Uber’s Mideast rival valued at AED3.67billion on Saudi STC deal

Government controlled Saudi Telecom Co. will invest $100 million in Middle East-based ride-hailing app Careem Networks FZ, giving the four-year-old company a valuation of about $1 billion (around AED3.67billion). The board of STC, as the Saudi company is known, approved the purchase of a 10 per cent stake in Dubai-based Careem on December 15, according to a statement on the Saudi Stock Exchange Sunday. STC will fund the deal from internal resources. The company is already an investor in Careem through its venture capital arm, STC Ventures, according to Careem’s website. Careem has been working with Credit Suisse Group AG to raise as much as $500 million, people familiar with the matter said in September, adding that the company could be valued at more than $1 billion after the funding. Careem raised $60 million last year from investors including buyout firm Abraaj Group to expand in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The investment is “in line with the company strategy to invest in the innovative digital world,” STC said in the statement. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which also holds a 70 per cent stake in STC, invested $3.5 billion in San Francisco-based Uber in June. Investors in Careem’s earlier funding rounds include Dubai-based Wamda Capital and Saudi Arabia’s Al Tayyar Travel Group. (Matthew Martin/Bloomberg)

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