Takeaway CEO Won’t Outbid Rival Prosus For Just Eat Merger

food delivery, mobile payments

Takeaway.com’s CEO said his company isn’t ready to outbid its rival on a merger with the UK’s Just Eat.

Amsterdam’s Takeaway and Just Eat had already agreed to a $6.1 billion all-share deal when South Africa’s Prosus made an unsolicited cash offer of $6.3 billion. As a result, Takeaway changed the structure of its offer. While the previous deal required 75 percent of both sets of shareholders to agree to the bid, the new deal lowered the threshold to anything above 50 percent of the company’s shares. But Prosus’ cash offer values Just Eat at a premium of 12 percent compared to Takeaway.com’s offer at the current share price.

With that in mind, this week at the Morgan Stanley European Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Barcelona, Takeaway CEO Jitse Groen was asked if he wanted to raise his bid.

“I don’t want to be the idiot that runs into a ratio that doesn’t make any sense,” said Groen. When he was pressed about whether his answer was, in fact, no, he clarified with: “No. Look, the combination is the new Booking.com, so I think for investors, that’s the thing to think about,” he said, according to Reuters. A Takeaway and Just Eat merger would create one of the largest food delivery operations in the world.

Takeaway later issued a statement saying Groen “did not state that the Takeaway offer will not be changed,” with a spokesman explaining that the CEO was not answering a reporter’s question.

Investor Cat Rock, which holds 5.69 percent of Takeaway shares and 2.6 percent of Just Eat, supports the merger. But Aberdeen Standard Investments and Eminence Capital, with 4.92 percent and 4.26 percent of Just Eat respectively, believes the Takeaway offer is too low.

For its part, Prosus said that Takeaway underestimates “the level of investment required in a sector that is changing rapidly,” adding that “ours is the only offer that provides the certainty of cash to shareholders at an attractive and fair value.”