The Latest: Daily fantasy execs say legal war led to merger

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BOSTON (AP) — The Latest on the merger of daily fantasy sports companies DraftKings and FanDuel (all times local):

2:05 p.m.

A top daily fantasy sports player says he's watching closely how the merger of the nascent industry's leading companies — DraftKings and FanDuel — might impact his livelihood.

Saahil Sud, a 27-year-old Boston resident, says he's concerned the newly formed company would have the clout to substantially raise fees on players.

If the companies also merge their game platforms that could also limit how many contests high volume players like Sud can enter.

The companies have assured players they won't be making major changes at least through the next NFL season while the deal is being finalized. They've also promised to keep fees "competitive."

Meanwhile Dustin Hecker, a Boston lawyer who's been following the industry, suggests the merger isn't any guarantee the companies remain viable in the long run.

He notes that both companies remain unprofitable, still face legal uncertainty and will largely be operating as separate entities in the short term.


11:40 a.m.

DraftKings and FanDuel's executives say the last year of battling with regulators across the country for their industry's survival helped bring about the merger of the once bitter daily fantasy sports rivals.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, who will take over as chief executive of the combined company, told The Associated Press Friday following the merger announcement that the costly legal war showed how much of a "common vision" and "common goal" the two companies shared.

FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles, who will serve as board chairman, also played down concerns about the merger possibly running afoul of federal antitrust laws.

He says the merger will help competition in the relatively new industry, which is an offshoot of traditional, season-long fantasy sports.

Eccles says a combined company will help better push for regulatory clarity around the games, which have been likened to illegal sports betting.


9:33 a.m.

Daily fantasy sports rivals DraftKings and FanDuel have agreed to merge after months of speculation and increasing regulatory scrutiny.

The two companies made the announcement Friday but didn't release financial terms. The deal isn't expected to be finalized until later in 2017 and still requires federal approval.

Industry experts say the merger will likely raise anti-trust concerns with regulators since the companies control nearly 90 percent of the market.

Company officials say the merger will help cut costs as the two fight to remain legal in states across the country.

Daily fantasy sports competitions are online games in which players pick teams of real life athletes and vie for prizes based on how those athletes perform in actual games.

But state regulators have questioned whether the competitions amount to illegal sports betting.

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