Takeaway.com raised its bid for Just Eat just minutes after Naspers spin-off Prosus upped its offer, intensifying a battle for ownership of the UK food delivery firm.
The Dutch group said on Thursday it increased its offer to £9.16/share, with Just Eat holders to own 57.5% of the combined group. Amsterdam-listed Prosus also increased its cash offer, to £8/share, valuing the company at about £5.5-billion (R102-billion). Both companies said these were their final offers and they would not be increased.
Shares of Takeaway fell as much as 10% on the news.
Just Eat rejected Prosus’s previous bids — the last at £7.40/share — saying the offers undervalued the company. The board continued to recommend an all-stock bid by Dutch group Takeaway.com, even as the value of its offer has fluctuated in light of Takeaway’s share price. A Takeaway spokesman declined to comment on Prosus’s increased bid.
Representatives for Just Eat didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Investors have previously said Prosus needed to significantly raise its offer to merit serious consideration. Cat Rock Capital Management, which owns shares in both Takeaway and Just Eat, has said a Prosus cash bid would need to be £9.25 to compete with the merger.
The companies are vying for Just Eat as competition heats up in the global food delivery market. Giants like Uber Technologies’ Uber Eats platform are going up against a proliferation of apps for a share of the fast-growing sector. Other players are consolidating, such as Germany’s Delivery Hero, which last week said it would take control of South Korea’s biggest food delivery app, Woowa Brothers, at a US$4-billion valuation.
Prosus, which like Takeaway is giving shareholders until 10 January to accept its final offer, says it has the resources to make the significant investments in Just Eat necessary for it to stay competitive, while Takeaway argues that it actually knows how to run a food delivery start-up, rather than just own one. — Reported by Natalia Drozdiak, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP