Just Eat takeover by Takeaway.com to be investigated by competition watchdog

Just Eat’s £6bn takeover by Dutch rival Takeaway.com is to be investigated by the competition watchdog.

The move by the regulator threatens to delay completion of the deal to create one of the world’s largest food delivery firms.

It represents a blow to Takeaway which had fought a prolonged battle with tech investment giant Prosus NV to buy Just Eat.

In a stock market update, the Dutch firm said the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had “reconsidered its position” over whether a merger inquiry was needed.

It said the CMA would be looking into whether the company would have re-entered the UK market without the current deal in place.

A spokesman for the regulator said: “The CMA can confirm it intends to open an investigation into this transaction.”

Takeaway said its previous entry into the UK market was “unsuccessful”, losing £768,000 and raising just £76,000 in annual revenues before it closed in 2016.

It confirmed that it “did not have the intention to re-enter the UK market absent the transaction with Just Eat” and said it is confident it can secure the go-ahead for the deal.

Earlier this month, Just Eat’s shareholders agreed to the all-stock deal valued at £6.2bn over a rival bid from Prosus NV.

Takeaway has said the tie-up will achieve annual cost savings of about £16.8m from centralising orders, unifying brands and improving purchasing.

The CMA inquiry comes after it launched an in-depth investigation into Amazon’s hefty investment in the online food courier Deliveroo, after the firms failed to allay its initial concerns.

The watchdog had said the deal raised serious competition concerns with a “real risk” it could leave customers and businesses facing higher prices and poorer services.

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