Tue, Mar 26, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Uber to seal Careem deal


Uber Technologies Inc is set to announce a US$3.1 billion cash-and-share deal to acquire its Dubai-based rival Careem Networks FZ as early as this week, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The US ride-hailing giant would pay US$1.4 billion in cash and US$1.7 billion in convertible notes for Careem, the people said on condition of anonymity.

The notes would be convertible into Uber shares at a price equal to US$55 per share, a term-sheet showed.

Shareholders in Careem, whose backers include Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s investment firm and Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten Inc, have been asked to agree to the terms of the transaction by Monday evening, the people said, adding that a deal could be announced as soon as today.

Uber spokesman Matt Kallman declined to comment, while a spokesman for Careem was not immediately able to comment.

Uber’s acquisition of Careem would come ahead of its imminent initial public offering (IPO), which could be one of the New York Stock Exchange’s biggest-ever listings.

Uber is expected to publicly file for an IPO next month, which could value the company at as much as US$120 billion, people familiar with the plans have said previously.

Careem was valued at about US$1 billion in a 2016 funding round, making it one of the most valuable technology start-ups in the Middle East. The company has more than 1 million drivers and operates in more than 90 cities in 15 countries, its Web site says.

For Uber, a deal would signal its commitment to the Middle East, where one of its biggest investors — a Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund — is based.

The acquisition would also be a departure in strategy for Uber, which has in the past used such deals to offload costly overseas operations in exchange for stakes in competitors.

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