Amazon has finally been given approval to buy a stake in takeaway service Deliveroo - 15 months after the deal was first announced.
The US tech titan will buy 16pc of Deliveroo, pumping in $575m (£400m) of vital cash to help it stay afloat. Monopoly regulators cleared the deal after a lengthy investigation found it would not substantially decrease competition in the market.
Officials at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced they were looking into the funding round last summer. They launched an investigation in December amid concerns it could reduce the number of players in the online food delivery and grocery market, ultimately driving up prices for consumers.
However, in April the CMA said it would provisionally clear the agreement because Deliveroo had warned it desperately needed cash to stave off collapse during the coronavirus pandemic.
The CMA then issued a further finding in June, saying that the two sides would not be required to offer up any remedies - pledges aimed at supporting competition, such as an agreement to sell parts of a business - as Amazon was only buying a minority stake.
This caused anger among some insiders who believed the CMA should have reached this decision much sooner given that the size of Amazon's planned investment had been known a year earlier.
Regulators' final report said that internal documents from Amazon and Deliveroo shareholders suggested they had viewed the deal as a “potential first step toward a full acquisition”.
Stuart McIntosh, who led the watchdog's inquiry, added: “If [Amazon] were to increase its shareholding in Deliveroo, that could trigger a further investigation by the CMA.”
A Deliveroo spokesman said: “We are delighted that the CMA has concluded its 15 month investigation and that the Amazon minority investment can now go ahead.”
The company added that 30,000 new restaurants have joined its food delivery app so far this year, with a jump in demand as restaurants were forced to focus on deliveries during lockdown.