US conglomerate GE said it agreed to buy Britain's oilfield-services company Wellstream Holdings Plc for 800 million pounds ($1.3 billion) to broaden its base in fast-growing emerging markets.
GE said the acquisition of the Brazil focused company, its second in the energy sector this year, will expand its high-technology subsea equipment and services portfolio as well as substantially expand its presence in Brazil, which represents a high priority growth region for GE.
In Brazil, extensive pre-salt oil field discoveries have opened up further opportunities for subsea exploration and production.
Wellstream’s shareholders will receive 786 pence a share, including a 6 pence special cash dividend, GE said on Monday. The offer price represents a 5.2 percent premium to Wellstream’s closing price of 747 pence on Friday.
The British company had rejected an 750 pence per share approach from GE in September, when it confirmed of receiving a number of preliminary approaches. According to media reports, U.S. oilfield equipment supplier National Oilwell Varco had also been given access to Wellstream's confidential financial information.
Following our recent $3 billion deal to acquire Dresser, Inc., a global energy infrastructure technology and service provider, the proposed acquisition of Wellstream continues the strategic expansion of GE’s $40 billion energy portfolio and reflects GE’s commitment to Brazil and Latin America, said GE Energy Latin American chief executive Rafael Santana.
Founded in 1983, Wellstream, which has about 850 staff, reported revenues from continuing operations of 386 million pounds ($602 million) for the year ended December 2009, with a substantial portion of sales generated from Brazil. As of November 16, Wellstream reported a sales backlog of 250 million pounds.
Wellstream, which makes pipeline products and systems, has two manufacturing facilities at Newcastle and in Brazil. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange in April 2007. In 1995, Wellstream was acquired by Dresser Industries Inc. but following the merger of Dresser with Halliburton Co, Wellstream was subsequently sold to a consortium comprising funds managed by Candover Partners Limited and Wellstream’s management team at the time.
Shares of Wellstream are trading 5.15 percent higher at 785.50 pence at 08:26 am GMT Monday on the London Stock Exchange. GE stock ended Friday's trading at $17.72 on the NYSE.