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Amazon, Gopuff Are Said to Explore Deal for Germany’s Flink

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(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. and Gopuff, a U.S. delivery app backed by SoftBank, explored competing takeover bids for the German startup Flink SE, people familiar with the matter said.

Gopuff’s offer for the grocery delivery business was rebuffed, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private. The failed bid, however, indicates ambitions for the richly funded startup to expand abroad.

The status of the talks with Amazon are unclear. Representatives for the three companies declined to comment.

Europe -- and Germany, in particular -- has become a battleground for on-demand delivery apps. Competition has only intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic. Amazon offers grocery delivery there, and just in the last year, Delivery Hero SE, Just Eat Takeaway.com NV, Uber Technologies Inc. and Finnish startup Wolt have all expanded their German operations.

The largest food-delivery company in the U.S., DoorDash Inc., has also explored deals in Europe and on Wednesday said it would expand its international footprint by entering Japan.

Read more: Delivery Hero Returns to Germany to Take on Uber, Just Eat

The past several months brought a flurry of deals. Companies and venture capitalists have poured billions of dollars into on-demand companies in a bet on a permanent shift to online ordering that would claim a larger share of people’s grocery budgets. On Friday, Flink said it had raised $240 million in new funds from Prosus NV, Bond and Mubadala Capital.

Read more: Billions in VC Money Spell the End of the Late-Night Beer Run

Philadelphia-based Gopuff is among the fastest-growing apps. It offers to deliver an array of food and convenience items to customers in less than 30 minutes. An investment round in March valued the business at $8.9 billion, and Gopuff made its first acquisition in Europe last month when it bought a U.K. startup called Fancy.

At the time, Gopuff said the deal marked the beginning of an expansion throughput Europe. “This is the first of many steps in the company’s plans to significantly invest in new international markets,” the company said.

(Updates with details on DoorDash expansion in fifth paragraph)

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