International

UK Investigation Could Delay Takeaway-Just Eat Deal

Takeaway's buyout of Just Eat has been delayed.

In a setback to Takeaway.com's purchase of Just Eat, Britain's competition watchdog has launched a probe into the buyout, delaying the multi-billion dollar deal.

Takeaway.com fought a months-long battle against rival Prosus NV for the right to buy Just Eat, finally coming out victorious.

But now, the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has reversed its initial position on the deal. According to Takeaway, the CMA believes an investigation may be warranted because it wants to look into whether or not Takeaway would've re-entered the U.K. market without the current deal with Just Eats in place. Takeaway left the U.K. in 2016.

The CMA confirmed that it was looking into the matter, but could not comment any further, Reuters reports.

Takeaway pulled out of the U.K. market after losing 768,000 pounds ($1.01 million), only making revenues of just 76,000 pounds. Their reasoning for the exit was "stiff competition," they said. They said they wouldn't have come back if they hadn't won the buyout of Just Eat.

Takeaway said they were open to any investigation by the CMA and said they were confident the investigation would find no wrongdoing on their part.

Just Eat, a British online food company, was downsizing its work force last year, and multiple companies were poised to take it over, beginning their offers by October. Prosus NV, the internet division of tech conglomerate Naspers, put up £5.5 billion ($7.16 billion), and Takeaway had an all-share offer of around £6.2 billion. In December, the companies made their bids final and avoided an auction.

Earlier this month, Just Eat ultimately chose Takeaway's offer, which valued them at around $7.8 billion. The reasoning was that merging with Takeaway would make their eCommerce venture more compelling, and Just Eat shareholders said they ultimately found Takeaway's offer the more compelling of the two.

Takeaway founder Jitse Groen was "thrilled" by the win. They had not yet begun integrating Just Eat earlier in January, however.

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