Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is known for being an adept dealmaker, building travel company Expedia with a series of acquisitions to fend off competitors. But a deal that could have been his largest yet fell apart.
Late Wednesday, Amsterdam-based food delivery company Just Eat Takeaway.com confirmed plans to merge with Grubhub in a $7.3 billion all-stock deal—beating out Uber who had been in courting its U.S. food-delivery peer for far longer in a deal that could have created the largest U.S. food-delivery firm.
In comparison, Just Eat Takeaway.com has no operations in the U.S., and appears to offer a higher price: 0.671 shares of Just Eat Takeaway for each share of Grubhub, implying a value of about $75.15 for each share and valuing Grubhub at about $7.3 billion. Reports suggest that Uber had also offered stock, though the trade valued shares of Grubhub closer to $70 apiece.
The Uber negotiations were clouded with concerns about antitrust scrutiny. Unable to come to an agreement on how to handle potential regulatory issues, Uber reportedly bowed out, and left a rather salty message about the negotiations as well.
“Like ridesharing, the food delivery industry will need consolidation in order to reach its full potential for consumers and restaurants,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement. “That doesn’t mean we are interested in doing any deal, at any price, with any player.”
Will Uber seek to snap up another food-delivery company? The antitrust concerns are certainly a headache—but Khosrowshahi is also known for his proclivity toward dealmaking. The chief executive tacked on the likes of Homeaway (acquired for $3.9 billion) and Orbitz ($1.6 billion) to build out Expedia. In negotiations with Grubhub, Uber has also shown its willingness to shell out shares worth billions for a tie up. Before talks broke down, the duo reportedly settled on a deal that, at current prices, would value Grubhub at around $5.9 billion.
And though Just Eat Takeaway has no U.S. presence, analysts believe the tie up will only galvanize the food-delivery wars, pressuring prices at a time when regulatory pressures around delivery fees are already hounding the industry.
Perhaps U.S.-based food delivery companies will also have time to figure out their own strategy, as Just Eat Takeaway handles two mega mergers at once: The company’s own name-making £6.2 billion ($7.7 billion) combination between Takeaway.com and U.K.’s Just Eat only received approval from U.K. antitrust authorities in April.
China-listings FOMO: Scrutiny over Chinese listings in the U.S. has been fueled in no small part by the Luckin Coffee scandal and current geopolitical tensions. But that also means U.S. investors could miss out as some Chinese companies self-select out. Here’s my colleague Grady McGregor on the Hong Kong IPO of gaming company Netease, which raised $2.7 billion:
“The Hong Kong IPO represents Netease ‘returning to a market in which we share a closer mutual understanding,’ said CEO William Ding. The comment was perhaps swipe at the U.S.’s Nasdaq, where Netease has traded since 2000 and where skepticism of Chinese companies is growing.”