Top Stories
Top Stories

UPDATE 3-UK competition regulator puts brake on Amazon's Deliveroo investment

Kate Holton and James Davey

* Competition and Markets Authority issues enforcement order

* Order gives CMA time to consider formal investigation

* Amazon led $575 million fundraising in Deliveroo in May (Adds detail, Amazon statement)

July 5 (Reuters) - Britain's competition regulator has stepped in to pause Amazon's investment in online food delivery group Deliveroo while it considers launching a full investigation.

Amazon led a $575 million fundraising in Deliveroo in May, making what the two parties called "a minority investment" and going up against Uber Eats in the global race to dominate the market for takeaway meal deliveries.

On Friday Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it had served an initial enforcement order (IEO) on the two companies, signalling possible concerns about the transaction.

The order requires companies to operate independently for now, meaning they cannot press ahead with a tie-up or operate as a merged entity. It gives the regulator time to decide if it will launch a formal "Phase 1" probe.

The Deliveroo investment is Amazon's latest attempt to enter the takeaway delivery market, worth around $100 billion globally, after it shut down its own service, Amazon Restaurants, first in the UK and then last month in the United States.

Deliveroo said it and Amazon had been working closely with regulators to obtain their approval. The two companies will argue that the investment will help Deliveroo grow its coverage, increase competition and boost the restaurant sector.

"We believe this minority investment will enable Deliveroo to expand its services, benefiting consumers through increased choice and creating new jobs as more restaurants gain access to the service," Amazon said in a statement.

Deliveroo noted that it was competing with a number of major companies in the sector and that the investment would help to create jobs and restaurants to expand.


The CMA uses IEO orders if it suspects that two enterprises "have ceased to be distinct", or that arrangements are in place or being considered, which could result in the enterprises "ceasing to be distinct".

The orders do not prevent parties from continuing to talk to each other, but typically do prevent the transfer of key staff or the transfer of commercially sensitive information.

If the CMA were to undertake an investigation and find competition concerns then the companies could offer undertakings to try to address those concerns. That process could be compromised if the companies had already merged financially.

Neither Deliveroo or Amazon have disclosed a figure for Amazon's funding contribution.

Deliveroo competes in Britain with Just Eat and with Uber Eats which is also present in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. It also competes in Europe with and Delivery Hero.

Headquartered in London, Deliveroo uses 60,000 riders dressed in black and teal jackets to deliver meals from more than 80,000 restaurants and takeaway outlets in 14 countries including France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuwait.

Since former lawmaker Andrew Tyrie became chairman of the CMA a year a go, it has increasingly bared its teeth. In April it blocked supermarket group Sainsbury's 7.3 billion pound ($9.2 billion) takeover of rival Asda.

In April the regulator proposed some of the biggest reforms to auditing globally since the aftermath of the Enron scandal, while earlier this month it launched an investigation into the power wielded by Facebook and Google in digital advertising markets. ($1 = 0.7966 pounds) (Editing by Keith Weir)