Uber Adds Saudi Investors as Pharo, Branson Shun Kingdom's Cash

(Bloomberg) -- As global investors reevaluate their relationships with Saudi Arabia after the killing of columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Uber Technologies Inc. just ended up with more shareholders from the kingdom.

The U.S. ride-hailing company will add Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud’s Kingdom Holding Co., Al Tayyar Travel Group Holding Co. and Saudi Telecom Co. to its shareholder base once it completes the acquisition of Dubai-based rival Careem Networks FZ.

Uber Adds Saudi Investors as Pharo, Branson Shun Kingdom's Cash

As part of the $3.1 billion deal, existing Careem shareholders will receive notes that can be converted into Uber stock once the company completes its initial public offering expected in April. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is already one of Uber’s biggest backers after pumping in $3.5 billion in 2016.

Overseas investments by Saudi Arabia are coming under increased scrutiny following the writer’s brutal killing in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in October. Pharo Management (UK) LLP is said to have returned $300 million to the Saudi central bank in December.

British billionaire Richard Branson suspended talks with the PIF shortly after reports about the columnist’s disappearance. The kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund had committed to investing $1 billion in Branson’s Virgin Group-controlled space companies. Talent agency Endeavor also sought to terminate a deal to sell a $400 million stake to PIF and Milan’s La Scala opera house rejected a 15 million-euro donation ($17 million).

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