German food delivery company Delivery Hero has agreed to acquire its South Korean rival Woowa Brothers for $4 billion, Woowa Brotherssaid in a statement on Friday.
The deal will lead businesses to combine their strengths to take on key competitors such as Gojek, UberEats and Grab in Asia in a time of intense competition and stabilization in the growing field of online food delivery services.
Founded in 2010, Woowa is South Korea's biggest food delivery platform, racking up some 30 million orders a month.
The remaining 13% held by Woowa's senior management, including its founder Kim Bong-jin, will be converted into Delivery Hero shares, making Kim the largest individual shareholder among the German firm's leadership.
The domestic operation of Woowa Brothers, meanwhile, will be managed by vice president Kim Beom-joon, who will be appointed CEO of the company next year, the officials said.
South Korea's online market for food delivery and pickup has more than doubled over the past five years to $7.7-billion - bigger than Japan and Germany's markets combined, and trailing only China, the United States and the United Kingdom, Euromonitor data showed.
For Delivery Hero, now worth almost 10 billion euros (US$11 billion) by market value, buying Woowa expands its presence in the Asia market as Europe becomes more competitive, Reuters noted.
"The (food) delivery market has been flooded with very big Japan-backed capital and influential online platforms, leading Woowa to factor in partnership as a survival strategy", said a spokesman at Woowa Brothers.
Shares in Delivery Hero jumped more than 16 percent to 58.22 euros by mid-morning on Frankfurt's mid-sized MDAX index on news of the Woowa acquisition.
The company has expanded into the business of provided shared kitchen space for restaurateurs, and also moved into Vietnam. "The deal will be beneficial to everyone including customers, restaurant owners and delivery riders as the companies will work harder to improve their quality".
Delivery Hero, headquartered in Berlin, offers food delivery services in more than 400 cities globally, with about 22,000 employees, according to its website.
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