FTC Celebrates Withdrawal of Fantasy Sports Site Meld

The Federal Trade Commission was praising the decision byFanDuelandDraftKingsto call off their planned merger.

TheFTChadlast month sued to block the mergerof the online fantasy sports sites.

"FanDuel decided to merge with DraftKings last November, because we believed that this deal would have increased investment in growth and product development thereby benefiting consumers and the greater sports entertainment industry," said FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles. "While our opinion has not changed, we have determined that it is in the best interest of our shareholders, customers, employees, and partners to terminate the merger agreement and move forward as an independent company.

RELATED: FTC, DOJ Give Liberty-GCI Deal Antitrust OK“The parties' decision to abandon this transaction is a clear win for American consumers,” said Markus Meier, acting director of the FTC Competition Bureau. “For years, the vigorous competition between DraftKings and FanDuel has spurred innovation and favorable pricing. In brief, consumers benefitted from the intense rivalry between the two leading players in this space. If this merger had been allowed to go through, those benefits would likely have been lost.”

DraftKings was founded in Boston in 2012 and FanDuel in Scotland in 2009. They are the largest and second largest fantasy sports sites, respectively. They are both paid daily contests, which the FTC said means that other season-long contests are not a meaningful substitute or that new daily sites can ramp up fast enough to provide sufficient competition.

RELATED: FTC Competition Bureau Chief Tad Lipsky Retires

The vote to approve the suit was 2-0, meaning chairman Maureen Ohlhausen, a Republican, and Terrell McSweeny, a Democrat, agreed.

The suit did not mean there had been any finding of guilt, only that there is a reason to believe the merger violates the law.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.