Brands Brief: FanDuel, DraftKings Nix Merger

Brands Brief: FanDuel, DraftKings Nix Merger

Top Stories

  • Sports betting websites DraftKings and FanDuel have thrown in the towel on their proposed merger following the Federal Trade Commission’s promise to prevent it. The FTC opposed the deal on the basis that it would give the two companies 90 percent of the market share, creating an unfair advantage and limiting competition. (The Washington Post)
  • In the wake of its planned $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc., AT&T Inc. intends to move Randall Stephenson from chief executive to executive chairman. DirecTV lead John Stankey will take over the company’s media business, including management of Time Warner. (Bloomberg)
  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV announced a recall of 1.3 million vehicles worldwide, with an airbag issue in 770,000 sport utility vehicles and a fire risk in 565,000 vehicles due to problems with alternators. (Reuters)

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2017 ANA Digital & Social Media Conference 7:30 a.m.


Follow the Money: Ads on NBA Jerseys Open the Doors for Other Top Sports
Will Jarvis, Advertising Age

Five years ago, the NBA hired SRI, a sponsorship research firm, to analyze the possibility of an unprecedented move in major American sports: placing ads on jerseys. The internal study assessed the value of the ad-on-jersey opportunity, which is widely popular around the world, from the English Premier League to India’s International Cricket League.

Pepsi Calls on Omnicom Agencies for Closed U.S. Brand Review
Erik Oster, Adweek

PespiCo has launched a closed creative review for its Pepsi brand in the U.S., open only to Omnicom agencies. “Omnicom has been our longstanding partner because we value the diverse array of agencies and talent they have under one roof,” a Pepsi spokesperson said in a statement.

LeBron James-Backed Blaze Pizza In Talks Over Stake Sale
Kiel Porter et al., Bloomberg

The fast-casual pizza chain whose backers include basketball superstar LeBron James sold a “significant non-controlling” stake to the private equity firm Brentwood Associates. The deal was expected to give Blaze Pizza LLC an enterprise value of more than $100 million, said one person, who was among those familiar with the negotiations who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

Honda’s Pickup Truck Is Beating Ford at Its Own Game
Kyle Stock, Bloomberg

Forget game theory, futurists, and cash-flow models: When it comes to product strategy in today’s auto industry, things need not be so complicated. Just make some trucks, and Americans will buy them—lots of them.

Media and Entertainment

Broadcast TV Enjoys ‘Upfront’ Lift, but Long-Term Gains Uncertain
Suzanne Vranica, The Wall Street Journal

The problems plaguing digital advertising have helped broadcast TV networks achieve a positive outcome for the annual advanced TV ad selling season. The top broadcast TV networks including CBS Corp., 21st Century Fox’s, Comcast Corp.’s NBC and Walt Disney Co.’s ABC have largely wrapped up their annual “upfront” negotiations, the time of year when advertisers commit to buying the bulk of ad inventory for the coming TV season.

CBS, BBC Form Partnership to Bolster Global News Reporting
Austen Hufford, The Wall Street Journal

CBS News and BBC News have entered into a partnership to share video, articles and other newsgathering resources to enhance their reporting capabilities around the world. The new deal, announced Thursday, ends similar longstanding relationships that CBS had with Sky PLC’s Sky News and that Walt Disney Co.’s ABC News had with the BBC, which had spanned more than two decades.

Social Media and Technology

Music streamer SoundCloud has cash until fourth quarter after layoffs
Georgina Prodhan, Reuters

SoundCloud, the world’s biggest music-streaming service, is still struggling to find a business model – it now has enough cash to last until fourth quarter, after laying off 40 percent of its staff, a representative said on Thursday. The Berlin-based start-up is different from rivals Apple, Spotify and Amazon in that it relies more on amateur musicians, for whom it provides a rare platform, and less on major commercial artists.

Facebook successfully challenging Snapchat, advertising mogul Martin Sorrell says
Anita Balakrishnan, CNBC

Software developers are impressed with Facebook’s lead over Snapchat’s platform, which may signal more bad news for Snap, according to advertising mogul Martin Sorrell. “If you went to the app developers’ conference on the West Coast, at Facebook, the people who I spoke to came away from that saying that Facebook was very successfully countering Snap,” said Sorrell, CEO of advertising giant WPP, which has over 205,000 employees around the world.

