Halliburton buys rival in mega deal

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As recently as Friday, merger talks between Halliburton and Baker Hughes weren’t going well.

But now, we have a deal.

Halliburton (HAL) said Monday it will spend $34.6 billion to acquire Baker Hughes (BHI).

The deal between the second- and third-largest companies in the industry would form an energy giant with more than 136,000 employees.

The merger comes as the price of crude oil plummets, pressuring profits at oil exploration companies.

Combining will allow the new company to cut costs — or, as they said, “yield annual cost synergies of nearly $2 billion.”

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Halliburton said it is “confident” the deal will past muster with government regulators in the U.S. and other countries, who are expected to scrutinize it for antitrust issues.

From foes to friends: Just days ago, the companies appeared to be at loggerheads.

Baker Hughes announced the talks Thursday, and on Friday it said Halliburton was attempting to “pressure” it into a deal “on Halliburton’s terms” and take over its board of directors. It also released letters from its CEO, Martin Craighead, to Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar.

“Your intransigence is not a reasonable response,” he wrote in one, “and your demand that we accept your offer in the next four hours … (is) entirely inappropriate.”

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