Baker Hughes Refocusing After Merger Deal Dies

The oilfield services giant will use its $3.5 billion breakup fee from Halliburton to fund a $1.5 billion share buyback.
Katie Kuehner-HebertMay 2, 2016

A day after its $34.6 billion merger deal with Halliburton was terminated, oilfield services firm Baker Hughes on Monday outlined a plan to move forward as an independent company that includes a $1.5 billion share buyback.

The Houston-based firm will use the $3.5 billion breakup fee from the failed deal with Halliburton to buy back the stock as well as $1 billion in debt.

Baker Hughes also said it plans to cut $500 million in costs “while capitalizing on our strengths as a product innovator to create new growth opportunities.”

4 Powerful Communication Strategies for Your Next Board Meeting

4 Powerful Communication Strategies for Your Next Board Meeting

This whitepaper outlines four powerful strategies to amplify board meeting conversations during a time of economic volatility. 

“Innovation is what we do best and what our customers need the most,” Baker Hughes CEO Martin Craighead said in a news release. “It is an enviable capability that is part of our culture and continues to differentiate us in the market.”

“We intend to build on our strong foundation and market position by simplifying the structure of our business and evolving our commercial strategy to deliver significant value to shareholders,” he added.

In trading Monday, Baker Hughes stock was down 1.4%, at $47.74, while Halliburton shares rose 3.5% to $42.77.

The merger of the two oilfield services giants was intended to help weather the oil price downturn that has reduced demand for work drilling wells and pumping oil and natural gas. But in April, the U.S. Justice Department sued to block the deal, claiming it had “fundamental antitrust problems.”

In announcing the termination Sunday, Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar cited “challenges in obtaining remaining regulatory approvals and general industry conditions that severely damaged deal economics.”

“Oilfield services firms, which are hired to drill and frack wells, were among the first to feel the pain from lower oil prices, and have been forced to make some of the deepest cuts and to curtail operations,” The Wall Street Journal said.

Bill Herbert, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, said Baker Hughes had struggled in some areas even before oil prices plunged, and is now facing an even more difficult moment, with too many players and not enough work to go around.

“This is a much tougher market,” he told the WSJ. “We’ve got too much of everything.”