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The deal is particularly important for Uber, whose ability to be a competitive global ride-hailing player had come into question after it sold its operations in China, Russia and Southeast Asia to local rivals after sustaining heavy losses. Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi in a statement called the deal with Careem “an important moment for Uber.”. Uber has been eager to reach an agreement before the company begins its “roadshow,” when it will meet with public market investors prior to listing shares on the New York Stock Exchange. The deal enables Uber to claim dominance in a growing region for ride-hailing outside of the United States cufflinks london.

Uber operates in more than 70 countries, but faces strong rivals in Latin America and India and tough regulations in Europe cufflinks london. Talks between the companies had dragged on since at least last summer, sources told Reuters, although they did not get serious until the end of the year. The companies had for years battled in a competition for drivers and riders that had required discounts and subsidies and pushed prices artificially low. Careem over the course of last year grew its business rapidly, including adding a delivery service, and went on to nearly double its valuation, pressuring Uber to increase its bidding price..

Toward the end of last year, Careem was entertaining interest from investors for another financing round when Uber moved aggressively to buy the company outright, sources said. The merger follows the $580 million acquisition of Dubai-based ecommerce company Souq Group Ltd by Amazon.com Inc in 2017, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, spotlighting the Middle East’s budding technology scene cufflinks london. Careem, founded in 2012, has a larger presence than Uber in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan, and Turkey, operating in 98 cities there compared with Uber’s roughly 23 locations..

“An Uber-Careem merger underscores the huge potential of car-hailing in the Middle East,” said Sam Blatteis, CEO at the MENA Catalysts, a Middle East public policy advisory and research firm. David Chao, co-founder and general partner at venture firm DCM and a Careem investor, said it was the “first unicorn exit” in the Middle East, referring to start-ups valued at $1 billion or more, and representative of things to come cufflinks london. Careem’s Middle East investors, including Saudi Arabia’s Al Tayyar Travel Group, Saudi Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom, Saudi Telecom and Saudi venture fund STV, all welcomed the deal..

Al Tayyar said it was divesting its investment for 1.78 billion Saudi riyal ($474.64 million) and expected a total profit of 1.34 billion riyals in 2019 as a result. Kingdom Holding said it was selling its stake for 1.25 billion riyals – 565 million riyals in cash and a convertible bond in Uber valued at 685 million riyals – while Saudi Telecom, which invested indirectly through its venture funds, said it will receive $274 million in cash and convertible notes. Uber said its revenue last year was $11.3 billion, while its gross bookings from rides were $50 billion cufflinks london. But the company lost a staggering $3.3 billion, excluding gains from the sale of its overseas business units in Russia and Southeast Asia..