Uber is in talks to buy Dubai-based rival Careem Networks FZ for about $2 billion to $2.5 billion, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citied the people asking not to be identified because the talks are private.
No final decisions have been made, and the companies may decide against the transaction, according to Bloomberg.
Negotiations are ongoing and Careem’s management is working to convince the firm’s merits of the deal.
Uber and Careem held preliminary talks in July to combine their Middle Eastern ride-hailing services, hoping to resolve a costly rivalry in the region, Bloomberg had previously reported.
We believe the consumer internet opportunity in the region is massive and untapped,” Careem said in an emailed statement.
“We believe the consumer internet opportunity in the region is massive and untapped,” Careem said in an emailed statement. “In the last couple of years, the rest of the world has begun to embrace this opportunity and we have been approached by multiple strategic and financial investors. Our ambition remains to build a lasting tech institution from the region.” quoted Bloomberg
Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Uber, which is on track to go public next year, has been seeking new avenues of growth even as it battles intense competition in its core business of riding hailing.
The company has been building services such as food delivery and freight hauling, and, in April, acquired electric bike service JUMP Bikes to offer U.S. passengers an alternative to cars.
SoftBank, which is the majority stakeholder in Uber, has opened up the possibility of combining Uber with other ride-hailing assets the Japanese group owns across Asia. SoftBank has stakes in Singapore-based Grab and India’s Ola.
At the time of the investment, SoftBank said it wants Uber to focus on growing in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Australia – not Asia, which has been among the most costly and competitive regions for the ride-hailing company, accoring to Reuters.
Careem has more than a million drivers and operates in more than 100 cities in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Pakistan, Kuwait, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Turkey, Palestine, Iraq and Sudan.