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Fantasy sports rivals DraftKings and FanDuel agree to merge

The companies say a merger will allow them to focus on developing new products and features, and speed up their path to profitability.

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DraftKings and FanDuel have both faced regulatory battles in numerous states.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

It's official. After months of discussions and speculation, daily fantasy sports powerhouses FanDuel and DraftKings on Thursday said they plan to merge.

The combined company will be better suited to take on ESPN and Yahoo, both of which have entered the daily fantasy market in recent years. The merger could also help the continued regulatory battle FanDuel and DraftKings face. Numerous states, including New York, Illinois and Nevada, have attempted to ban the companies for operating without gambling licenses.

The deal is expected to close in 2017. It's unclear if the combined company will continue to operate both the FanDuel and DraftKings brands. DraftKings Chief Executive Jason Robins will become CEO of the newly combined company, while FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles will become chairman.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.