DraftKings and FanDuel are (officially) merging

Barring any regulatory issues, of course.

DraftKings and FanDuel have officially merged.

The two daily fantasy sports companies announced the merger Friday morning, though we’ve known this was in the works for weeks (and most in the industry have been speculating about it for months).

Here are a few important details about the new joint company:

  • As we reported earlier this month, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins will be CEO of the new joint entity. FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles will serve as chairman.
  • This is a straight 50/50 merger, which means both companies will be allotted three board seats. A seventh, independent board member will also be appointed. The DraftKings and FanDuel CEOs will round out the nine-person board.
  • The new joint entity does not have a name yet, and both sites will continue to operate as usual. The new company will be “co-headquartered” in both New York and Boston. (Robins lives in Boston right now, so we assume that is the actual headquarters.)

The obvious benefit here is that both DraftKings and FanDuel, which have raised more than half a billion dollars between them and offer near identical products, can stop spending all their money fighting each other for market share. Instead, they can focus their collective resources on fighting regulatory battles in states where daily fantasy sports are considered gambling (and thus illegal).

The merger still needs to pass regulatory approval, but it’s hard to imagine that will be a problem. There are 57 million people who play fantasy sports in the U.S. and Canada. DraftKings and FanDuel estimate they have about five million users between the two companies. That’s a relatively small market share, though it could be interesting if regulators decide to separate daily fantasy sports (which often include cash prizes) from traditional, season-long fantasy sports where big players like ESPN, Yahoo and CBS dominate the market.

We’re supposed to interview Eccles and Robins later this morning and will report back if we learn anything new.

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