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Uber to buy Middle East ride-hailing rival Careem for $3.1bn

Careem's co-founders Mudassir Sheikha, Abdulla Elyas, Magnus Olsson. (Photo credit: Careem)

Global ride-hailing company Uber has acquired Careem, one of its most prominent challengers in the Middle East.

The $3.1bn deal will be one of the largest-ever technology transactions in the Middle East, according to the firm. 

After the deal, Careem will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber, operating as an independent company led by its original founders.

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Dubai-based Careem is one of the most successful startups in the Middle East, with markets including Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahm, highlighted how the acquisition will provide opportunities for both companies to take advantage of the region’s underpenetrated mobile opportunity and growing digital economy.

“This is an important moment for Uber as we continue to expand the strength of our platform around the world,” he said.

“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.”

Careem CEO and co-founder, Mudassir Sheikha, said that the firm “could not have found a better partner than Uber under Dara’s leadership.”

He added: “This is a milestone moment for us and the region, and will serve as a catalyst for the region’s technology ecosystem by increasing the availability of resources for budding entrepreneurs from local and global investors.”

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