Uber to acquire Careem – The latter will continue operating independently

Uber Careem Acquisition

Press ReleaseUber and Careem have reached an agreement for Uber to acquire Careem for $3.1 billion, consisting of $1.7 billion in convertible notes and $1.4 billion in cash. The acquisition of Careem is subject to applicable regulatory approvals.

The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2020. Uber will acquire all of Careem’s mobility, delivery, and payments businesses across the greater Middle East region, ranging from Morocco to Pakistan, with major markets including Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Key Points

  • Careem will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber
  • Careem to operate independently with Mudassir Sheikha as CEO
  • Careem will have its own board, with three representatives from Uber and two from Careem
  • Both companies’ apps will continue to operate under separate brands
  • The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2020

Upon closing, Careem will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber, preserving its brand. Careem co-founder and CEO Mudassir Sheikha will lead the Careem business, which will report to its own board made up of three representatives from Uber and two representatives from Careem. Careem and Uber will operate their respective regional services and independent brands.

Transaction Facts

The transaction will offer a great regional opportunity as the greater Middle East region has a population of over 600 million people, similar to Southeast Asia at 655 million – according to World Population Prospects, UN, 2017.

Arab Human Development Report, UNDP, 2016 has reported that 60% of the MENA population is under 30. The Mobile Economy Middle East and North Africa, GSMA, 2017 has suggested that by 2020, nearly half of the population will be connected to smartphones, up from 38% in 2016.

In another report by Open Data, Urban population, World Bank, 2017, 65% of MENA population in cities, compared to 34% in South Asia.

With an average annual growth rate of 25%, e-commerce in the region has the potential to increase 3.5 times in size by 2022 – E-commerce in MENA, Bain & Company, 2019.

Startup funding in MENA is up 31% in 2018 from 2017, with a record number of 366 startup deals across the region, amounting to $893 million of total investment. This was reported in MENA Venture Investment Report, Magnitt, 2019.

Of unbanked women in MENA, 75% have a mobile phone, offering an avenue for expanding financial inclusion – reported in “Financial Inclusion on the Rise, But Gaps Remain”, World Bank, 2018.

Uber Careem Acquisition

Press Statements

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in the press release:

This is an important moment for Uber as we continue to expand the strength of our platform around the world. With a proven ability to develop innovative local solutions, Careem has played a key role in shaping the future of urban mobility across the Middle East, becoming one of the most successful startups in the region. Working closely with Careem’s founders, I’m confident we will deliver exceptional outcomes for riders, drivers, and cities, in this fast-moving part of the world.

Careem CEO and co-founder, Mudassir Sheikha.

Joining forces with Uber will help us accelerate Careem’s purpose of simplifying and improving the lives of people, and building an awesome organisation that inspires. The mobility and broader internet opportunity in the region is massive and untapped, and has the potential to leapfrog our region into the digital future. We could not have found a better partner than Uber under Dara’s leadership to realise this opportunity. This is a milestone moment for us and the region, and will serve as a catalyst for the region’s technology ecosystem by increasing the availability of resources for budding entrepreneurs from local and global investors.

The greater Middle East region is already seeing the economic and social benefits of rapid technology adoption and improved access to transportation. This transaction supports the collective ability of Careem and Uber to improve the region’s transportation infrastructure at scale and offer diverse mobility, delivery and payment options.

It will speed up the delivery of digital services to people in the region through the development of a consumer-facing super-app that offers services such as Careem’s digital payment platform (Careem Pay) and last-mile delivery (Careem NOW).

This transaction brings together Uber’s global leadership and technical expertise with Careem’s regional technology infrastructure and proven ability to develop innovative local solutions. Both companies believe it will provide an opportunity to expand the variety and reliability of services offered, at a broader range of price points to serve more consumers.

Similarly, for drivers and captains, the companies believe an increase in trip growth and improved services could provide better work opportunities as well as higher and more predictable earnings through greater utilisation of drivers’ time on the road.

Jefferies LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Careem on the transaction.

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