– USA, CA – Uber has raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the U.S. ride-hailing service said on Wednesday, gaining a crucial partner in its expansion into the Middle East.
The investment from the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund was part of Uber’s most recent financing round that valued the company at $62.5 billion, Uber said, making it the most highly valued venture capital-backed company in the world.
In a written statement, Uber co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick called the investment a “vote of confidence in our business.”
As part of the investment, a managing director at the Saudi fund, Yasir Al Rumayyan, will take a seat on Uber’s board, the company said. Other board members include Benchmark Capital general partner Bill Gurley and Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington.
Uber said the Saudi’s investment puts the company’s total balance sheet, including cash and debt, at more than $11 billion.
“The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund is excited to have completed this important strategic investment with Uber, an extraordinary company with an inspiring mission,” Yasir Al Rumayyan, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund’s managing director, said in a statement. “We’ve seen first-hand how this company has improved urban mobility around the world and we’re looking forward to being part of that progress.”
“As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment arm, we’re focused on achieving attractive long-term financial returns from our investments, while supporting Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the blueprint for diversifying our economy away from oil. This ambitious and far-reaching plan presents a number of goals, including unlocking strategic sectors such as tourism and entertainment, boosting employment opportunities and women’s participation in the workforce, and encouraging entrepreneurship.”
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