Dodgers' Boehly Leads $100 Million DraftKings Investment

  • Investment is the first since DraftKings-FanDuel merger plan
  • Proposed combination still requires federal antitrust approval

DraftKings Inc. has closed a funding round led by Los Angeles Dodgers part owner Todd Boehly’s Eldridge Industries LLC, the company said.

DraftKings’ emailed statement Thursday in response to a Bloomberg inquiry didn’t disclose how much was raised in the investment, the first since it agreed to merge with FanDuel Inc. The Series E1 round is for more than $100 million, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

“We were looking for a funding partner who could bring additional depth to the table,” DraftKings Chief Executive Officer Jason Robins said in the statement. Eldridge Industries, whose properties include Dick Clark Productions as well as Billboard magazine and the Hollywood Reporter, has a “deep bench of experts to help fuel DraftKings’ continuing growth as a sports entertainment company.”

Neither DraftKings nor the people familiar with the deal would comment on specifics of the agreement, including the company’s valuation. Boehly didn’t immediately return a message left at his office.

DraftKings and FanDuel agreed to a merger in November, which would create a company that would control more than 90 percent of the turbulent daily fantasy sports industry. The pending deal requires federal antitrust approval. Robins will be CEO of the proposed combined entity, which hasn’t been named, and FanDuel co-founder Nigel Eccles will chair its board.

Investors have long encouraged a marriage. With almost identical games -- players assemble rosters made up of real-life athletes, then win or lose based on actual on-field performance -- the two companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars competing with each other, first to attract players, then to fight legal battles.

Neither company has ever been profitable on its own, even during a 2015 boom, but at that peak, each company was valued at more than $1 billion. Investors in DraftKings include Madison Square Garden Co. and the Kraft Group, which owns the New England Patriots. FanDuel is backed by KKR & Co. and Time Warner Inc., among others.