GE To Combine Oil And Gas Unit With Baker Hughes: New Company To Have $32 Billion In Revenue

GE To Combine Oil And Gas Unit With Baker Hughes: New Company To Have $32 Billion In Revenue

by Tyler Durden
Oct 31, 2016 6:49 AM

General Electric agreed to merge its oil and gas business with Baker Hughes, Inc., creating a publicly traded energy powerhouse that will have over $32 billion in revenue and would give GE a cost-effective way to play an energy industry rebound as the companies seek to bolster their operations amid a global slump in crude prices.

As the WSJ, which first broke the story last week, reports GE will contribute its oil-and-gas business and $7.4 billion through a special one-time cash dividend of $17.50 for each Baker Hughes share.

The new company will be publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and will be 62.5% owned by GE and 37.5% owned by Baker Hughes.

Tbe merger creates a company with more than $32 billion in revenue that could cut costs to better compete with rivals such as Schlumberger to provide equipment and services to oil rigs and wells; it will likely result in even more competition in the sector and lower prices. The deal would enable GE to benefit from a recovery in the industry – assuming the recent OPEC-driven bounce in energy prices persists – without having to pay for a full acquisition of Baker Hughes. It would also enable the companies and their shareholders to benefit from savings and other synergies from putting the two businesses together.

The deal takes place after GE held talks earlier this year about buying pieces of Baker Hughes set to be divested under a sale of the Houston-based company to Halliburton Co., a transaction that collapsed.

GE expects the deal to add about 4 cents to its earnings per share in 2018 and 8 cents by 2020. Lorenzo Simonelli, chief executive of GE Oil & Gas, will be chief executive of the new company and GE Chief Executive and Chairman Jeff Immelt will be its chairman. Baker Hughes Chairman and Chief Executive Martin Craighead will serve as vice chairman. The board of the new company will consist of five directors appointed by GE and four appointed by Baker Hughes.

Following the news, GE shares rose 0.9% to $29.48 in premarket trading as Baker Hughes shares rose 5.7% to $62.50.

In recent public comments, GE has said it is still committed to the oil and gas unit for the long term, but GE said operating profit in the unit will be down by 30% for the year. GE is cutting more than $1 billion in costs out of the company over two years. The conglomerate provided glimmers of improvement from the third quarter, noting that U.S. rig and well counts remained down 50% from the previous year but had ticked upward in the previous three months. Still, orders for services were down across all of GE’s oil business, the company said.

As Bloomberg notes, Oilfield contractors are increasingly forming partnerships to help cut costs and broaden their service offerings and distribution channels amid the downturn. The moves have come into favor as customers seek ways to improve efficiency and get greater value out of the services and gear needed to suck crude out of the ground.

The recent speedup in what has already been a strong year for mergers and acquisitions defies conventional wisdom, coming less than two weeks before the presidential election. The fact that companies are inking mergers at a breakneck pace without knowing who the next president will be shows how strong the imperative to consolidate across industries is, bankers say.

In light of recent government intervention in M&A, there is no guarantee a GE-Baker Hughes deal will be completed. The last merger agreement Baker Hughes entered into—a $35 billion proposed union with Halliburton Co.—was rejected by antitrust regulators this year amid a tough environment for deals in Washington.

More deal-related information will be shared during an investor conference call at 8:30 a.m. New York time.

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