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Wall Street Journal / Biz - Money

GE’s Baker Hughes Recently Held Takeover Talks With Subsea 7 SA

General Electric’s Baker Hughes recently held takeover talks with energy-services company Subsea 7, but the negotiations recently broke down over price.
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By

Dana Mattioli and

Thomas Gryta

General Electric Co.’s Baker Hughes recently held takeover talks with energy-services company Subsea 7 SA, according to people familiar with the matter.

The talks recently broke down over price, but it is possible they could be revived, one of the people said.

As of Tuesday, U.K.-based Subsea 7 had a market value of $5.4 billion. The company is a construction-and-services contractor for the offshore energy industry. Year to date, its stock price is up nearly 30%.

American depositary receipts of Subsea 7 closed 4.2% higher on Wednesday after The Wall Street Journal’s report of the talks.

Baker Hughes—officially known as Baker Hughes, a GE Company—was formed in July when GE closed a deal to combine its oil-and-gas business with Baker Hughes Inc. The company, which has a $40 billion market value, is 62.5% owned by GE and 37.5% owned by Baker Hughes shareholders.

Earlier this year, Subsea 7 made a bid for the struggling operations of EMAS Chiyoda Subsea Ltd.—whose fleet of ships puts together offshore-drilling projects—under a proposal filed with a U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The oil-field-services sector has been consolidating as boards of directors have identified greater scale as a way to advance. Baker Hughes, prior to merging with GE’s oil-and-gas business, had agreed to merge with service company Halliburton Co. , but that deal fell apart.

The industry has struggled since 2014 as oil prices fell from over $100 a barrel to less than $30. The price is now hovering around $50.

The industry shed tens of thousands of jobs during the slump and was forced to accept pricing cuts—sometimes more than 50%—from its customers. More than 200 oil-field-service companies went bankrupt.

On Monday, the Journal reported that offshore energy company Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc. is exploring a sale. In August, the Journal reported that Dover Corp. was exploring strategic options for most of its energy business, including a sale, merger or spinoff of the business, which makes industrial energy equipment.

Write to Dana Mattioli at dana.mattioli@wsj.com and Thomas Gryta at thomas.gryta@wsj.com

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