Just Eat soars on London Stock Exchange debut

 

The City took a bite of Just Eat, sending shares of the takeaway website up 5 per cent on its debut day of trading on the London Stock Exchange, which valued the company at more than £1.5 billion.

The biggest UK technology listing in eight years sees Just Eat — which was founded in Denmark in 2001 but is now headquartered just north of London, in Borehamwood  — valued at two thirds more than takeaway giant Domino’s Pizza and a touch more than The Restaurant Group, which owns 400 UK restaurants including Chiquito and Garfunkel’s.

Just Eat priced its shares at 260p, the top end of its range, valuing the business at more than 100 times last year’s £14.1 million underlying profits — but investors devoured more: Just Eat was the most traded stock on the Footsie, as its shares rose 14.6p to 274.6p.

The company claims the majority of takeaway orders will be made using mobile phones within two years; it has put through more than 70 million orders since its launch and has more than 36,000 restaurants, in 13 countries, listed on its site.

The float will raise £100 million for the company and up to £287 million for the shareholders who are selling down their stakes, including directors and private equity backers including SM Trust, and Index Ventures.

The site — which in the UK charges restaurants a £700 sign-up fee, then takes a 10% to 12% commission on orders — is the first company to list on the LSE’s High Growth Segment, aimed at nabbing tech firms that might otherwise have chosen to list in New York. The City banks securing fees worth some £15 million are Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Cazenove and Oakley Capital.

Chief executive David Buttress, an ex-Coke executive who already orders in food once a week and will now be able to afford far more, as he owns the biggest slice of a 10% stake owned by management, described the business as “the WhatsApp of takeaway”, and added: “Just Eat is one of the most exciting global growth companies in Europe and we are all delighted at the strong levels of investor interest we have seen in our initial public offering.”

US rival GrubHub, which is listing on Wall Street, has just raised the price range of its own float thanks to huge demand; it is now set to be valued at $2 billion (£1.2 billion).

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