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Uber 'in talks to buy Deliveroo'

Margi Murphy
London-based Deliveroo is estimated to be worth between $1.5 and $2bn - PA

Uber is in early talks to buy British food delivery startup Deliveroo, according to reports.

The Californian ride-hailing giant is understood to have approached Deliveroo, understood to be worth around $2bn, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The sources, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that Deliveroo founder and chairman would expect a figure higher than the company’s reported market value.

Deliveroo is a popular app that sends couriers on pedal bike, motorbike or car  to pick up food from restaurants that would not ordinarily offer delivery service. 

If Deliveroo founder Will Shu decides to sell he will be succumbing to one of the companies' largest competitors in Europe, Uber Eats, which uses a network of Uber taxi drivers to deliver food to people’s homes or offices.

Deliveroo allows consumers to order food for delivery from restaurants that do not offer their own courier service Credit: Bloomberg

Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshah has has made clear his plans to ramp up Uber Eats ahead of a long awaited initial public offering tabled for next year. If talks progress to a purchase this would cement Uber’s presence in Europe. 

It could help smooth a historically tricky business climate across the bloc. Regulators including Transport for London and resistance from taxi drivers have thwarted earlier attempts to convince prospective shareholders that Uber’s long term goals can be achieved outside of the US.

It comes after months of speculation over Uber’s rumoured plans to merge reportedly in talks to merge its ride-sharing business in Saudi Arabia with local competitor Careem. 

The revelations come amid speculation that with almost $1bn raised from the private markets, Deliveroo might be mulling a stock market flotation to fund further expansion.

Mr Shu has rebuffed these rumours, previously saying: “My ambition is to be a definitive food company. Whether that takes the path of an IPO or takes the path of us remaining private longer is not something I give much thought to.”

Deliveroo currently employs 35,000 delivery riders worldwide, 15,000 of which are in the UK. In June it announced dramatic expansion plans, adding 5,000 more restaurants across the country to its online ordering service. 

Uber declined to comment and Deliveroo was not immediately available.