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Uber has confirmed that it will buy its Middle Eastern rival Careem for $3.1B

March 27, 2019


For Uber, that is. Uber confirmed plans Tuesday to execute its biggest acquisition yet, just in time for its April IPO

The company will purchase Middle Eastern ride-hailing rival Careem for a cool $3.1B…. an uber-large win that’ll make an ally out of an enemy, increase reach by 400 million, and get Uber’s foot in the (car) door of a long sought-after global market. 

Put it in reverse real quick

The decision to buy was a U-turn from Uber’s recent slew of international sales, which resulted in Uber selling off global operations to competitors in China, Russia, and Southeast Asia. 

Just last month, Careem CEO Mudassir Sheikha was talkin’ smack about Uber’s slim chance of success in the Middle East, where the 2 companies have been competing for their share of a dense, delivery-apt market.

Not a ‘my way or the highway’ kind of deal

Founded in 2012, the company quickly became the Careem of the crop, expanding to serve 15 countries and offer delivery and credit exchange. (Also, quick side note: Careem refers to drivers as “captains.” Dope.)

Now, Careem will become an independently operated subsidiary, allowing the company to keep both its leaders and also the customized systems it’s built… including a cash-based exchange algorithm and a GPS that’s better than local Google Maps. Knucks. 

But told your horses (or black cars, or whatever): The deal will have to go through a multi-country regulatory approval process and is projected to wrap in early 2020.

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