In the bidding war for British online food company Just Eat, competitors Prosus and Takeaway.com are both putting up strong offers for their final bids. Prosus, the internet division of tech conglomerate Naspers, is offering £5.5 billion ($7.16 billion USD) in cash, and Dutch takeout giant Takeaway.com is raising its all-share offer.
In July, Just Eat began downsizing its workforce, then the companies started battling for the bid in October. Even though Takeaway.com is in talks to merge with Just Eat, the Prosus bid would not include Takeaway.com in its purchase. Just Eat made no comment on the bids on Thursday (Dec. 19).
The prospect of a higher bid sent Takeaway.com shares falling 9 percent, which narrowed the gap between the two bids to just over 40 pence ($52.08 USD). Prosus’ bid upped the ante from its previous ones of 710 pence and 740 pence.
Prosus CEO Bob van Dijk said the offer to Just Eat showed respect for the company, saying that the new bid “delivers outstanding and certain value” to Just Eat. Takeaway.com CEO Jitse Groen said his company’s new deal would decrease its stake in Just Eat from 48 percent to 42.5 percent — if Just Eat were to go with Takeaway.com over Prosus.
Groen — who personally owns a 25 percent stake in Takeaway.com — was hopeful for a merger between his company and Just Eat. In July, Just Eat reached a deal with Takeaway.com to create a new food delivery partnership that would become one of the largest outside China, with partners in Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada.
Just Eat is focused on the U.K. and Western Europe, while Takeaway.com is focused on Germany and Eastern Europe. However, Just Eat has considered expanding into Canada, Latin America and Australia.
If selected, Takeaway.com would sell Just Eat’s 33 percent stake in Brazil’s iFood, of which Prosus owns the rest. iFood is Brazil’s biggest food delivery platform.
Several bids by Prosus have been rejected by Just Eat in recent months, with Just Eat saying it believed the merger with Takeaway.com was a better deal, and that it would offer “a number of strategic benefits and greater value creation.”
Both suitors have said these were their final offers, and would not be raised again. The shareholders have until Jan. 10 to decide, and both offers now have thresholds of 50 percent each.