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Wednesday / February 26.

Takeaway sets Just Eat deal back a week, faces competition probe

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Takeaway.com said on Friday its 6.2 billion pound takeover of Just Eat will proceed despite a last-minute setback when the UK competition authorities said they will probe the deal to create one of the world’s largest meal delivery companies.

FILE PHOTO: The app for Just Eat is displayed on a smartphone in this posed picture in London, Britain, August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Although Takeaway said on Friday the investigation by Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) would only delay completion of the takeover by a week, it was not clear how the intervention might impact on plans to integrate the two businesses.

Depending on initial findings, the CMA could decide to launch a formal investigation.

Should that happen, Takeaway.com would still be permitted to complete the Just Eat takeover but could be prevented from integrating the two businesses under an “interim enforcement order” until the investigation concluded.

The CMA had not previously signaled concerns over the deal, which had been in the works for months as Takeaway fought with rival suitor Prosus to buy Just Eat.

But the agency now believes a probe may be warranted, Takeaway disclosed late Thursday, adding that the regulator would be looking into whether it would have re-entered the UK market without the current deal in place.

The CMA is already investigating plans by Amazon to lead a 575 million pound investment in Deliveroo.

Takeaway said it pulled out of the loss-making UK market in 2016 after struggling with stiff competition. That year, the business lost 768,000 pounds ($1 million).

“Takeaway.com confirms that it did not have the intention to re-enter the UK market absent the transaction with Just Eat,” the Dutch company said, adding it would respond to the CMA’s questions and that it was confident of getting a green light.

Takeaway.com said on Friday that 90.2% of Just Eat shareholders have tendered shares to its takeover offer, and that the company will begin a squeeze-out process to acquire the rest.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Jan Harvey and Keith Weir

via Reuters