Activist investor Cat Rock turns up the heat after calling on Just Eat to start merger talks

Sebastian McCarthy
Follow Sebastian
A gas stove is ingnited on January 6, 20
Just Eat is facing the heat after a series of searing attacks from Cat Rock (Source: Getty)

One of Just Eat’s major shareholders has urged the takeaway giant to start merger discussions with a "well-run industry peer" today, following the recent departure of boss Peter Plumb.

Cat Rock Capital Management, which owns a 1.7 per cent stake in Just Eat, said that a tie-up for the online food delivery firm "would be a far better outcome for shareholders than relying on the board to choose a new chief executive, particularly given the board’s poor record of chief executive selection".

The calls from the US hedge fund come less than a month after boss Peter Plumb surprised the City by revealing plans to step down after just 16 months at the helm of the company.

Plump's departure was announced on the back of growing pressure for the company’s board, which has struggled to compete with the likes of Uber Eats and Deliveroo in an increasingly squeezed online food order and delivery market.

Just Eat said Plumb was to be replaced with immediate effect on an interim basis by chief customer officer Peter Duffy while it looks for a permanent replacement.

Read more: Just Eat boss quits in unexpected resignation

Cat Rock’s comments this morning are the latest in a series of damning remarks levied at the food giant, with the investor group complaining in December that Just Eat had become the world’s worst performing online food delivery stock, and called on the company to sell its businesses and align executive pay to financial targets.

Read more: Activist investor launches searing attack on Just Eat

Alex Captain, founder and managing partner of Cat Rock Capital Management, said today: "The board’s experiment of appointing an industry outsider like Mr Plumb to the chief executive role failed miserably and destroyed shareholder value. Now Just Eat needs a world-class management team with online food delivery experience and proven delivery capabilities."

He added: "A merger is an obvious path for securing these advantages for the company."