Just Eat (LSE: JE), the world’s leading online takeaway ordering service, continues to impress with both its organic growth and worldwide acquisitions. It seems there’s no let-up in investors’ appetite for the FTSE 250-listed company, as the share price pushes higher and the group confounds doubters by growing into its lofty valuation. But with the share price gaining 154% in less than three years, is there any room for further growth, or are we just being too greedy?
Skip the dishes
Final results won’t be published until early next month, but in its recent full-year order update for 2016 the group delivered an impressive 42% rise in total orders for the year, with like-for-like sales up 36%. Here in the UK, total orders grew 31%. With more than 17m users and over 67,000 restaurant partners, it seems as though Just Eat is fast becoming the go-to place for ordering takeaways.
Since I last looked at the group in November, Just Eat has made a couple of notable acquisitions, namely SkipTheDishes and hungryhouse. SkipTheDishes is one of Canada’s largest online food delivery marketplaces with a technologically advanced delivery platform focused on lower density metropolitan and suburban areas, which are key features of the Canadian market. The acquisition was completed in December for around £66.1m and should help the group’s strategic ambition to be the clear market leader in Canada.
Also in December, the group announced the £200m acquisition of its largest UK rival hungryhouse from Germany’s Delivery Hero. Unlike Just Eat, hungryhouse operates solely in the UK, but has a very similar business model. The acquisition should generate significant benefits for both Just Eat’s restaurant partners and customers, with an enlarged customer base for restaurant partners to access, while increasing the breadth of choice for UK consumers through Just Eat’s platform.
The City remains optimistic, with analysts anticipating a 68% rise in underlying earnings to £75.2m for 2016, with this figure set to double to £152m by the end of 2018. Just Eat’s share price has come off December’s all-time highs, with the pricey earnings multiple of 45 falling to a more palatable 22 by the end of next year. Greedy investors might want to grab a slice of Just Eat ahead of next month’s full-year results.
What’s in a name?
Another technology-based firm that’s been profiting from the digital media explosion is ZPG (LSE: ZPG), formerly known as Zoopla Property Group. It changed its name this month to reflect the diversity of the business which includes uSwitch, PrimeLocation and Property Software Group. Shame, to me Zoopla sounds so much cooler than ZPG.
The FTSE 250-listed group continues to go from strength to strength, last year reporting record revenue at almost £200m, with pre-tax profits hitting £46m for the first time. More recently it announced the acquisition of Technicweb, a UK cloud-based estate agency website design and hosting businesses, as well as an exclusive strategic partnership with Neos, a smart home-insurance provider.
There’s no doubt in my mind that ZPG can continue to grow at a reasonable pace both organically and via acquisitions. But after hitting all-time highs of 391p per share earlier this week and gaining a mammoth 73% over the past year, I feel the shares are poised for a sharp retracement. The P/E ratio of 27 is on a par with recent levels, and although there is plenty more growth to come I think ZPG is one for the watchlist for now.
Bilaal Mohamed has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Just Eat. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.