Saudi Arabia invests $3.5bn in Uber

Added 2nd June 2016

The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), the kingdom’s long-term sovereign investment arm has invested $3.5bn (£2.4bn, €3.1bn) in the US-based online taxi service Uber, the Saudi press agency announced.

Saudi Arabia invests $3.5bn in Uber

The investment is one of PIF’s single largest international transactions to date and the first since Saudi Arabia announced a new economic plan to reduce it dependency on oil revenues, known as Vision 2030.

After its investment, the PIF will own around 5% of Uber, and its managing director, Yasir Al Rumayyan, will join Uber’s board.

Uber currently serves nine countries and 15 cities across the Middle East and North Africa. In Saudi Arabia, Uber serves Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca, Medina and the Eastern Province. The company said that it has over 395,000 active riders in the Middle East, up fivefold from a year ago, and 19,000 drivers.

Uber’s service is said to have proved particularly popular among women in Saudi Arabia as they are not allowed to drive because of fatwas, or religious edicts, although there is no formal law prohibiting women from driving in the region.

“Our experience in Saudi Arabia is a great example of how Uber can benefit riders, drivers and cities. We appreciate the vote of confidence in our business and look forward to partnering with the Kingdom to support their economic and social reforms,” said Travis Kalanick, chief executive and the co-founder of Uber.

 

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Richard Hubbard

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Richard Hubbard is the group editor at Last Word. He is responsible for the editorial content of International Adviser, Portfolio Adviser, Expert Investor and Fund Selector Asia. Richard previously worked for Thomson Reuters and has covered the financial services industry and investment themes from its offices in London, Singapore, Hong Kong and New York. Richard started his career at the Australian Financial Review in Sydney.

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