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DraftKings and FanDuel are close to merging

Kurt Wagner and Peter Kafka
The DraftKings app and FanDuel website
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel are headed toward a merger, according to multiple sources.

The two sides are in serious conversations about teaming up, and things could materialize sometime soon. A report from ESPN on Friday said that a deal was "imminent," though our sources say the details are still being ironed out.

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Probably the most important detail to this whole deal is who becomes CEO of the new joint entity. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins and FanDuel chief Nigel Eccles have pretty much despised one another over the years. That has obviously thawed enough to get conversations this far, but selecting the CEO was always an obstacle to a possible merger.

One of the other reasons a deal hasn't materialized before is that both companies are tangled up in legal battles around the country where some states have argued they are operating gambling businesses, not games of skill. The most notable fight took place in New York, but those issues were finally resolved earlier this week.

A DraftKings spokesperson sent Recode the following statement.

As we have stated previously, a potential combination would be interesting to consider. However, as a matter of policy, we don't comment on rumors or speculation, and there can be no assurances at this time that any discussion about a combination would result in an agreement or merger.

A FanDuel spokesperson declined to comment.

By Kurt Wagner and Peter Kafka,

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