BY Richard Summerfield
Given the current volatility in commodities, it is little surprise that we are beginning to see more M&A activity in the oil and gas space. To that end, Schlumberger Ltd announced this week its agreement to acquire Cameron International Corp in a deal worth around $14.8bn, including the assumption of debt.
Under the terms of the deal, Cameron shareholders will receive 0.716 Schlumberger shares and a cash payment of $14.44. According to a statement released by the two firms, the agreement places a value of $66.36 per Cameron share, a premium of 37 percent to Cameron’s 20 day volume weighted average price of $48.45 per share. The deal has been approved by the board of directors at both firms. Pending shareholder, regulatory and other closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.
Regulatory approval could pose an issue for the two companies. In November, Schlumberger's two closest rivals - Halliburton Co and Baker Hughes Inc - agreed to merge in an effort to lower costs in a pressurised market, but the deal was blocked by antitrust authorities in the US. However, the fact that there is little crossover between the services offered by Schlumberger and Cameron may allay any regulatory concerns.
The acquisition of Cameron is an important one for Schlumberger, given the company’s standing as one of the world’s largest producers of energy equipment. In the statement, Paal Kibsgaard, chairman and chief executive of Schlumberger, noted, “This agreement with Cameron opens new and broader opportunities for Schlumberger. At our investor conference in June 2014, we highlighted how the E&P industry must transform to deliver increased performance at a time of range-bound commodity prices. With oil prices now at lower levels, oilfield services companies that deliver innovative technology and greater integration while improving efficiency, which our customers increasingly demand, will outperform the market.”
The proposed merger of the two companies is not the first time they have been associated. In 2012 the firms established a joint venture – OneSubsea - to target the deepwater industry. OneSubsea is a supplier of heavy duty machinery which allows Big Oil firms to control the flows of oil and gas they find and bring it to the surface.
The acquisition of Cameron is expected to help Schlumberger achieve significant synergies, by lowering operating costs, streamlining supply chains and improving manufacturing processes.
Jack Moore, chairman and chief executive of Cameron, said, “This exciting transaction builds on our successful partnership with Schlumberger on OneSubsea and will position Cameron for its next phase of growth. For our shareholders, this combination provides significant value, while also enabling them to own a meaningful share of Schlumberger. Together, we will create a premier oilfield equipment and service company with an integrated and expanded platform to drive accelerated growth. By bringing together Cameron and Schlumberger, we will be uniting two great companies with successful track records, performance and value creation. We look forward to working closely with Schlumberger to achieve a seamless post-closing integration and long term value for all of our stakeholders.”