will help to oversee a vast global operation that spends billions of dollars a year on streaming content.

For 2018, the Los Gatos, Calif.-based company was expected to spend as much as $15 billion on original and licensed movies and TV shows, outpacing rivals like HBO and Amazon Prime.

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Netflix has been funding its growth plans largely through debt. For the recent third quarter, the company reported its long-term debt rose to $8.34 billion, from $4.89 billion in the year-ago period.

Shares of Netflix broke the $400 mark for the first time in June, but finished 2018 at $267.66. The stock price is still up about 36% for the year.

david.ng@latimes.com

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT


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