It was reported once before that Uber was in discussions with Careem, its main rival in the Middle East, for an acquisition. A new report says that the deal may be inked as soon as this week. Uber will reportedly be acquiring Dubai-based Careem for $3.1 billion. The move definitely goes against Uber’s recent trend of pulling out of foreign markets where it faces intense competition.
The Financial Times reported that the deal between Uber and Careem could be announced by tomorrow. Careem was valued at $2 billion last year and claims to operate in 90 cities across 15 countries, serving some 30 million users in the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa. Some of Careem’s biggest investors include Rakuten and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Company.
In markets where both services operate, a merger between Uber and Careem will create a de facto monopoly in the former’s favor. Much like how its exit has enabled its biggest Southeast Asian rival to consolidate its position in the market after Uber decided to leave. Whether or not the deal faces any regulatory hurdles in some of those markets remains to be seen.
There has been no official comment on the matter from either Careem or Uber at this point in time.
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