DUBAI: Middle East ride-hailing firm Careem has been working with investment bank Jefferies as an adviser on investment options and fundraising, including a potential Middle East M&A deal with Uber Technologies, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The appointment of Jefferies indicates that talks between the two companies over a potential deal have become more serious, two of the sources said.
Careem and Jefferies declined to comment. Uber declined to comment on a potential deal with Careem.
Dubai-based Careem, which counts German car maker Daimler and China’s largest ride-hailing company DiDi Chuxing among its backers, is Uber's main Middle East rival, competing head-to-head in most of the region's major cities.
Careem is also working with China International Capital Corporation (CICC) as an adviser on potential deals, one source said. CICC could not immediately be reached for comment outside of normal working hours.
Careem said in October it had secured US$200 million in a new funding round from existing investors, and that it expected to raise more to finance expansion plans.
That investment, combined with previous fund raising and company growth into new markets and segments, gave Careem an estimated valuation of over US$2 billion, a source told Reuters at the time.
(Editing by Jane Merriman)