The boss of Takeaway.com has said he is still “strongly committed” to buying UK food delivery firm Just Eat amid a battle with fellow Dutch company Prosus.
Jitse Groen said the merger would bring together the two firms’ profits, while taking aim at the Prosus bid as “wholly inadequate”.
“This merger combines the two most profitable European food delivery websites: Just Eat in the UK and Takeaway.com in the Netherlands,” he said.
“We remain strongly committed to the merger.”
It is the latest salvo in a battle for the future of Just Eat, which started when Prosus announced its plans to derail Takeaway’s offer.
The Dutch company had already agreed a £5 billion bid for the firm with the board in August, but in October Prosus said it would enter the race.
However the board again re-iterated its rejection of Prosus’s bid on Monday morning, and recommended that shareholders vote for the Takeaway.com merger instead.
“The Takeaway.com combination creates the second largest food delivery player globally and the largest outside China and it will be the market leader in 15 of the 23 countries where it operates,” Just Eat chairman Mike Evans said in a letter to investors.
He said that the combined company’s reach would allow it to pour money into innovation, as the industry faces challenges from smaller rivals such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo.
He added: “Accordingly, the board unanimously recommends that you should take no action in relation to the Prosus Offer of 710 pence per share in cash.”
Prosus will hope to convince shareholders its cash bid will be a safer bet than Takeaway’s, which will give Just Eat’s owners shares in the new entity.
However, a recent rally in the previously depressed share price may dent such hopes.
Takeaway said it had managed to outlast several Prosus-owned rivals, which have stopped operating as independent companies in the Netherlands, Germany and Poland.
It also has experience of beating Deliveroo in Germany and Uber Eats in Austria, the company said.
“By contrast, Prosus has generated a negative 15% return for its shareholders, destroying some 18 billion euro of shareholder value since its IPO on September 11 2019,” Takeaway said.