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Photo: SOPA Images/Contributor/Getty Images

Fiat Chrysler confirmed that it withdrew its 50-50 merger offer with Renault late on Wednesday, after the French automaker's board failed to agree on the proposal in their second day of negotiations.

Details: Two Nissan Motor Co. representatives on Renault’s board refused to throw their support behind the deal, raising concerns about Nissan's commitment to maintaining the decades-long alliance should the $40 billion merger move forward. The French government asked for a delay on the merger vote, resulting in Fiat pulling out of the deal, sources said.

  • Nissan had previously resisted Renault's push for a full merger between the French and Japanese partners, opening the door for FCA to move in.

Why it matters: "The negotiations represented a test of the European auto industry’s ability to overcome national economic rivalries and establish a European champion, akin to Airbus SE in aviation," per the Wall Street Journal.

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Felix Salmon: The Japanese government is being as aggressive with FCA and Renault as it had previously been with Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's former chairman. And the French — along with FCA — decided they didn’t have the appetite for a fight.

Go deeper: Between the lines on Fiat Chrysler's proposed merger with Renault

Go deeper

Trading platforms curb trading on high-flying Reddit stocks

Major trading platforms including Robinhood, TDAmeritrade and Interactive Brokers are restricting — or cutting off entirely — trading on high-flying stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment.

Why it matters: It limits access to the traders that have contributed to the wild Reddit-driven activity of the past few days — a phenomenon that has gripped Wall Street and the country.

Updated 59 mins ago - Economy & Business

2020 was the economy's worst year since 1946

Source: FRED; Billions of chained 2012 dollars; Chart: Axios Visuals

One of the last major economic report cards of the Trump era lends perspective to the historic damage caused by the pandemic, which continued to weigh on growth in the final quarter of 2020.

By the numbers: The U.S. economy grew at a 4% annualized pace in the fourth quarter, a sharp slowdown in growth compared to the prior quarter. For the full year, the economy shrank by 3.5% — the first annual contraction since the financial crisis and the worst decline since 1946.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

How GameStop exposed the market

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Retail traders have found a cheat code for the stock market, and barring some major action from regulatory authorities or a massive turn in their favored companies, they're going to keep using it to score "tendies" and turn Wall Street on its head.

What's happening: The share prices of companies like GameStop are rocketing higher, based largely on the social media organizing of a 3-million strong group of Redditors who are eagerly piling into companies that big hedge funds are short selling, or betting will fall in price.