PIF-backed Uber Technologies Buys Regional Rival Careem for $3.1 Billion

It’s the biggest tech deal the Middle East region has ever seen.

Uber Technologies, Inc. is buying regional ride-sharing rival Careem for $3.1 billion, $1.7 billion in convertible notes and $1.4 billion in cash.

Dubai-based Careem successfully rivaled Uber in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East region, amassing 30 million users across 90 cities. Careem will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber, operating as an independent company under the Careem brand and led by Careem founders, according to a press release.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan sits on the board of Uber.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan sits on the board of Uber.

This transaction “brings together Uber’s global leadership and technical expertise with Careem’s regional technology infrastructure and proven ability to develop innovative local solutions,” Uber said.

“This is an important moment for Uber as we continue to expand the strength of our platform around the world. With a proven ability to develop innovative local solutions, Careem has played a key role in shaping the future of urban mobility across the Middle East, becoming one of the most successful startups in the region. Working closely with Careem’s founders, I’m confident we will deliver exceptional outcomes for riders, drivers, and cities, in this fast-moving part of the world,” Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi said.

Uber is partially owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, having received an investment of $3.5 billion in cash from the PIF in what was “the largest single investment from a foreign government to a venture-backed startup ever—and still is,” Bloomberg notes. Bloomberg reports “that through direct and indirect holdings, the Saudi government owns more than 10 percent of the ride-hailing company.”