Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed’s firm supports Uber-Careem merger


Kingdom Holding holds a stake in Dubai-based car hailing app Careem

Saudi’s Kingdom Holding Company, which has a stake in car hailing app Careem, would back a merger of the Dubai firm with rival Uber, a senior official has said.

Kingdom, the investment firm of billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, took a 7 per cent stake in Careem in 2017 and was also part of a $200m fundraising round in October.

Reports last year had claimed that ride hailing firm Uber is holding talks to buy Careem in a deal that could value the firm at $2-2.5bn.

“We don’t interfere nor are we party to the discussions, and if it ever happens I think we are supportive of it yes,” CEO of Kingdom Holding Talal Bin Ibrahim Al Maiman told Bloomberg at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

According to reports, Uber had previously said it wanted to own more than half of any combination with Careem.

Careem, which launched in 2012, currently operates its car service business in more than 120 cities in 15 mainly Middle East countries.

Late last year, it also launched a delivery service covering everything from takeaway food to pharmaceuticals on Monday. The company said it plans to spend over $150m to develop the delivery business, starting with food delivery services in Dubai and Jeddah.

“We believe the opportunity for deliveries in the region is even bigger than ride-hailing,” CEO and co-founder Mudassir Sheikha told Reuters at the time. “It is going to become a very significant part of Careem over time.”

This article was first published in Gulf Business

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