Just Eat CEO Says Grubhub Sale Is Proving ‘Very Difficult’

Just Eat Takeaway.com NV is finding it difficult to complete the sale of its US business, Grubhub Holdings Inc., because of a combination of high price demands from some investors and a weak market for deals, Chief Executive Officer Jitse Groen said.

“We’re talking to buyers still, but it’s a very difficult M&A situation currently,” Groen said in an interview at the food-delivery platform’s headquarters in Amsterdam. “It’s all very easy on Excel sheets, it’s very hard in reality.”

Some activist investors are complicating the process by seeking a €4 billion ($4.4 billion) valuation for Grubhub, he said.

Just Eat announced plans to sell Grubhub in April 2022, caving to investor pressure. Just Eat had acquired the business at the height of the boom in delivery apps in 2021, in an all-stock deal that valued the company at more than $7 billion. Months later, growth in the industry plunged when shops and restaurants started reopening from Covid-19 lockdowns, and Just Eat was forced to write down the value of the US business by €3 billion.

Grubhub has struggled to fend off competition from rivals, such as DoorDash Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc., and Groen said the company has lost market share in the US since the takeover. The Chicago-based firm announced in June it will lay off about 15% of its workforce in a bid to cut rising costs.

Read More: Dutch Food Delivery King Aims for America After Buying Grubhub

“Currently, it’s not a profitable business,” Groen said. “The fee caps cost us a lot of money,” he said, referring to a rule in New York City that puts an upper limit on the fees that food-delivery businesses can charge restaurants and shops. “We’re not able to invest enough money to protect our market and all of the US.”

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