Uber Eats sparks acquisition rumours with new feature

Posted: 21 Feb 2019

Uber Eats has sparked further speculation that it will acquire a rival after opening its app up to independent restaurants and cutting commission rates.

The food delivery service will now allow eateries which have their own delivery drivers to also use the Uber Eats network, in a move which echoes a change made by Deliveroo last year.

Previously both apps had only been available to restaurants who wanted to offer delivery using independent couriers.

Uber has also announced a more competitive fee structure to entice restaurants onto its platform.

The marketplace feature puts the service into direct competition with both Deliveroo and market leader Just Eat and will give an estimated 50,000 restaurants access to Uber Eats.

Analysts at Liberum even speculated that the addition signalled Uber's intentions to acquire Just Eat.

"What Uber Eats' move does suggest is that they recognise their model is not working and that they are not gaining share," said analyst Ian Whittaker.

"In that case, we think the more likely outcome is that Uber Eats decides at some point to acquire Just Eat."

He added: "Our view is that it will probably wait for 12-18 months to give the new initiative a try but it may decide that the public issues surrounding Just Eat may make now a good time to make a move."

It has also previously been reported that Uber was in advanced talks to acquire Deliveroo.

Shares in Just Eat were down as much as 4% on Thursday morning after Uber's announcement.

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