Hundreds of Careem workers to become Emirati millionaires after acquisition by Uber

Hundreds of Careem workers to become Emirati millionaires after acquisition by Uber
Two-hundred and seventy five workers at Careem offices in the UAE, Germany and Pakistan will become millionaires after the company's acquisition by fellow ride-sharing app Uber.
3 min read
27 March, 2019
75 Careem workers will become millionaires in US dollars next year [AFP]

Hundreds of workers at Careem will be made Emirati millionaires following the company sale to Uber this week.

The $3.1 billion deal will make 200 of the workers millionaires in Emirati dirhams, with 1 million dirhams equivalent to $272,000, and 75 workers millionaires in US dollars.

The company's 4,000 employees all have stock options and their shares in the company will be bought as part of the deal announced on Tuesday, The National reported on Wednesday.

However, the lucky overnight millionaires do not include any of Careem's drivers, known as "captains", who are not officially employed by the company.

The UAE-founded ride-sharing app operates in 98 cities across the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey.

Software engineers and developers, executives and other employees in the head office in Dubai, as well as in offices in Berlin and Karachi, will profit from the deal.

Once the transaction is complete next year, Careem will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Uber but will continue operating independently. Careem will retain its branding, services and separate app.

The merger has been controversial elsewhere in the region.

The head of Turkey's United Taxi Drivers Association told Hurriyet on Wednesday that Turkish taxi drivers will cut ties with Careem following the deal.

Yellow taxi drivers in Turkey have been feuding with Uber for more than a year, a conflict which has at times led to violence between metered taxi and Uber drivers.

Almost 18,000 taxis operate in Istanbul, the country's largest city. The arrival of Uber onto the market in 2014 led to high tensions and calls from yellow taxi drivers to ban the app in Turkey.

An effective ban on Uber was eventually realised last year when the government authorised heavy penalties for providing unlicensed taxi services.

Such calls have also been heeded in other countries in the Middle East, such as Jordan, where protests from yellow taxi drivers led to the ban of Careem in 2018.

Egypt banned both Careem and Uber last year for a few months before announcing the companies would become subject to regulations.

Likewise, Careem was banned by the Palestinian Authority in 2017 and was allowed to operate only after agreeing to set its fares the same as metered taxis.

However, metered yellow taxis are often subject to frequent complaints from customers across the region, many of whom say they prefer ride-sharing apps like Uber and Careem for having a better quality of service.

Despite the crackdown, Uber and Careem drivers continue to operate in countries across the region.

The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) announced Tuesday it received formal communication that the Uber had acquired Careem and that the two companies would continue to comply with the law in order to operate in Egypt, Egypt Today reported.

However, the ECA said it was concerned that the acquisition would eradicate competition from the market.

The Saudi Kingdom Holding Co. announced it had completed the sale of its shares in Careem to Uber in a deal worth $333.17 million as part of the acquisition.