Naspers-controlled Internet investment firm Prosus has agreed to pay as much as €1.8-billion (R30.7-billion) to acquire an additional 33.3% stake in Brazil’s iFood.
The Dutch-listed consumer Internet giant said on Friday that it will acquire the stake from Just Eat Takeaway.com for €1.5-billion in cash plus a “contingent consideration” of up to €300-million.
Prosus, which is in the throes of selling down its stake in its most successful investment, China’s Tencent Holdings, to fund a share purchase programme, said that following the transaction with Just Eat, it and its affiliate company, Movile (a Brazilian investor in technology companies), will fully own iFood.
The announcement comes just weeks after Prosus sold almost US$4-billion worth of stock in JD.com, which it got as dividends through Tencent. Prosus had owned a 4% stake in the Chinese online retailer.
The group said in a statement that iFood has performed “exceptionally well” since it (then Naspers) first invested in the business through Movile, founded by Fabricio Bloisi, in 2013. The company now offers food and grocery deliveries quick commerce and fintech.
‘’We first invested in iFood nearly a decade ago and during this time Fabricio and team have built a world-class food delivery business,” said Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk in a statement. “They have shaped the sector in Brazil, creating a platform that serves 330 000 restaurant partners, provides income opportunity for 200 000 delivery partners and delivers approximately 70 million orders every month.
“Increasing our stake to full ownership is a demonstration of our committed and disciplined approach to investment and reflects our confidence in the long-term potential of iFood,” Van Dijk added.
For Just Eat Takeaway.com, which is racing to achieve profitability, the deal provides a vital cash infusion. Its shares have lost two thirds of their value over the past year and the company had long been seeking to sell the iFood stake, but had been unable to reach terms.
While they were partners in iFood, Prosus and Takeaway had fought bitterly during a 2020 takeover battle for Just Eat, which Takeaway eventually won.
Takeaway CEO Jitse Groen said in August 2021 he had turned down a €2.3-billion offer for iFood from an unnamed bidder as “inadequate”, as valuations of meals companies soared amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a disclosures in Takeaway’s half year results last month, iFood had a net loss of about €120-million in the first half of 2022, although sales grew 28%. — (c) 2022 NewsCentral Media, with additional reporting (c) 2022 Reuters