Uber is in advanced talks to buy its Dubai-based rival Careem, reported Bloomberg.
According to Bloomberg, the deal would expand the ride-hailing giant’s operations in the Middle East, according to people familiar with the matter.
The companies may announce a cash-and-stock transaction that values Careem at about $3 billion in the coming weeks, the report said.
Negotiations are ongoing and no final agreements have been reached, the people said. Both the Representatives for the Uber and Careem declined to comment.
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, people familiar with the matter said at the time.
San Francisco-based Uber is emphasizing growth, investing aggressively in food delivery, logistics, electric bikes and self-driving cars, as it prepares for a potential initial public offering this year.
Careem, whose backers include Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s investment firm and Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc., was valued at about $1 billion in a 2016 funding round, making it one of the most valuable technology startups in the Middle East.
The company has more than a million drivers (they call them captains) and operates in more than 100 cities in the Middle East, according to its website.
Acquiring a rival would be a departure in strategy for Uber.
The company has traditionally used such deals to offload costly overseas operations and take stakes in competitors, as it did in China, Russia and Southeast Asia.
A deal would signal Uber’s commitment to the Middle East, where one of its biggest investors, a Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund overseen by the divisive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is based stated Bloomberg.