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Delivery Hero Thwarted Again in Attempt to Buy a Saudi Rival

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(Bloomberg) --

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Delivery Hero SE’s second attempt to buy a Saudi rival has failed after the local competition watchdog rejected its takeover offer for The Chefz.

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition didn’t disclose any details or the reasons for its decision in a statement on Sunday but said Germany’s Delivery Hero sought to buy all of the Riyadh-based firm. The Chefz said, however, that talks are still ongoing.

Negotiations with Delivery Hero started at the beginning of the year, Chief Executive Officer Abdulrahman Alshabanat said in an interview. The Saudi company chose Delivery Hero after receiving multiple offers that were higher because it has a “global name” and the “know how,” he said.

“Our main goal of the acquisition wasn’t a financial one -- instead we cared most about choosing the firm that had the right experience in the market,” he said. “What I care about the most about right now is growing the firm.”

The Chefz latest investment round was held in 2019 with the backing of several Saudi venture capital players including Dammam-based Vision Ventures, he said, without disclosing any details on values.

Delivery Hero is coming up empty in its efforts expand in the Middle East’s biggest economy by acquiring rivals, as deal talks earlier this year with Saudi e-commerce startup Mrsool collapsed and ended in dispute. Elsewhere in the region, the Berlin-based food-delivery company has recently grown its footprint by buying Dubai grocery delivery platform InstaShop.

Read: Delivery Hero, Mrsool CEOs Clash on How Deal Talks Collapsed

The Chefz, which started out as an app that specialized in home delivery for fine dining restaurants before expanding its services in the kingdom, competes against Delivery Hero’s Hungerstation and local firms like Jahez International Co. Delivery Hero’s regional operations also include Talabat and Yemeksepeti in Turkey.

Delivery Hero didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Updates with status of talks in second paragraph)

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