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DraftKings and FanDuel terminate merger

Axios / Rebecca Zisser

Fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel have decided to terminate their proposed merger, following the objection of federal antitrust regulators.

Why it matters: Corporate America has believed that the Trump Administration would look very favorably on corporate mergers, but its action with FanDuel and DraftKings suggest that there won't be a free pass (at least in emerging tech markets). And this one might sting even a bit more given that DraftKings investors include New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, who has been a vocal Trump supporter.

What next? DraftKings raised new funding earlier this year, while FanDuel stopped new financing talks in anticipation of the merger. Now expect FanDuel to resume those conversations. Per merger documents obtained by Axios, each company is currently valued at $1.2 billion.

FanDuel statement: "FanDuel decided to merge with DraftKings last November, because we believed that this deal would have increased investment in growth and product development thereby benefiting consumers and the greater sports entertainment industry. While our opinion has not changed, we have determined that it is in the best interest of our shareholders, customers, employees, and partners to terminate the merger agreement and move forward as an independent company. There is still enormous, untapped market opportunity for FanDuel, and we will continue to execute our strategy to grow our business and further expand the fantasy sports industry. We'd like to thank our partners and customers for their patience, support and continued loyalty over the past several months."

DraftKings statement: "We believe it is in the best interests of our customers, employees, and investors to terminate our agreement to merge with FanDuel and move forward as a separate company. This will allow us to singularly focus on our mission of providing the most innovative and engaging interactive sports experience imaginable, forever changing the way fans connect with teams and athletes worldwide. We appreciate the continued loyalty of our players - it is you, our customers who have made this all possible - and we look forward to kicking off what is going to be our best NFL season yet!"

Lauren Meier 2 hours ago
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Facebook's growing problems

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 

Facebook is caught in the middle of a rapidly unfolding scandal over Cambridge Analytica's improper gathering of data on millions of users, and what that exposed about the company's data collection. The fiasco has drawn the interest of lawmakers and regulators and rekindled the debate over its role in the 2016 presidential election.

Why it matters: The bad headlines continued to pile up; "A hurricane flattens Facebook" said Wired, "Silicon Valley insiders think that Facebook will never be the same" per Vanity Fair, "Facebook is facing its biggest test ever — and its lack of leadership could sink the company" from CNBC, and — as we've yet to hear from the company's top leaders — "Where is Mark Zuckerberg?" asks Recode.

Dave Lawler 8 hours ago
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What Trump and Putin did and didn't discuss

President Trump spoke with Vladimir Putin this afternoon, and congratulated him on winning re-election on Sunday. After the call, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked whether Trump felt the election had been free and fair, and said it wasn’t up to the U.S. to “dictate" how Russia holds elections.

The bottom line: Trump is not alone in congratulating Putin — leaders in France, Germany and elsewhere have done so this week, as Barack Obama did in 2012. But past administrations certainly have seen it as America’s role to call balls and strikes when it comes to elections abroad, and weigh in when democratic institutions are being undermined. A departure from that approach would be welcomed not only by Putin, but other leaders of pseudo democracies around the world.