Saudi wealth fund invests $3.5bn in Uber

Josh Martin
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Toyota recently announced it's investing in Uber to launch a ride-sharing venture (Source: Getty)

Controversial taxi app Uber has raised $3.5bn (£2.43bn) from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund valuing the company at $62.5bn.

The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund will now own approximately 5 per cent of Uber and the fund's managing director Yasir al-Rumayyan will join the company's board. Other board members include Benchmark Capital general partner Bill Gurley and Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington.

Uber co-founder and chief executive officer Travis Kalanick called the investment a "vote of confidence in our business" and is set to invest $250m in the Middle East to expand its operations.

The deal put the company's total balance sheet, including cash and debt, at more than $11bn.

Read more: Will driverless cars be the end of public transport?

In the first quarter of the year, Uber boasted 395,000 active riders across the region, a five-fold jump from the first quarter of 2015, and 19,000 active drivers, representing a four-fold increase over the same period.

In May, Volkswagen invested $300m (£205m) in taxi on-demand service Gett. The same day, Toyota announced it's investing in Uber to launch a ride-sharing venture.

Last month also saw Apple investing $1bn in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing while General Motors invested $500m in Uber rival Lyft in March.

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