Delivery Hero to buy Korea's largest food delivery app for $4 billion

Delivery Hero agrees world's biggest food app deal

Delivery Hero to buy S Korea's Woowa Brothers for $4b

The German leader of the German takeover organization, Friday, said it had agreed to buy South Korea's largest food delivery company Woowa in a deal worth 3.6 billion euros ($ 4 billion) aimed at boosting its presence in Asia.

Kim will take charge of Woowa Brothers and Delivery Hero's pan-Asia joint venture in Singapore, called Woowa DH Asia, in which the companies will hold a 50 percent stake each.

The move will also ramp up Delivery Hero's presence in Korea, where it operates Baedal Minjok's Korean food delivery industry rivals Yogiyo and Baedaltong.

The acquisition of Woowa means the German company will effectively run two of the most popular food delivery apps in South Korea, with both holding a combined market share of almost 90%.

A detailed timeline for the closing of the deal has yet to be determined, on possibilities that the deal might be subject to antitrust hurdles, according to Woowa.

Despite being ahead of Delivery Hero's app Yogiyo, which comes in second, Woowa said its decision to sell is a "survival strategy" as competition grows fiercer.

A Woowa Brothers spokesperson told Reuters: "The [food] delivery market has been flooded with huge Japan-backed capital and influential online platforms, leading Woowa to factor in partnership as a survival strategy".

Delivery Hero is a publicly listed company worth nearly US$11 billion, and operates in more than 40 countries globally. As a result, Woowa will be wholly owned by Delivery Hero, while the Woowa board will be granted shares of Delivery Hero, trading at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Founder and chief executive officer Kim Bong-jin, 43, will head up a newly formed joint venture with Delivery Hero, based in Singapore. Regional players like Singapore-based Grab and Indonesia's Gojek are already well implanted.

"While Woowa Brothers has been expanding in South Korea as a local company with a kitsch marketing strategy which exactly suits South Korean taste, it will be necessary for the firm to have more local views and strategies which suit South-east Asian consumers", said Jade Lee, an analyst at research firm Euromonitor. Kim, who is the largest personal shareholder, will become a member of a three-man global advisory board at Delivery Hero.

Delivery Hero has received $523 million in investment in 2014 alone with investors including Insight Venture Partners, Luxor Capital Group, Kite Ventures, Team Europe, ru-Net, Tengelmann Ventures, Point Nine Capital, Vostok Nafta, and Phenomen Ventures.

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