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Bloomberg reports that Uber is in negotiations to acquire Deliveroo, a Europe-based food delivery business, for a price that could top $2 billion.

Such a move, the story says, “would mark a major attempt by Uber to dominate the food-delivery business in Europe … Although little-known in the crowded U.S. market, which it has avoided, Deliveroo is ubiquitous in Europe’s capitals. The service is available in more than 200 cities on four continents.”

The New York Times writes that “worldwide, Uber Eats is a bright spot for its loss-making parent. It is profitable in 27 of 108 cities … and is sometimes more popular than Uber’s ride-hailing business in Tokyo and Seoul.

“But in Britain and other European markets, Uber Eats is streets behind Deliveroo and other local services like Just Eat and Delivery Hero. Its share of British order volume last year was between 5 percent and 10 percent, according to projections from British antitrust regulators. Deliveroo’s was double that.”

The Bloomberg story cautions that Deliveroo’s founders are reluctant to give up their independence, and the talks could fall apart at any time.
KC's View:
The extent to which delivery really is gaining greater traction, seemingly with new offerings popping up all the time, really is remarkable … but I have to say that I was caught up short a it by the sentence about how “Uber Eats is profitable in 27 of the 108 markets that it serves.” That’s just 25 percent … and it is seen as a “bright spot.”

Yikes.

That’s a little scary, I’m sure, but companies making an investment in delivery are doing so as a bet … that the consumer trends that have taken shape over the past few years will continue their momentum. I think this is a good bet.