UK regulator to probe £6bn Takeaway.com acquisition of Just Eat

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
Shareholders approved Takeaway.com’s acquisition of London-based Just Eat earlier in January. Photo: Jesús Hellín/Europa Press via Getty Images

The UK competition regulator said on Friday that it had launched a probe into Takeaway.com’s £6bn acquisition of London-based Just Eat (JE.L).

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that it was investigating whether there could be “a substantial lessening of competition” within UK markets as a result of the deal.

Parties have until 6 February to comment on the early stage probe. The CMA has not yet indicated when it will decide whether to open a more in-depth investigation into the deal.

Takeaway.com (TKWY.AS), which does not operate in the UK, said on Friday that more than 90% of Just Eat shareholders had accepted its offer to acquire the company, but that the merging of the two companies would now be delayed by a week due to the CMA probe.

READ MORE: Takeaway.com has finally won its battle to acquire Just Eat for £5.9bn

Shareholders had already approved the deal on 10 January, when over 80% voted in favour of the all-share offer, well above the 50% threshold needed to make the offer unconditional.

The company will be renamed Just Eat Takeaway.com on 31 January, and the shares will trade under the “JET” ticker on the London Stock Exchange. Shares will continue to trade under the “TKWY” ticker in Amsterdam.

After a months-long battle to acquire Just Eat, Takeaway.com will be hoping that the CMA probe comes to a swift conclusion.

Prosus (PRX.AS), another Amsterdam-based firm that is owned by South Africa’s Naspers, had gatecrashed the Takeaway.com bid with a hostile takeover attempt and continually pressed ahead with an all-cash offer.

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While Prosus and Takeaway.com had been trading increasingly acrimonious barbs about their respective bids, the board of Just Eat had recommended shareholders reject the Prosus offer in favour of the one from Takeaway.com.

Takeaway.com believes that the combination of the two companies will help it become the dominant food delivery platform outside of the US, and allow it to better compete in the low-margin business.

The company said that the tie-up will result in annual cost-savings of around €20m (£17m), largely due to platform centralisation, better procurement, and the unification of branding.