“We’re talking to buyers still, but it’s a very difficult M&A situation currently,” Jitse Groen, the Dutch delivery giant’s CEO, told Bloomberg News in an interview published Wednesday (July 26). “It’s all very easy on Excel sheets, it’s very hard in reality.”
Complicating matters is a group of activist investors who are seeking a $4.4 billion valuation for Grubhub, Groen added.
Just Eat closed on its purchase of Grubhub in 2021, but announced plans to sell the business less than a year later. Grubhub’s struggles have continued since then.
As PYMNTS reported Wednesday, the company has seen order numbers plunge as rising restaurant prices lead diners to search for less expensive food options.
In its latest earnings report, Just Eat said orders in its North American (which includes Grubhub in the United States and SkipTheDishes in Canada) fell by 15% year over year in the first half of 2023, from 171 million down to 145 million.
In addition, gross transaction value dropped by 12%, from about $6.5 billion to around $5.7 billion, a trend the company is trying to counter by adding discounts and savings options.
“We continue refining and optimizing our consumer pricing strategy, including the interplay of service and delivery fee levels, which will be aligned with consumer expectations with the aim to deliver great value to our consumers,” Groen told analysts on an earnings call.
“At a time of rising inflation, we remain committed to being a very much affordable delivering provider for food and convenience for customers in all of our markets.”
The news is happening at a time when diners are looking for more budget-friendly ways to get their meals.
According to data from PYMNTS’ study “Connected Dining: Rising Costs Push Consumers Toward Pickup,” 48% of all restaurant customers say inflation has made them more likely to opt for pickup than delivery.
Overall dining is down as well, with PYMNTS research showing that roughly a third of consumers have been making purchases from restaurants less frequently due to inflation.
Restaurant prices have risen well above the rate of food inflation overall in the United States, with recent government data showing that while food inflation rose 5.7% year over year in June, restaurant prices were up 7.7%.