With a hostile £4.9bn offer for the United Kingdom’s Just Eat, South African tech conglomerate Naspers has aimed to gate-crash a merger of two of the largest food delivery groups in Europe. The board of Just Eat declined the all-cash offer made via the Dutch-listed vehicle of Naspers, Prosus, claiming it “significantly undervalued” the firm, the Financial Times reported.
Just Eat had already rebuffed the offer privately and advocated for its investors to back a planned merger with Takeaway.com in its place. The all-stock deal had valued shares in Just Eats at approximately 731p. However, the decline in the share price of Takeaway had dropped the value of the deal to roughly 594p. The offer from Prosus, however, is for 710p in cash.
The company noted in a statement that it had talks with Prosus and rebuffed three offers, including past bids at 670p and 700p for each share. It also claimed that the Prosus bid did not reflect the quality of the company or the benefits of a Takeaway merger for shareholders.
The counterbid occurred as some Just Eat shareholders had noted their opinion on a Takeaway merger. Just Eat’s shares jumped 26.4 percent to 745p in London, which was much higher than the Prosus offer and “a sign that investors expect further bidding to take place,” per FT. Prosus shares were up slightly, and shares in Takeaway.com rose 2 percent to €72.45.
In August, news surfaced that Just Eat and Takeaway.com had finalized a $6 billion merger. The new company will be called Just Eat Takeaway, according to reports at the time, and is expected to be in the food delivery markets in the U.K., Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. Just Eat shareholders will receive 0.09744 new shares from Takeaway.com for each share they own.
“The board believes that this is a compelling offer for Just Eat shareholders, which will create a global leader in a dynamic and rapidly growing sector,” Just Eat Chairman Mike Evans said at the time. “Together we will have the scale to address the huge opportunities in the delivery market, as ordering food moves to becoming an everyday convenience.”