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Uber Gains First Official Approval for Acquisition of Careem from UAE

Will Egypt be next to give the green light?

Uber has received its first official approval of its $3.1-billion acquisition of ride-hailing rival, Careem, from the UAE.

Uber announced the purchase of Careem’s mobility, delivery and payment business across all of its markets in March and continues to work with relevant authorities across MENA and Pakistan for remaining approvals.

One potential hurdle, however, has come in the form of the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA), which has expressed concerns over the acquisition, suggesting that the purchase “may lead to a significant impediment on effective competition in the markets on which the entities are active, especially ride-hailing services using passenger vehicles,” despite Uber’s intention of running Careem as a separate service.

At the end of 2018, when unconfirmed rumours of the merger first emerged, the ECA released a public warning to the two companies, going as far as to state that they could face a fine of up to EGP 500 million for what it considered as a violation of the law.

The concerns are particularly heightened after the ECA accused Spanish home delivery startup, Glovo, and German online food delivery service, Delivery Hero, of restricting competition in Egypt’s on-demand delivery market after the two companies initially agreed to a merger.

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