Ride-Hailing App Careem Is Said to Weigh $500 Million in Funding

(Bloomberg) -- Careem Networks FZ, which competes with Uber Technologies Inc. in the Middle East, is in talks with investors to raise $500 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Dubai-based ride-hailing company plans to raise the money as a precursor to a possible initial public offering and the fund-raising round could value Careem at as much as $1.5 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. The firm is also talking to potential financial advisers about the deal, they said.

Careem, whose backers include Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. and German automaker Daimler AG, was valued at a little more than $1 billion in a 2016 funding round, making it one of the most valuable technology startups in the Middle East. The company is said to have held early talks with banks about a potential IPO in January.

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s investment vehicle Kingdom Holding Co., and Saudi Telecom Co.’s venture capital arm STV are also investors in the company. A spokesman for Careem declined to comment.

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