Uber is in advanced talks to buy its Dubai-based rival Careem, reported yesterday.
The companies may announce a cash-and-shares transaction that values Careem at about $3 billion in the coming weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private.
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.
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.
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 is overseen by the divisive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.