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Takeaway.com accuses rival Just Eat bidder of 'scaremongering'

Edmund Heaphy
·Finance and news reporter
CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 29: A Just Eat food delivery rider on May 29, 2019 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
A Just Eat food delivery rider in Cardiff, United Kingdom. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Takeaway.com (TKWY.AS) on Tuesday accused rival bidder Prosus of “scaremongering” in an attempt to convince shareholders to accept its “low-ball cash offer” for food delivery firm Just Eat (JE.L).

Prosus (PRX.AS), which is owned by South Africa’s Naspers, last month said that Takeaway.com’s offer for Just Eat took a “narrow view” of the food delivery sector, suggesting that a tie-up with the Dutch giant would represent a “significant risk” for shareholders.

In July, Just Eat and Takeaway.com agreed in principle to a merger that would create a £9bn food delivery giant to rival Uber Eats.

But Prosus, the European arm of technology investment firm Naspers, gatecrashed the bid with a hostile takeover attempt, and has continually pressed ahead with its offer, even as Just Eat’s board has unanimously recommended that shareholders accept the one from Takeaway.com.

“Prosus has made a number of claims over the last few weeks in an attempt to make its highly opportunistic cash offer for Just Eat appear more attractive,” said Jitse Groen, the CEO of Takeaway.com, on Tuesday.

“It persistently makes contradictory assertions about large future investment requirements and significant risks for shareholders in remaining invested in Just Eat, while itself wanting to assume those apparent costs and risks.”

Prosus, in particular, has said that Takeaway.com continues to “underestimate the level of investment required in a sector that is changing rapidly”, suggesting that Just Eat would be better poised to compete under its control.

Takeaway.com said that Prosus was hoping that Just Eat shareholders would be scared into selling their shares. “Just Eat shareholders should not be fooled,” Takeaway.com said on Tuesday.

Countering Prosus’ assertion that it is “one of the leading global operators and investors” in the food delivery market, Takeaway.com noted that Prosus was “fundamentally an investor, not an operator” of food delivery firms.

“Prosus does not operate a single food delivery website anywhere in the world,” it said.