US-based Uber and Dubai-based Careem are in prelimary merger talks, according to a report by US newswire Bloomberg.

The report says the two ride-hailing companies are considering merging their operations in the Middle East, adding that the companies have discussed a number of deal structures but have not agreed on the details.

Careem had earlier said it was in nascent talks with banks about a possible initial public offering (IPO) in 2019.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) invested $3.5bn in Uber in 2016. Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding and Saudi Telecom Company’s venture capital arm STV are also investors in Careem.

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