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Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the parent of France's Peugeot have agreed on the terms of a merger that, if approved by both boards, would create the fourth-largest automaker in the world, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing unnamed sources.

Why it matters: Scale is important in the auto industry, especially in light of the huge investments required in new technologies like electric vehicles and autonomy. Peugeot CEO Carlos Tavares, who would lead the new company, is known as a gutsy executive willing to take chances to survive disruption. Nevertheless, auto industry mergers have a history of failure.

What to watch: Peugeot's board has approved the deal, WSJ reports, while the boards of FCA and Exor — the Agnelli family holding company that controls the Italian American carmaker — could vote later on Wednesday.

Go deeper: Fiat Chrysler expected to announce merger with Peugeot-owner PSA

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
6 mins ago - Economy & Business

Speculative crypto art market takes off

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Move over, GameStop. The newest speculative game in town is NFTs — digital files that can be owned and traded on a plethora of new online platforms.

Why it matters: Most NFTs include some kind of still or moving image, which makes them similar to many physical art objects. Some of them, including a gif of Nyan Cat flying through the sky with a pop-tart body and rainbow trail, can be worth more than your house.

New coronavirus cases fall by 20%

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections continued their sharp decline over the past week, and are now back down to pre-Thanksgiving levels.

The big picture: Given the U.S.’ experience over the past year, it can be hard to trust anything that looks like good news, without fearing that another shoe is about to drop. But the U.S. really is doing something right lately. Cases are way down, vaccinations are way up, and that’s going to save a lot of lives.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.