In what will go down as — in all certainty — the biggest milestone for Middle East’s nascent yet aggressively growing technology ecosystem, Uber will be closing its $3.1 Billion deal to buy rival Careem, as early as this week.
The reported acquisition will see Uber pay $1.4 Billion in cash, while a remaining $1.7 billion in convertible notes to Careem’s shareholders. Bloomberg, which claims to have access to the term-sheets, mentions that the notes will be convertible into Uber shares at a price equal to $55 per share, according to the term-sheet seen by Bloomberg. This is the same deal that had surfaced close to sixth months back. However, at that time, valuations were being pegged in the vicinity of $2-$2.5 billion.
Careem’s investors include Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s investment firm and Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten Inc. Players like German automobile maker Daimler and China’s Didi Chuxing are also investors. Reports states that the shareholders have been asked to agree to the terms of the transaction by Monday evening and a deal could be announced as soon as Tuesday, sources have told Bloomberg.
The acquisition has a lot of business-critical value attached to it for Uber. First, the company is planning an IPO on NYSE this year itself. The IPO, which is slated to one of the biggest the New York Stock Exchange has ever seen, will see a much aggressive response post this acquisition. Secondly, this marks a major departure from Uber’s general global strategy. While the company has generally let go of its regional units by selling them for stake in local competitors, this is one of the rare occasions where it is paying a massive price to acquire the entire business.
For the Middle-east, this acquisition will be a big push to its largely oil-centered business community. Careem is a shinig example of possible tech businesses that the Middle East can build. It was valued at about $1 billion in a late 2016 funding round. The acquisition will further help entrepreneurs go ahead with more technology-centric businesses, as compared with the traditional oil businesses that they are currently pursuing in the Middle East. With this, investor community too will be looking towards the Middle East for potential big-ticket investments.
The deal is expected to be announced tomorrow, i.e. Tuesday March 26th. We’ll keep you posted once its out, along with all the specifics.