Just Eat and Takeaway.com investors ‘shocked’ as CMA launches investigation into planned merger

Online delivery company Just Eat

Just Eat and Takeaway.com investors slam watchdog’s ‘shocking and unwarranted’ last minute decision to probe their planned merger

  • The deal was announced six months ago but has now been delayed for a week
  • Investors believe the merger is necessary to compete with other delivery firms 
  • The investigation comes after 90% of Just Eat shareholders accepted the bid

Cat Rock Capital, a major investor in online take away company, Just Eat, has slammed the decision by the competition watchdog to launch a last minute probe of its planned merger with Takeaway.com.  

Cat Rock, which owns around 3 per cent of Just Eat’s shares, called the investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ‘shocking and clearly unwarranted’. 

The CMA confirmed on Thursday it was planning an investigation into the £6billion merger of Just Eat and Dutch outfit Takeaway.com and the deal has now been delayed for a week.

Online delivery company Just Eat’s merger with Dutch firm Takeaway.com has been delayed by a week after the CMA launched an investigation into the planned deal

The unexpected decision to open the probe came more than six months after Just Eat and Takeaway announced their plans to combine. 

The founder of Cat Rock Capital Alex Captain said: ‘It is shocking that the CMA would investigate the Just Eat merger with Takeaway.com. 

‘Takeaway.com has no UK operations, exited its minor business there over three years ago, and has stated that it had no intention to enter the UK market before the Just Eat merger.’

Cat Rock believes the merger is necessary to compete with other delivery services such as UberEats, Amazon and Deliveroo.  

Amazon is already facing an in-depth CMA probe into its £440million investment in Deliveroo. 

Mr Captian said: The CMA’s investigation seems to draw a false equivalence between Takeaway.com’s merger with Just Eat and Amazon’s investment in Deliveroo. 

‘Amazon has a large UK business with millions of customers that it could leverage to re-enter the UK online food delivery market and increase competition. 

‘Takeaway.com has no such UK presence, customer base, or brand name. It is patently absurd to compare Takeaway.com with Amazon when evaluating the outlook for future competition.

Investors in Just Eat said the merger is necessary to compete with UberEats and Deliveroo

Investors in Just Eat said the merger is necessary to compete with UberEats and Deliveroo

Cat Rock added that more than 90 per cent of Just Eat shareholders had accepted its bid, which became unconditional two weeks ago. 

Mr Captain said: ‘The Just Eat merger with Takeaway.com creates a leading FTSE 100-listed technology company with a growing business in the UK and abroad. 

‘The combined company will have the resources to invest in competing against dominant global technology companies in the online food delivery space like Uber and Amazon. 

‘Any action the CMA takes to block this merger would only impair a UK-based company’s ability to effectively compete against these dominant platforms.

Mr Captain called on the CMA to conclude the investigation as quickly as possible. 

He said: ‘The CMA has had an opportunity to review the Just Eat and Takeaway.com merger for almost six months since it was first announced in early August 2019. 

‘We hope that any review that starts today, when the combined company’s shares are meant to begin trading, would be conducted quickly and fairly.’ 

The investigation is the latest bump in the road for a deal which has proven a headache for Takeaway’s Dutch bosses.

Shortly after the two companies announced their plans in early August last year, Prosus, an Amsterdam-listed company, tried to muscle in.

The two battled it out for months, trying to win over Just Eat’s investors until January 10, when Takeaway declared victory.

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