Careem, the leading ride-sharing rival to Uber in the Middle East, is aiming to raise between $100 million and $200 million.
According to a report in Reuters, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter, Careem is aiming to raise the funding via Chinese investors, with investment bank China International Capital Corp. advising the ride-hailing startup on its capital raise. Reuters noted it’s not clear if or when a deal will be inked. The source noted that Chinese investors didn’t have much familiarity or interest in startups in the Middle East.
Earlier this week, it was reported that CICC and Jefferies, the New York investment bank, were acting as advisors to Careem on its potential capital-raising strategies. There was talk of a potential deal with Uber in the Middle East. Careem already has Daimler and Didi Chuxing as backers of the startup, which compete against Uber in the Middle East. It said in October it had raised $200 million in funding from investors that had already backed the company. Reuters noted Careem has a valuation of higher than $2 billion.
Back in July, Bloomberg reported Uber was in early-stage talks with Careem Networks to combine operations or for Uber to buy the company outright. Citing three people familiar with the matter, the report said the aim was to put an end to a rivalry in the Middle East that has been costly to both companies. The two sides have held talks about several different deal structures, but haven’t reached an agreement. People familiar with the talks told Bloomberg that in any deal with Careem, Uber would have to own more than half of the company if not acquire Careem outright. A spokeswoman at Careem declined to comment on the report, but told Bloomberg that its expansion plans are “only getting started.”