UAE: e& to take $400 million majority stake in ride-hailer Careem's Super App

The app offers over dozen services, including food and grocery delivery, a digital wallet and additional 3rd-party services such as home cleaning, car rental and laundry

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Waheed Abbas

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Published: Mon 10 Apr 2023, 9:55 AM

Last updated: Tue 11 Apr 2023, 10:25 AM

Emirates Telecommunications Group Company has agreed to take a 50.03% stake in a super app managed by Careem, Uber Technologies' Middle East subsidiary, at a transaction cost of $400 million (Dh1.46 billion), e& said in a filing on Monday.

Careem’s ride hailing business will remain fully owned by Uber and continue to be available with all other Careem services on the existing app for customers.

The Careem Super App offers over a dozen services including food and grocery delivery, micro-mobility, a digital wallet and suite of fintech services, and additional third-party services such as home cleaning, car rental and laundry. Careem serves customers in 10 countries across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.

With this new investment, Careem plans to accelerate the realisation of its ambitious vision to create the first “everything app” serving customers across the Middle East.

This will include expanding its core food, grocery, and fintech services and the Careem Plus subscription programme across the region while adding even more partner services to the app. Careem expects significant synergies with e& and anticipates benefiting from e&’s large customer base and extensive experience scaling complex tech enabled businesses across a largely shared geographic footprint.

This investment is in line with e&’s strategic ambition of scaling up consumer digital offerings and accelerating its transformation to a global technology and investments group. It provides e& with access to multiple digital verticals, new innovative digital services, strong talent, and new geographies. e& will leverage the Careem Super App to boost the growth of its consumer digital services, including the expansion of e& life’s fintech vertical, e& money, which will play an important role in the super app vision by providing e& money’s powerful financial service offerings.

In recent years e& has transformed into a global technology and investment group. The company is integrating emerging technologies into its expanding business verticals. e& has 163 million subscribers across 16 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Hatem Dowidar, Group CEO, e& commented, “Super Apps have catalysed the economic, social and cultural growth of emerging markets today. The popularity of super apps has come from the need to provide a unique and seamless customer experience. The mobile first population have given rise to an ecosystem that has encouraged the use and also expanded the scope for super apps with user expectations turned towards performing their daily activities on digital platforms."

Khalifa Al Shamsi CEO, e& life said: “We are thrilled to welcome Careem into the e& family with this exciting and ground-breaking deal. There are several growth opportunities between Careem and e& life as the “consumer digital” arm of e&. Our current strengths, primarily in fintech and multimedia, coupled with Careem’s services and regional footprint, will accelerate our joint vision towards a regional super app. With this partnership between e&, Careem and Uber we will set new standards of product innovation and customer experience throughout the region.”

Since Uber’s acquisition in 2020, Careem has evolved to become a multiservice app offering users over a dozen services. In 2022 in the UAE, Quik, the grocery delivery service, grew 46X, and food orders grew by 86 percent. Over the course of the year Careem Pay launched as a true fintech in the UAE with a digital wallet and payments products including bill payments, international remittances, domestic peer-to-peer payments, and one-click checkout.

Careem Bike doubled its network of pedal assist bikes and grew by 61%. Careem launched its popular subscription service Careem Plus, saw its first partner service (home cleaning) grow 4.9x while it also onboarded new third-party partners offering rental cars, spa and laundry services.

Completion of the transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals, customary closing conditions, and administrative procedures.

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