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Just Eat faces hostile bid after it rejects £4.9 bn offer from Prosus

By Philip Smith

Bidder appeals direct to shareholders as online food delivery firm opts to press on with rival merger plan

Home food delivery outfit Just Eat, which matches restaurants with customers, has rejected a £4.9 bn ($6.3 bn, €5.7 bn) bid from Prosus, part of the South African tech investing group Naspers.

Prosus had been in talks with Just Eat to acquire the business. Now, having failed to reach an agreement, it will appeal directly to shareholders in a hostile takeover. Prosus CEO Bob van Dijk said the group had been considering a bid for some time.

Just Eat’s online ordering website is specifically aimed at food outlets that do not provide delivery. The sector is growing and Prosus already owns stakes in Delivery Hero (Germany), iFood (Brazil) and Swiggy (India). Just Eat, founded 18 years ago in Denmark, is now listed on the LSE.

The Prosus offer is worth 710p a share, around 20 per cent higher than the opening price of Just East shares, which have fallen recently after disappointing trading figures. The bid price is also 20 per cent higher than a rival all-share offer to merge with Takeaway.com. Shares in Just Eat were trading above 740p on news of the bid. The Just Eat board plans to press on with its planned merger with Takeaway.com.

Van Dijk said he would be talking to Just Eat shareholders in the coming weeks and hoped to continue “constructive discussion” with the company’s board.

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