Uber is expected to buy its Middle Eastern rival Careem

It may become a ridesharing powerhouse in the region.

After years of backing out of major international markets, Uber appears ready to go on the offensive. Sources talking to Bloomberg claim the ridesharing firm is poised to buy Careem, its chief competitor in the Middle East, for the equivalent of $3.1 billion in cash and shares. It's not certain just what Uber would do with its acquisition. However, you might hear about it very shortly -- stakeholders have been asked to rubber stamp the deal by the evening of March 25th, and a deal could be made public as soon as March 26th.

We've asked Uber for comment.

The move might be a shrewd one. Uber is believed to be publicly filing for its IPO in April, and snapping up Careem would give investors an extra reason to back the company. On top of that, one of the company's largest backers is a Saudi Arabian wealth fund -- Uber could increase its chances of receiving more funding if it's instrumental to ride hailing in the region. You might not see Uber make similar acquisitions unless it stands to gain more from the deal than some additional passengers.