The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has confirmed its intention to launch an investigation into the acquisition of Just Eat by Takeaway.com.
According to a statement released to the London Stock Exchange by Takeaway.com: "Management understands that the CMA intends unexpectedly to conduct a targeted investigation focussed on assessing whether Takeaway.com would (absent the Just Eat transaction) have re-entered the UK market."
In light of this, the expected completion of the merger could be delayed, even though its offer valuing the company at £5.19b was approved by 80.4% of Just Eat shareholders two weeks ago.
As the investigation may be ongoing at the time of completion, the CMA may require the businesses to continue to be run independently until the investigation has concluded.
Takeaway.com's UK business was unsuccessful and only had revenues of £76,000 in 2016 and an adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) loss of £768,000. It was closed in August 2016 as it was unable to compete with other food delivery websites.
Takeaway.com confirmed that it did not have the intention to re-enter the UK market, excepting the transaction with Just Eat, for which negotiations began in 2019. Takeaway.com said it is "confident that merger clearance will be obtained".
In an update it added that the investigation would push the timetable of the deal back a week.
Should the deal go through the company will be renamed Just Eat Takeaway.com N.V. on 31 January 2020.
Alex Captain, founder and managing partner of Just Eat and Takeaway.com shareholder Cat Rock Capital Management, described the investigation as "shocking and clearly unwarranted".
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