On 16 November 2017 the CMA approved the acquisition by Just Eat plc of Hungryhouse Holdings Limited, having completed its Phase II investigation. Just Eat and Hungryhouse are both web-based food ordering platforms operating in the UK, allowing customers to choose from a wide range of takeaway options in a single place and enabling restaurants to reach a larger pool of customers. The clearance confirms the CMA’s provisional findings of 12 October 2017 that the transaction does not raise competition concerns.
The CMA found that Hungryhouse provides limited competition to Just Eat because its smaller size and limited choice of unique restaurants impact its ability to attract and retain customers. In addition, the CMA concluded that the entry and expansion of platforms such as Deliveroo, UberEATS and Amazon, which also manage or facilitate delivery services on behalf of restaurants, generally provide a greater competitive challenge to Just Eat than Hungryhouse. It was also noted that some customers may prefer to place orders directly with takeaway restaurants, either online, by telephone or in person.
The decision comes two days after the CMA published its initial findings provisionally approving the acquisition of Booker Group plc by Tesco plc, the UK’s largest grocery wholesaler5 and the UK’s largest grocery retailer respectively. The CMA’s preliminary conclusion is that this ‘bricks and mortar’ merger does not present competition concerns as Tesco and Booker do not compete head-to-head in most of theirctivities. The CMA also considered the impact of the merger in all local areas where a Tesco and a Booker-supplied shop compete (over 12,000 shops) and provisionally found that the presence of other nearby retail competitors as well as generally strong competition in wholesale services would be sufficient to prevent the merged entity from raising prices or reducing service levels. The CMA has until 26 December 2017 to come to its final decision.