A leading lawyer has said that the proposed tie-up between Just Eat and Hungryhouse “appears doomed to fail”.

Howard Cartlidge, head of EU and Competition at law firm DWF, said: “Just Eat will struggle to shake its historic position as the biggest online takeaway ordering platform by far, with Hungryhouse recognised as its only significant rival.

“Its claim that the rapid growth of new, powerful and well-funded platforms like Deliveroo, UberEats and Amazon Restaurants renders its market share irrelevant will likely be shot down. These platforms offer a combined ordering and delivery service and tend to focus on more upmarket restaurants - setting them a world apart from Just Eat and Hungryhouse, who service smaller takeaway businesses that have their own delivery systems in place.

“Just Eat is also claiming that Hungryhouse is just a smaller and inferior duplicate rather than a significant competitor. If this is the case, why is Just Eat buying it?

“Meanwhile, Hungryhouse is arguing that it will be closed by its parent company, Delivery Hero, if the merger doesn’t go through - so it will be exiting the market anyway. This so-called “failing firm defence” is difficult to win on – and begs the question of why Just Eat doesn’t simply sit tight and wait for Hungryhouse to shut up shop, rather than buying it.

“The CMA’s concerns that the merger would result in a substantial lessening of competition for online takeaway ordering platforms in the UK are very reasonable. The only plausible remedy will be to prohibit the deal entirely.”