Takeaway.com (TKWY.AS) on Wednesday hit back once again at rival Just Eat (JE.L) bidder Prosus (PRX.AS), accusing the investment firm of making “unfounded claims” about the potential tie-up between the two food delivery firms.
Prosus, which is owned by South Africa’s Naspers, and Takeaway.com have been trading increasingly acrimonious barbs in recent weeks as they both battle to acquire the London-based Just Eat.
Jitse Groen, the CEO of Takeaway.com, said on Wednesday that Prosus’ claims about the future value of the combined company that would result from a merger with his company were not true.
Prosus has claimed that the Takeaway.com offer would be “highly value destructive” and that the all-cash acquisition by Prosus would create better value for shareholders.
Noting that he still owned 25% of Takeaway.com shares, Groen said: “If Prosus’ recent claims were true, the value of my shareholding in Takeaway.com would effectively halve after the Just Eat Takeaway.com combination. Why would I do that?”
In July, Just Eat and Takeaway.com agreed in principle to the merger, which would create a firm worth around £9bn.
But Prosus gatecrashed the bid with a hostile takeover attempt, and has continually pressed ahead with its all-cash offer, even as Just Eat’s board has unanimously recommended that shareholders accept the bid from Takeaway.com.
On Monday, Prosus increased its offer for Just Eat to £5.05bn, escalating the heated battle significantly. Just Eat has rejected the offer.
Prosus said on Monday that it had engaged in “extensive discussions” with Just Eat shareholders and that it decided to raise its offer price following “careful consideration”.
“Prosus believes the increased offer underscores its commitment to the transaction and constitutes attractive and certain value for Just Eat Shareholders,” it said in a statement.
Takeaway.com last week accused Prosus of “scaremongering” Just Eat shareholders.
On Wednesday, the firm said again that it does not believe Prosus has the experience to run a food delivery firm of the scale of the proposed company.
“As Takeaway.com has previously stated, Prosus is not an operator and does not run a single food delivery web-site anywhere in the world. Takeaway.com believes that if Prosus understood Just Eat and its markets, it might be willing to pay a proper price for Just Eat which reflects a full cash exit.”