Just Eat shareholders have until Friday lunchtime to digest and decide between the two takeover bids on the table for the firm: one from Dutch food delivery giant Takeaway.com and the other from Prosus, the Dutch-listed investment vehicle of South African conglomerate Naspers.

In the run-up to Christmas, both suitors upped their offers and waged a war of words to secure a deal with the British food platform. It is expected shareholders will go with Takeaway.com’s offer, leaving them with 57.5% of the combined group with an implied value of 916p per Just Eat share – the one recommended by the Just Eat board.

The deal is likely to see Just Eat quickly become a much bigger, and hungrier, fish in the relatively small pond – along with Deliveroo and Uber Eats – of food ordering and delivery services.

Until recently that pond has been relatively calm. Just Eat simply provided a platform that restaurants paid a fee to be listed on, in return for more eyeballs on their menus. The actual delivery of the food was left to the restaurant.

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Uber Eats and Deliveroo, meanwhile, provided a platform to list food on, which their drivers would pick up and deliver to consumers.

But these days the players are very much nipping at each other’s tails. Last year, Just Eat began a “targeted rollout of delivery in key zones” and started contracting its own couriers.

Meanwhile, in March, Uber Eats began allowing restaurants to list on its platform but use their own delivery drivers. Deliveroo did the same in 2018. Both announcements hit Just Eat’s share price hard.

Just Eat’s move to delivery – a “unique hybrid model” as it calls it – has proven costly. The strategy cost the company £51m to deliver last financial year – eating into pre-tax profits. Uber Eats and Deliveroo are similarly burning through cash to stay competitive.

A Takeaway.com tie-up will help maintain that strategy, and further stir things up thanks to the Dutch company’s heavy investment in its own delivery service, Scoober. Now available in 70 cities, Scoober accounts for a small but solid 4.9% of orders.

The Competition & Markets Authority will be watching proceedings very closely. According to the Just Eat board, combining with Takeaway.com will create the second largest food delivery player globally and the largest outside China, making it the market leader in 15 of the 23 countries where it operates.

Back in 2017 the authority waved through the merger of Just Eat and rival online ordering platform Hungryhouse – due to the latter’s small size. But the market is different now, as is the CMA. Last month it announced an in-depth investigation into Amazon’s investment into Deliveroo, concerned it would mean fewer players in the middle-man food delivery space and “a real risk that it could leave customers, restaurants and grocers facing higher prices and lower quality services”.

For consumers and restaurants, at least in the short term, the big fish thrashing it out is likely to lead to better deals. Did somebody say compete?