This eBay ShopBot knows what you like and feeds you trendy suggestions
John Brandon, VentureBeat

Can an AI really adapt to your preferences? That’s one of the big questions for the rest of this year and into 2018.

Twitter Will Livestream the Inaugural Electronic Music Awards
David Cohen, Adweek

Twitter has reached an agreement to livestream the inaugural Electronic Music Awards, which take place in L.A.’s Downtown Arts District on Sept. 21. The livestream will be available to Twitter users globally via and @theemawards.

Uber is ending its uphill battle in Russia and merging with top competitor Yandex
Johana Bhuiyan, Recode

It’s been a costly and difficult three-and-a-half years since Uber launched its services in Russia’s capital city of Moscow. Facing off against an incumbent player called Yandex.Taxi, the U.S. based ride-hail company has been embroiled in a deep subsidy war — as it had been in China before it struck a deal there — to keep its prices lower than its competitor in the hope of increasing its market share.

Instagram is turning the screws on Snapchat by handing advertisers free trials and credits
Tanya Dua, Business Insider

Instagram appears to be turning the screws on Snapchat, baiting marketers and advertisers by offering them a chance to test brand new ad products free of charge. Morgan Stanley — Snap’s lead IPO underwriter — released a bombshell note on the company this week, downgrading the company and lowering its stock price target by 42 percent to $16.

Roku is planning an IPO for this year
Katie Roof, TechCrunch

Internet TV provider Roku is planning an IPO for this year, sources tell TechCrunch. Confirming an earlier report by the Wall Street Journal, sources tell us that Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Allen & Co. have been selected as underwriters for the offering.

PR and Marketing

DraftKings and FanDuel abandon proposed merger
Alex Schiffer, The Washington Post

FanDuel and DraftKings, the two giants in daily-fantasy sports giants, are dropping out of their proposed plan to combine the two companies. CEOs of both companies released separate statements on Thursday, saying they were ending the process announced in November.

AT&T Is Said to Plan to Elevate Stephenson, Wall Off Time Warner
Scott Moritz, Bloomberg

AT&T Inc. is planning major organizational changes to follow the $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc., including a redefined role for Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson, as the telecommunications giant morphs into a media company. Stephenson will drop the CEO title he has held for 10 years and become executive chairman, overseeing a pair of CEOs who will independently manage the company’s telecommunications and media businesses, according to people familiar with the matter.

Fiat Chrysler recalls 1.33 million vehicles over fire, air bag risks
David Shepardson, Reuters

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said on Friday it is recalling 1.33 million vehicles worldwide in two separate campaigns for potential fire risks and inadvertent airbag deployments. The Italian-American automaker said it is recalling about 770,000 sport utility vehicles because of a wiring issue that may lead to inadvertent deployment of the driver-side air bag and is linked to reports of five related minor injuries, but no crashes.

Airbnb host who canceled reservation using racist comment must pay $5,000
Olivia Solon, The Guardian

An Airbnb host who canceled a woman’s reservation using a racist remark has been ordered to pay $5,000 in damages for racial discrimination and take a course in Asian American studies. Dyne Suh, a 26-year-old law clerk, had booked Tami Barker’s mountain cabin in Big Bear, California, for a skiing weekend with friends in February, but Barker canceled the reservation by text message minutes before they arrived,stating: “I wouldn’t rent it to u if u were the last person on earth” and “One word says it all. Asian”.

Qatar Airways still wants American Airlines despite rebuffs
Zahraa Alkhalisi, CNN

Qatar Airways still loves American Airlines. But the relationship is looking increasingly one-sided.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

Emmy Nominations: The Biggest Snubs and Surprises
Danielle Turchiano, Variety

With more than 400 television shows to choose from and only a handful of ballot slots per category, the 21,000-plus voting members of the TV Academy had no choice but to leave quite a few strong contenders off the 2017 Emmy ballots. However, with such a plethora of worthy candidates, there were also quite a few pleasant surprises along the way.

Why Delta Is Better at Taking Your Money
Justin Bachman, Bloomberg

While all U.S. airlines have benefited from consolidation and tame fuel costs, the biggest carriers have become the real cash cows. But even among the rarified Big Three, there can only be one at the top.