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Exclusive-Doordash held talks with UK’s Deliveroo on takeover, sources say

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Exclusive-Doordash held talks with UK’s Deliveroo on takeover, sources say

By Amy-Jo Crowley and Abigail Summerville

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. meal delivery group Doordash flagged an interest in a takeover of Britain’s Deliveroo last month, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

San Francisco-based Doordash made the approach to Deliveroo, but talks ended after disagreement on valuation, said one of the people, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter is private. There are no talks ongoing, the person added.

Doordash and Deliveroo both declined to comment.

Deliveroo’s shares, which have fallen by 67% since an August 2021 high of 395.9 pence, closed at 127.5 pence on Tuesday, valuing the London-listed firm at 2.1 billion pounds ($2.66 billion). The shares jumped as much as 6% to 135.1 pence on Wednesday morning following the news and were trading at 132.2 pence as of 0752 GMT.

Doordash’s New York-listed shares fell after the news before closing up 1.25% on Tuesday.

A slowdown in demand for online food delivery since the COVID-19 pandemic and investors’ preference for more profitable companies amid higher interest rates have weighed on Deliveroo’s shares since its March 2021 initial public offering.

The company works with 180,000 restaurants and retail partners, and operates a network of 140,000 riders.

Amazon is Deliveroo’s largest shareholder with a 13.23% stake, followed by DST Global with 7.54%, while Deliveroo CEO Will Shu has a 6.46% holding, LSEG data shows.

Shu founded Deliveroo in February 2013, alongside his childhood friend Greg Orlowski, the company says on its website.

At the outset of the company’s 2021 listing, Shu was the sole holder of Class B shares that gave him additional voting power, by owning 57.5% of the voting rights.

However this year, those shares were automatically converted into class A shares, Deliveroo’s IPO prospectus shows.

Analysts at Jefferies following the Reuters report said the valuation gap between food delivery players in the U.S. and Europe is a catalyst for cross-border M&A in online food delivery this year.

“In this instance, the talks have failed. But such is the strength of the financial, industrial and strategic logic of a Deliveroo takeover, we would not be surprised to see similar such headlines re-emerge in the short term,” they said.

Doordash, which has a $46.57 billion market value, considered buying Deliveroo in 2022, the Sunday Times reported. Both companies declined to comment at the time.

In an interview with the Financial Times in January this year, Doordash CEO Tony Xu said the group is looking to diversify outside of its core market in the U.S.

Doordash acquired Finnish rival Wolt in an all-share transaction worth $8 billion in 2021.

Online food delivery companies have looked to pivot away from unprofitable markets. Germany’s Delivery Hero said in May it planned to sell its Taiwan business to Uber and sold its minority stake in Deliveroo in January, according to reports.

Deliveroo reported a return to order growth in its first quarter, with a 2% increase year-on-year driven by its operations in France, the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong.

Gross transaction value (GTV), a measure of the orders placed through its platform, rose 6% to 1.83 billion pounds.

($1 = 0.7883 pounds)


(Reporting by Amy-Jo Crowley and Abigail Summerville. Additional reporting Milana Vinn; editing by Anousha Sakoui, Alexander Smith and Nick Zieminski)