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Delivery wars: Prosus bids £4.9 billion for Just Eat, battle with Takeaway looms

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Delivery wars: Prosus bids £4.9 billion for Just Eat, battle with Takeaway looms
FILE PHOTO: Signage for Just Eat is seen on the window of a restaurant in London, Britain, August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville.   -   Copyright  TOBY MELVILLE(Reuters)
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By Toby Sterling

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch internet conglomerate Prosus <PRX.AS> made an unsolicited $6.3 billion (£4.9 billion) cash bid to buy British food delivery firm Just Eat Plc <JE.L> on Tuesday, using its superior financial firepower to try to scupper an all share offer from Dutch rival <TKWY.AS>.

The offer is the first significant move by CEO Bob van Dijk since Prosus went public last month, creating a European tech company with a market cap of $120 billion, largely due to its 31% stake in Chinese internet and gaming giant Tencent.

Van Dijk said the all-cash offer was worth £4.9 billion, or a 20% premium to Takeaway’s offer of 594 pence, based on its closing price as of Monday.

He said he had spoken with Just Eat’s board but had not been able to reach an agreement.

Just Eat said the Prosus bid “significantly undervalues” Just Eat and had been unanimously rejected by the board.

“We don’t believe we’re going hostile. What we think is that we haven’t been able to agree on a proposal, but we believe that shareholders will find this offer attractive,” Van Dijk said, adding that Prosus has greater financial resources needed to invest and grow Just Eat’s business.

Just Eat said it stood by the deal it agreed with Takeaway, saying that was based on “compelling strategic rationale”.

Takeaway shares have fallen sharply since its agreed offer was announced in July, but rebounded 4.4% to 74.05 euros on Tuesday. Just Eat shares soared 24.3 percent to 733 pence, above Prosus’s offer price.

Prosus, the huge technology portfolio company which was spun-off from South Africa’s Naspers <NPNJn.J> last month and traded just 0.4% higher on the news.

Prosus’s CEO said in a statement that as a result, it was making the announcement to give Just Eat shareholders the opportunity to consider the higher Prosus bid.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Toby Sterling in Amsterdam; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta; editing by David Evans)

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