Shares in food delivery company Just Eat (JE.) rocketed 23% higher to 730p today after a bidding war broke-out between investment firm Prosus and Dutch deliveries rival Takeaway.com.

As shares commented in August this year, the all-share bid from Takeaway.com valued Just Eat at roughly half the multiple that it paid for German company Delivery Hero, so always looked too stingy to persuade shareholders.

The fact that its shares had drifted 18% since the announcement suggested a lack of appetite for the deal.

SEVERAL OFFERS REJECTED

The board of Just Eat has rejected the Prosus proposal saying the offer ‘significantly undervalues Just Eat and its attractive assets and prospects both on a standalone basis and as part of the proposed recommended all-share combination with Takeaway.com.’

This is not the first time Prosus has approached Just Eat's board, with previous offers being pitched at 670p, 700p and, now, 710p per share all being rejected.

Whether shareholders will swallow the board’s logic is a different matter as a bird-in-the-hand may well be considered a better option than one in the bush.

The shares are trading at a premium to both offers, suggesting that the market is expecting a higher offer from Takeaway.com in order to seal its own deal. In addition, other suitors may be watching closely.

As analysts at Liberum suggested earlier this year, a tie-up with Amazon may get the thumbs-up from the regulator and represent a better option for shareholders, if it were to materialise.

The battle for Just Eat seems to be just hotting up.

Prosus was listed in Amsterdam in September having been spun-out of Naspers.

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Issue Date: 22 Oct 2019