Startup, Technology, Transport & Logistics

Uber in “advanced talks” to acquire Middle East rival Careem

Uber Technologies is in advanced discussions to buy its Dubai-based rival Careem Networks, according to a Bloomberg report.

The deal would expand the ride-hailing giant’s operations in the Middle East, said the report which cited to people familiar with the matter.Careem

The report noted that the companies may announce a cash-and-shares transaction that values Careem at about $3 billion in the coming weeks.

Negotiations are ongoing and no final agreements have been reached, the people said. Representatives for the companies declined to comment, said the report.

Uber and Careem reportedly held preliminary talks in July to combine their Middle Eastern ride-hailing services, hoping to resolve a costly rivalry in the region, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Careem, whose backers include Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. and German automaker Daimler AG, was valued at a little more than $1 billion in a 2016 funding round, making it one of the most valuable technology startups in the Middle East.

Acquiring a rival would be a departure in strategy for Uber. The company has traditionally used such deals to offload costly overseas operations and take stakes in competitors, as it did in China, Russia and Southeast Asia.

Careem has more than a million drivers and operates in more than 100 cities in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Pakistan, Kuwait, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Turkey, Palestine, Iraq and Sudan, according to its website. The app lets customers book rides on cars, bikes, golf carts, boats and rickshaws as well as schedule deliveries.


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