Naspers unit in talks to up stake in Brazil's iFood - TechCentral

Naspers unit in talks to up stake in Brazil’s iFood

E-commerce group Prosus is in talks to increase its stake in iFood, Latin America’s biggest food delivery start-up, amid a wave of consolidation in the industry, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Amsterdam-listed company has approached Just Eat Takeaway.com about buying part or all of its 33% holding in iFood, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Just Eat’s stake in the Brazilian company could fetch about US$750-million to $1-billion in a sale, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst John Davies.

Prosus, which is controlled by South African media and Internet group Naspers, already has about a 55% interest in iFood, according to the investor’s 2019 annual report.

“We love that business, and it’s run by a great team,” Prosus CEO Bob van Dijk said in an interview this week. “Just Eat Takeaway.com has said that they want to sell their shares, and obviously at the right price, we will certainly consider increasing our stake.”

A representative for Prosus declined to comment further. A spokesperson for Just Eat Takeaway declined to comment, while a representative for iFood didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours in Brazil. There’s no certainty the negotiations will lead to a transaction, and other suitors could emerge for the iFood stake, the people said.

Heating up

Food delivery deals have been heating up, with takeover battles emerging in recent months for Britain’s Just Eat and Grubhubin the U.S. It’s also been one of the few sectors to benefit from the coronavirus pandemic, as customers stuck at home have turned to smartphone apps to order food from restaurants banned from offering table service.

Just Eat Takeaway has pledged to explore exiting its iFood stake and said it would return about half the net proceeds to its shareholders. The group was formed earlier this year from Takeaway.com’s acquisition of Just Eat.

Prosus also owns a stake in Indian delivery startup Swiggy and is the biggest shareholder of Germany’s Delivery Hero.  — Reported by Loni Prinsloo, Myriam Balezou and Giles Turner, (c) 2020 Bloomberg LP

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