DUBAI: Careem, Uber’s main Middle East rival, is looking at raising between $100 million and $200 million from Chinese investors, a source with direct knowledge of the matter shared.
Investment bank China International Capital Corporation (CICC) is advising Dubai-based Careem, but it was not immediately clear when or if a deal would be finalised, the source said, adding there was a lack of familiarity and interest among Chinese investors in Middle Eastern start-ups.
Beijing-based CICC and Careem both declined to comment.
It was reported on Monday that CICC and New York-based investment bank Jefferies were both advising Careem on potential investment options and capital raising, including a possible Middle East M&A deal with Uber.
Careem, which counts German carmaker Daimler and China’s largest ride-hailing company DiDi Chuxing among its other backers, competes head-to-head with Uber in most of the major cities in the Middle East.
Careem said in October it had secured $200 million in a new funding round from existing investors, and that it expected to raise more to finance expansion plans.
That investment, combined with previous fund-raising and company growth into new markets and segments, gave Careem an estimated valuation of more than $2 billion.
Furthermore, it was reported in March that Careem was in early talks to raise as much as $500 million.
In a separate development, Careem has been working with investment bank Jefferies as an adviser on investment options and fundraising, including a potential mergers and acquisition deal in the region with Uber Technologies Inc, three sources familiar with the matter said.
The appointment of Jefferies indicates that talks on a potential deal have become more serious, two of the sources said.
Careem, Uber and Jefferies declined to comment.
Dubai-based Careem, which counts German carmaker Daimler and China’s largest ride-hailing company DiDi Chuxing among its backers, is Uber’s main Middle East rival, competing head-to-head in most of the region’s major cities.
A person familiar with the talks between Uber and DiDi, which have been ongoing for months, said Uber is interested in a deal providing them with a majority, controlling stake in Careem.