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DoorDash comes to Europe in €7 billion takeover of Finnish food delivery app Wolt

Founded in Helsinki in 2014, Wolt operates in 23 countries
Founded in Helsinki in 2014, Wolt operates in 23 countries   -   Copyright  David GANNON / AFP
By Tom Bateman

Finnish food delivery service Wolt will merge with US competitor DoorDash in a deal worth €7 billion, the two companies announced on Tuesday.

The deal is one of the largest in Finland's history, outstripping Microsoft’s 2013 acquisition of the phonemaker Nokia in a deal valued at €5.4 billion.

It comes amid a wave of consolidation in the food delivery sector as DoorDash looks to compete with rivals like Uber Eats, Postmates and Delvieroo.

Wolt's acquisition by DoorDash will expand the US-based food delivery service into 22 new countries, including Finland, Sweden, Germany and Hungary. Japan is the only market where the two companies currently overlap.

Wolt CEO and co-founder Miki Kuusi will head DoorDash's international division, to be headquartered in Helsinki, after the transaction's expected completion early next year.

"Together we can build one of the most significant global players in our industry. And while I’ve always been excited about building Wolt into a global leader on our own, together we can accomplish something more," Kuusi said in a blog announcing the acquisition.

Wolt said it would continue to operate under its own brand, and that users, couriers and restaurants would not notice any changes.

Tough competition

The €7 billion deal is the biggest acquisition yet in the European food delivery market, which has recently seen a wave of consolidation.

Last year, Amsterdam-based Just Eat bought Grubhub, which delivers in over 4,000 cities in the United States.

The consolidation is not just limited to takeaway delivery.

On Wednesday, the American rapid grocery delivery Gopuff launched in the UK after taking over two local competitors, while earlier this year Spanish grocery delivery service Glovo acquired the local subsidiaries of Berlin-based Delivery Hero in seven central and eastern European countries.

It's a sign of how intense competition is in the delivery market, where many companies have struggled to turn a profit.

DoorDash reported a full-year loss of around €400 million last year, while Wolt ended 2020 some €47 million in the red.

Additional sources • AP