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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Ride-hailing firm Careem holds talks on potential IPO

The firm could be valued at $1.6bn with a share sale likely in 2019

Careem said to mull 14-country roll-out of new bus service. Victor Besa / The National
Careem said to mull 14-country roll-out of new bus service. Victor Besa / The National

Careem Networks, which competes with Uber Technologies in the Middle East, is in early talks with banks about a potential initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Dubai-based ride-hailing company started preliminary discussions as it prepares to hire financial advisers, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The firm could be valued at about US$1.5 billion, with a share sale likely by early 2019, one of the people said. Banks haven’t been appointed and the company may decide not to pursue the listing, the people said.

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While an IPO is a“natural milestone” for a fast-growing business like Careem, the company is currently focused on expanding its operations to more markets, chief executive Mudassir Sheikha said in an emailed response to questions.

Careem was valued at more than $1bn in 2016 when it raised $350 million from investors including Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten and Germany’s Daimler. Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was detained in November as part of a government investigation into allegations of corruption, is also an investor in the company.

The ride-hailing company, founded in 2012, may sell shares to the public by 2019, Sheikha said in a Bloomberg Television interview in December 2016.

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