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Just Eat to merge with Takeaway.com as Naspers loses out

South African tech investment company Naspers wants to become the world’s leading online food delivery business. That ambition took a major blow on Friday.

The company’s Amsterdam-listed business unit Prosus will no longer try to buy Just Eat after its offer lapsed, Prosus said in a statement Friday. The acquisition attempt received virtually no support from the UK online food delivery company’s shareholders.

Investors representing just 0.02% of Just Eat shares had voted in favor of Prosus’s £5.5 billion ($7.2 billion) bid, it said.

Prosus twice increased its hostile bid for Just Eat, the purchase of which CEO Bob Van Dijk previously said would be a “meaningful step” to realizing its goal of becoming the “world’s leading food delivery business.”

Prosus’ online food delivery empire spans 41 countries and includes stakes in Europe’s Delivery Hero, iFood in Brazil and India’s Swiggy.

It’s a setback for the tech investment company, which is trying to prove that its dealmaking ability extends beyond a lucrative punt on Tencent, of which its parent Naspers was an early backer.

Naspers created Prosus when it spun out its 31% stake in the Chinese internet company, along with its other tech investments in September.

“We have an outstanding track record of executing M&A at the right price for our shareholders and of generating strong returns,” Van Dijk said in a statement on Friday. “We will continue to identify and pursue opportunities that will be both additive to our current strategy and generate high levels of return for our shareholders.”

Just Eat will instead merge with Dutch rival Takeaway.com in an all-stock deal. That merger, which had the backing of the companies’ management teams, had been stalled by Prosus’ hostile takeover and the bidding war that ensued.

The deal will make London the staging ground for a food delivery showdown. Rivals, such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats, also have a big presence in the city.

Takeaway.com CEO, Jitse Groen, who will lead the new entity, described the merger as a “dream combination” in a statement Friday. Individuals holding more than 80% of Just Eat shares had voted in favor of the deal, he said.

CNN

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