UPDATED 12:36 EDT / JUNE 10 2020


Updated: Grubhub confirms acquisition by Just Eat Takeaway for $7.3B

Beating out Uber Technologies Inc., Just Eat Takeaway.com NV confirmed today that it’s acquiring struggling food delivery giant Grubhub Inc. for $7.3 billion.

Multiple sources earlier today had told CNBC that Uber was likely to pull the plug on the bid after disagreements over antitrust matters. Uber and Grubhub executives were reportedly worried that a merger, which would make Uber the biggest food delivery provider in the U.S., would invite regulatory scrutiny. Several lawmakers have already asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department to monitor the negotiations.

Now that’s all moot, as Amsterdam-based Just Eat Takeaway did the deal, and at a higher price than the $5.3 billion expected earlier today. It may have a better chance of being approved by regulators because Just Eat Takeaway doesn’t maintain a substantial presence in the U.S., which means a merger with Grubhub wouldn’t have as big an impact on users as a merger between Grubhub and Uber. 

But although regulators may have a more favorable view of such a transaction than a merger with Uber, some investors are still skeptical about its prospects. Although Grubhub’s stock price rose about 6% in after-hours trading, to more than $62, Just Eat Takeaway’s stock fell about 13%.

Both Uber Eats, Uber’s food delivery business, and Grubhub reported a loss last quarter. But the latter company has a more robust ratio of expenses to revenue, with a loss of $33.4 million on $363 million in revenue during last quarter versus Uber Eats’ $313 million loss and $819 million in revenue. An acquisition along the lines of the proposed Grubhub deal would align with Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi’s goal of refocusing the business on “healthy growth, market leadership and margin expansion.”

Just Eat Takeaway.com, in turn, reported a small core profit last year. Buying Grubhub would allow the company to establish a foothold in the U.S. food delivery market more quickly than if it were to start from scratch.

A desire for faster expansion was presumably also one of the factors behind Uber’s bid for Grubhub. Previously, it reportedly made a failed attempt to buy DoorDash Inc. last year. If this latest acquisition attempt proves unsuccessful, Uber may turn to other types of investments to boost its market share, for example directing more resources toward its budding grocery delivery business or bolstering efforts to use drones and self-driving cars for deliveries. 

Photo: Grubhub

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