‘Why would I do that?’ Takeaway.com boss hits out in Just Eat war of words

Takeaway.com boss Jitse Groen has hit out at the management of Prosus amid an escalating war of words between the two companies battling it out to buy Just Eat.

The Dutchman accused Prosus of trying to buy the British takeaway giant “on the cheap”, and hit back at claims his bid would destroy shareholder value.

“I am the founder of Takeaway.com and I still own 25% of the shares,” he said.

“If Prosus’ recent claims were true, the value of my shareholding in Takeaway.com would effectively halve after the Just Eat-Takeaway.com combination. Why would I do that?”

It comes amid a continuing war of words between the two companies, as they strive to win a sizeable share of the lucrative British takeaway market with a deal for London-listed Just Eat.

Prosus raised eyebrows in October when it tabled a bid designed to scupper the deal that Mr Groen’s Takeaway.com had agreed with Just Eat two months earlier.

The cash bid, Prosus boss Bob van Dijk said, provides a lot more certainty for shareholders. However, they were not sufficiently impressed by the offer to plump for Mr van Dijk over his rival Mr Groen as he was forced to increase the bid on Monday.

Mr van Dijk upped its initial 710p per share offer, which valued the business at £4.9 billion, to 740p per share. He also extended the deadline and lowered the threshold for acceptance. Now only 50% of shareholders, plus one vote, will have to accept the bid, compared to 90% when it was first made public.

However, the board of Just Eat, not for the first time, rejected Prosus’s bid, saying that it “significantly undervalues” the company.

On Monday Mr Groen said that the “slightly higher derisory cash bid remains a derisory cash bid”. And activist investor and major shareholder Cat Rock also came out against the Prosus bid.

Shares were trading down 0.43% or 3.4p to 778.2p – higher than the Prosus offer – on Wednesday morning.

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