Saudi Arabia Just Invested $3.5 Billion in Uber
Deal marks the largest single investment in the ride-sharing company yet.
Uber has collected a $3.5 billion investment from Saudi Arabia as part of the company's mot recent round of fundraising, the ride-sharing titan announced on June 1. The deal is the largest single investment in Uber's history, as well as the biggest chunk of the $5 billion pot of various contributions the company has recently received.
The massive investment comes from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which serves as the primary cache of cash for the kingdom. The Saudi move will not force out any of Uber's current investors, according to The New York Times. As of now, Uber's valuation remains at $62.5 billion, but the company now has approximately $11 billion in cash and convertible debt on hand.
Uber considers the Middle East an important area to stay on top of. The company said in a statement that Saudi Arabia's investment will help push the country further toward an economic transformation, will help it improve overall employment, and over time, will allow the country to become less reliant on oil.
“We appreciate the vote of confidence in our business as we continue to expand our global presence,” Travis Kalanick, Uber's CEO, 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.”
Following news of the investment, Uber has come under fire from some news organizations for accepting money from a government that doesn't allow women to drive. That fact has proven a boon to Uber in the region, however; in January, it was reported that 70 percent of Uber's customer base in Saudi Arabia consists of women.
This investment comes just a week after Toyota and Uber announced their plans for a partnership. Toyota said this collaboration, which it described as a "strategic investment," would give Uber drivers better lease deals for the company's ride-hailing services as well as provide additional funding for the company. The details of that investment, including the exact amount of money involved, have not been disclosed.