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Merging Web Food-Order Companies to End Exclusive Deals

Seamless North America LLC and GrubHub Inc., online meal-ordering services planning to merge, agreed to end exclusive deals with New York City restaurants.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced a settlement with the companies that he said would resolve concerns the merger would harm competition.

“This settlement ensures that no single online platform will have a monopoly on access to Manhattan restaurants, and it allow consumers and restaurants the freedom to do business with the website or app of their choice,” he said in a statement.

Schneiderman said Seamless had a “uniquely strong market position in Manhattan” and that closely held GrubHub was its chief competitor. As part of the settlement of the probe into the planned merger, the companies also agreed not to form exclusive agreements with Yelp Inc., a San Francisco-based online search service for restaurants, he said.

“We entered into the assurance in order to conclude the New York AG’s investigation,” Abby Hunt, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based GrubHub, said in an e-mail, speaking on behalf of both companies. “We are excited about the combined organization’s growth potential and the added value we will be able to provide our restaurants and diners once the transaction closes.”

The companies announced the merger in May. They said that they offer their service in more than 500 U.S. cities and that their combined revenue in 2012 was more than $100 million.

Closely held Seamless is based in New York.

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