Uber is in the process of making a bid worth more than $3 billion to buy rival Dubai-based Careem in a deal that will boost its operations in the Middle East, two sources told Reuters.
The deal, which a third source said may be announced in the first half of this week, is ahead of the initial public offering planned for UPR, which could be valued at $120 billion.
Careem, founded in 2012, has a large presence in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, operating in 98 cities.
"A merger between Uber and Careem highlights the tremendous opportunities for taxi booking applications in the Middle East," said Sam Platis, chief executive officer of MENA Catalysts.
Careem declined to comment, while Uber has yet to respond to a Reuters request for comment. Careem was estimated to be worth about $2 billion in October.
In a global competition, Uber is expanding its main business in taxi booking applications, which operates in 70 countries. Among its competitors is Lyft.
Careem, which says it has 33 million registered users, was founded by Madthar Sheikha and Magnus Olson before they were joined by Abdullah Elias.
Sheikha and Olson worked together in McKinsey. In 2014, Careem acquired Anwani for delivery services, which Elias co-founded.
Among the investors are German car manufacturer Daimler and Diddy, the largest provider of taxi booking applications in China.
It will be the second big acquisition of a technology company in the Middle East after Amazon bought the company in 2017.
Like Uber, Careem expanded out of the main taxi booking activity and launched a delivery service last year. The company also offers digital payment services.
Uber's business includes renting bicycles, scooters, transporting goods and delivering food.
Uber's revenues last year were $11.3 billion and total bookings reached $50 billion. But the company lost $3.3 billion.