Amazon given green light to pick up stake in Deliveroo

Amazon has been given the nod to complete its purchase of a 16 per cent stake in London-based food delivery company Deliveroo by the UK’s competition regulator.

Amazon’s intention to invest in Deliveroo was announced by in May 2019 when Amazon led a $575m (£457m) funding round, which also included funds from existing investors T. Rowe Price, Fidelity Management and Research Company, and Greenoaks.

The involvement of Amazon in this funding round triggered a probe by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the government department deciding to pause the transaction in July 2019.

Now, more than a year later, the CMA has deemed that that Amazon’s investment in Deliveroo wouldn’t be damaging to competition.

“Today’s final decision is the result of a thorough examination of this deal and the markets in which Amazon and Deliveroo operate,” said Stuart McIntosh, Inquiry Chair. “The CMA’s initial Phase 1 review of the transaction highlighted potential competition concerns which the independent Inquiry Group has considered in detail during the Phase 2 investigation. Taking account of the higher legal standard that applies at Phase 2, the Group has concluded that the transaction will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in either restaurant delivery or convenience grocery delivery.”

The decision doesn’t actually come as much of a surprise with the CMA having provisionally cleared the transaction a few months ago.

In April, Deliveroo argued that the coronavirus pandemic had done so much damage to its business that it wouldn’t be able to survive without Amazon’s investment. The CMA agreed and continued to monitor the company’s finances, eventually finding that the recovery of the food delivery market during the outbreak meant that Deliveroo “could no longer be considered a failing firm”.

Despite this, the regulator still came to conclusion that Amazon’s claim of 16 per cent of Deliveroo would not lessen competition. If Amazon were to acquire a larger stake in Deliveroo, however, the CMA has said it could launch another investigation.