General Electric Co (GE), banking on a recovery in oil prices, said it would merge its oil and gas business with No. 3 oilfield services provider Baker Hughes Inc.
GE will own 62.5% of the new publicly traded company, which will have combined revenue of US$32bil, while Baker Hughes shareholders will own 37.5%.
Shareholders of Baker Hughes, which had a market value of about US$26bil as of Friday, will get a special one-time cash dividend from GE of US$17.50 per share – or a total of US$7.4bil – after the deal closes.
Baker Hughes had planned to combine with bigger rival Halliburton Co, but the transaction fell through in May due to opposition from regulators. That deal was valued at US$34.6bil when it was announced in November 2014.
The combination of GE Oil & Gas and Baker Hughes will create the second-largest player in the oilfield services industry in terms of revenue after Schlumberger.
The GE-Baker Hughes deal comes at a time when North American oil and gas producers are putting rigs back to work after a near freeze in activity caused by a slump in oil prices that began mid-2014. Global oil prices have risen by a third this year to trade near US$50 a barrel.
GE said last week it believed the oil market had bottomed, but that demand for the gear the company makes would take longer to recover, probably until after the first half of next year.
GE’s oil and gas business, which makes blowout preventers, pumps and compressors used in exploration and production, accounted for 14% of the company’s total revenue in 2015.
Baker Hughes supplies a variety of oilfield services, products, technology and systems.
“This transaction creates an industry leader, one that is ideally positioned to grow in any market,” GE chief executive Jeff Immelt said in a statement.
“Oil and gas customers demand more productive solutions. This can only be achieved through technical innovation and service execution, the hallmarks of GE and Baker Hughes.”
Lorenzo Simonelli, chief executive and president of GE Oil & Gas, will be CEO of the new company. Immelt will be chairman and Baker Hughes CEO Martin Craighead will be vice-chairman.
The companies said yesterday the deal was expected to add 4 cents to GE’s earnings per share by 2018 and 8 cents by 2020.
GE and Baker Hughes had said on Thursday they were in talks over potential partnerships. The Wall Street Journal first reported that the companies were in discussions.
Baker Hughes shares were up 12% at US$66.20 in pre-market trading yesterday. The stock had closed at US$54.55 on Thursday ahead of the Journal report.
GE shares were up 0.3% at US$29.32 in light trading.