Leading analyst Nick Batram at Peel Hunt says that Just Eat still offers the potential to be a highly profitable business, but investors need to “enjoy the dish now before it gets cold”.

Batram said: “Just Eat has enjoyed explosive growth and we expect the positive momentum to continue in the short term, with organic expansion supplemented by strategic acquisitions. However, there are a number of issues that in the long term suggest the pricing structure is unsustainable and the business model vulnerable.”

Batram believes that the emergence of online aggregator networks in the takeaway delivery market highlights a genuine online opportunity.

He said: “We estimate that c25% of takeaway food is currently ordered online, but by the end of the decade we expect this to grow to more than 50%. Just Eat has strong momentum, and in the race to grab land has the balance sheet to supplement dynamic organic growth with strategic acquisitions in its core markets. In the short term, we expect the rapid rate of expansion to continue.”

Batram said he has “real concerns about the sustainability of the current pricing structure”.

“This view is based on a number of factors, including high charges relative to limited IP, questionable bottom-line value accretion for restaurants, and ultimately we see the aggregator model as a zerosum game for the takeaway food industry,” he said. “In addition, the takeaway aggregator business model as it currently stands compares unfavourably with other online platforms/distribution models, both from a B2B and B2C perspective. Therefore, this leaves Just Eat vulnerable to disruptive new business models.”

There is a fierce land grab in the online takeaway aggregator market, with the four leading players all raising money in the last year.

Batram said: “Comments from some of these players already point to more intense competition, while there is also a risk of over-paying for acquisitions.

“In the short term our forecasts are broadly around consensus; however, from 2017 and beyond we are more cautious. Our base case DCF gives a fair value of 247p (165p for the established operations and 82p for emerging markets). Our bull case (407p) does give greater upside than our bear case (144p) downside, but given the long-term concerns it is insufficient for us to be more positive at this stage.”