The UK Competition Authority clears merger between 2 online food delivery undertakings ahead of the statutory deadline for decision despite COVID-19 pandemic (Just Eat / Takeaway.com)

CMA gives Just Eat and Takeaway.com deal the green light*

The CMA has cleared the £6.2 billion merger between 2 food delivery companies.

Just Eat plc (Just Eat) is one of the main food delivery firms in the UK market, while Takeaway.com N.V (Takeaway.com) operates in 11 countries overseas, including the Netherlands and Germany, but has not been active in the UK since exiting in 2016. Both companies’ platforms link customers to hundreds of restaurants or food outlets, where they can browse takeaway options and order online.

As part of its investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) considered information suggesting that Takeaway.com might have been well-placed to re-enter the UK market and compete with Just Eat, had the merger not gone ahead.

As there are only a small number of companies that act as the middle-man between restaurants and customers, re-entry by Takeaway.com could have given UK customers more choice – and possibly better value for money or quality of service – when deciding what to order.

However, after carefully investigating these concerns and scrutinising large volumes of the two companies’ own internal business documents, the CMA is satisfied that there is not a material likelihood that Takeaway.com would have re-entered the UK in the future, had the merger not gone ahead.

Colin Raftery, Senior Director of Mergers at the CMA, said:

After interrogating how this deal is likely to affect the UK market, we are satisfied that there are no competition concerns.

Millions of people in the UK use online food platforms for takeaways and, where a merger could raise competition concerns, we have a duty to rigorously investigate whether customers could lose out. In this case, we carefully considered whether Takeaway.com could have re-entered the UK market in future, giving people more choice. It was important we investigated this properly, but after gathering additional evidence which indicates this deal will not reduce competition, it is also the right decision to now clear the merger.

During the Covid-19 outbreak, the CMA is working with businesses where it can to be flexible – for example, by recognising that there may be delays in providing the information it needs to conduct investigations. However, it is also trying to complete investigations efficiently at this time, wherever possible, to provide businesses with certainty. In this case, the CMA was able to publish its final decision 26 days ahead of the statutory deadline.

*This is the original title of the press release. The title above has been amended in order to match the e-Competitions format. Individual authors are welcome to provide original independent commentaries on the case law. Articles are subject to approval by the Board of e-Competitions Bulletin before publication based on the Editorial Policy (click here).

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UK Competition Authority, The UK Competition Authority clears merger between 2 online food delivery undertakings ahead of the statutory deadline for decision despite COVID-19 pandemic (Just Eat / Takeaway.com), 23 avril 2020, e-Competitions April 2020, Art. N° 94416

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