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Disney acquires equity stake in DraftKings

Disney has taken an equity stake in daily fantasy and sports betting company DraftKings. The stake was acquired as part of the Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of several prominent 21st Century Fox assets that closed earlier this year.

Legal Sports Report  first broke the story earlier this week. Disney, had originally considered taking a stake in the company back in 2015 but a deal failed to be finalised. Instead the company has recently taken a strong anti-gambling stance, including helping to fund opposition to a casino initiative in Florida. Fox invested in DraftKings in July 2015 after Disney walked away from its proposed equity deal and instead moved toward a marketing-based alignment with the Boston-based company that was later terminated early.

In February, Disney chief executive Bob Iger said on an earnings call: “I don’t see The Walt Disney Company, certainly in the near term, getting involved in the business of gambling, in effect, by facilitating gambling in any way.”

But as part of the mammoth deal in which Disney gained control of assets such as Fox film and TV studios, FX Networks, and National Geographic Partners, Disney also gained the DraftKings stake and now holds it through one of its subsidiaries. It is not yet known what Disney’s long-term plans are for its DraftKings interest.