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Exclusive: Uber in talks with Mideast unit over outside investment – sources

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DUBAI, DECEMBER 6 (Reuters) – Uber Technologies (UBER.N) is in talks with the management of its Middle East unit Careem to bring in external investors to the business, four sources familiar with the matter said.

Careem’s ownership structure following the planned investment was not immediately clear, although sources said Uber would remain a shareholder while giving Careem management greater decision-making power over its strategy.

The investment will help fund the continued launch of the so-called Careem Super App, said two sources, which offers services outside of its core business, such as food deliveries, digital payments and courier services.

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One source said Careem management wanted to build on its super app – which co-founder and CEO Mudassir Sheikha had long supported – while Uber focused on transportation.

Uber and Careem both declined to comment.

The planned move comes just over two years after Uber acquired its Dubai-based rival, which operates mainly in the Middle East, for $ 3.1 billion, while maintaining brand and app integrity.

Former McKinsey CEO Sheikh co-founded Careem in 2012 and continued to serve as CEO following Uber’s takeover in 2019.

It was not immediately clear how much investment would be required, although one source said Careem would focus on increasing its payments and shipping business with the new funds.

Eventually it will be possible to register Careem’s new business, said one source.

Uber’s acquisition of Careem in 2019 gave the American company market dominance across the Middle East and Pakistan ahead of its initial public offering that year, which raised $ 8.1 billion from investors and valued the company at $ 82.4 billion.

The largest transportation and shipping company in Southeast Asia, Grab, which also describes itself as a super-app, went public last week following a record $ 40 billion merger with Check Rick. read more

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Another report by Said Azhar; Edited by Jan Harvey

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