Uber Turns to Saudi Arabia for $3.5-Billion Cash Infusion
In its quest to build a global empire, Uber has turned to the Middle East for its biggest infusion of cash from a single investor.
Uber said Wednesday that it had raised $3.5-billion from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the kingdom’s main investment fund. The money was part of the ride-hailing giant’s most recent financing round and continued to value the company at $62.5-billion. The investment does not cash out any of Uber’s existing investors.
As part of the investment, a managing director at the Public Investment Fund, Yasir Al Rumayyan, will take a seat on Uber’s board, joining Uber’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick, and other directors, including Arianna Huffington.
“We appreciate the vote of confidence in our business as we continue to expand our global presence,” Kalanick said in a statement. “Our experience in Saudi Arabia is a great example of how Uber can benefit riders, drivers and cities and we look forward to partnering to support their economic and social reforms.”
Uber, which has viewed the Middle East as an important area in its expansion, said the investment further aligned the company with Saudi Arabia as the kingdom planned to transform its economy, reducing its dependence on oil and improving employment.
The investment from Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest single investments collected by the technology world’s top privately held companies. Uber, whose valuation makes it Silicon Valley’s most valuable private business, has collected billions at a rapid clip over the last three years.
Though Uber dominates the U.S. market for ride-hailing, it has increasingly seen overseas markets as crucial to its growth.
Among Uber’s increasingly important overseas markets is the Middle East, where the company has already said it plans to invest $250-million. The service operates in 15 cities and nine countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia.