Just Eat and Takeaway.com are in talks to combine their online food ordering businesses and create a company worth £9bn, making it bigger than Amazon-backed Deliveroo and Uber Eats.
A merger of London-based Just-Eat and Amsterdam-headquartered Takeaway would create a group with the capacity to process billions of euros worth of online food deliveries every year from both local restaurants and international dining chains.
The European food delivery market has seen a surge of investment in recent months. In December, Takeaway.com agreed a €930m acquisition of the German business of Delivery Hero, while Amazon led a $575m funding round for Deliveroo in May.
Uber Eats, the food delivery arm of the ride-hailing company, cut fees for food delivery in the UK and Ireland earlier this year as competition in the sector intensified.
Just Eat has come under additional pressure from hedge fund Cat Rock Capital, which in December went public with an activist campaign pressing for new leadership at the company. Connecticut-based Cat Rock has argued that merging with a peer would be the best way to find an experienced chief executive to replace Peter Plumb, who left in January after just 16 months in the role.
Just Eat has struggled to find a new chief executive in the past six months, which could leave Jitse Groen, Takeaway’s founder and chief executive, as the most likely candidate to run the combined entity, according to people close to the company.
Just Eat confirmed its discussions about a “possible combination” with Takeaway.com in a statement on Saturday afternoon, following a report from Sky News. The deal would be structured as an offer for Just Eat by Takeaway, it said. The two companies have until August 24 to agree a deal, under takeover rules.
“There can be no certainty as to whether any transaction will take place or the terms on which any combination may be agreed,” Just Eat added. Takeaway.com also confirmed the talks about a “possible all share combination” but declined to comment further.
Based on Friday’s closing prices, Just Eat has a market value of £4.3bn and Takeaway.com is worth €5bn, giving the combined company a value of more than £9bn, ensuring it a place on the FTSE 100. Both companies are due to report results next week.