Careem Valued at $1 billion in Saudi STC Deal

ArabNet Team, Dec 19 2016

Saudi Telecom (STC) has agreed to buy a 10% stake in Uber’s regional riding-hailing app rival, Careem for $100 million, giving the company a valuation estimated at $1 billion. According to Reuters, the transaction is conditional on meeting all requirements to close the deal – the STC bourse filing said without elaborating.

With this announcement, Careem closes a first part of a $500 million funding round at $350 million backed by investors including Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten and now STC.

Careem began operations in 2012 and is present in 45 cities in 11 countries across the Middle East and North Africa, including Turkey and Pakistan with more than four million users registered through its mobile app.

The announcement is the latest high-profile Saudi venture since the kingdom’s adoption of the Vision 2030 plan to diversify the oil-dependent economy and broaden its investment base. In June, US-based Uber announced that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which also holds a 70 percent stake in STC, would inject $3.5 billion to help the app’s global expansion.

STC, the kingdom's biggest operator by subscribers, and more than 100 million customers in nice countries, is already invested in Careem through STC Ventures, an independently managed venture capital fund of which the Saudi telcom is an anchor investor. Investors in Careem’s earlier funding rounds include Dubai-based Wamda Capital and Saudi Arabia’s Al Tayyar Travel Group.

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