Uber Technologies Inc. is said to be in discussions to buy its Dubai-based rival Careem Networks FZ as the ride-hailing giant expands in the Middle East, people familiar with the matter said, according to Bloomberg on Monday.
A deal could value Careem at $2 billion to $2.5 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private, said Bloomberg in the report. Negotiations are ongoing and Careem management is working to convince the firm’s shareholders of the merits of a deal, the people said. No final decisions have been made, and the companies may decide against the transaction, they said.
“We believe the consumer Internet opportunity in the region is massive and untapped,” Careem said in an emailed statement, according to Bloomberg. “In the last couple of years, the rest of the world has begun to embrace this opportunity and we have been approached by multiple strategic and financial investors. Our ambition remains to build a lasting tech institution from the region.”
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A spokesman for Uber declined to comment.
Uber and Careem 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. Uber had said it wanted to own more than half of the combined company and had also discussed buying Careem outright at the time, the people said.
Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said at a conference in May that he believed the company would come out on top in India, the Middle East and Africa. "We are going to be, I believe, the winning player in those markets and we’re going to control our own destiny," he said.
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