Noble Corp. to Acquire Diamond Offshore for $1.6 Billion to Bolster Fleet

(Reuters) — Offshore rig contractor Noble said on Monday it would buy smaller rival Diamond Offshore Drilling in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $1.59 billion, the latest in a series of buyouts in a sector undergoing massive consolidation.

Diamond Offshore's shares rose 9.3% in morning trade, while Noble gained 4%.

Major oil and gas firms, which rely on service providers for drilling and formation evaluation, well construction and completion services, are investing record profits to acquire international and offshore drilling inventories amid strong oil prices, boosting prospects for companies like Noble.

Industry insiders have also said improving balance sheets and margins could help kick-start dealmaking in the oilfield services sector.

Top oilfield services firm SLB made a nearly $8 billion bid for ChampionX earlier this year to add new technology offerings.

Noble said it would pay $15.52 per Diamond Offshore share, representing a premium of 11.4% to Diamond's closing share price on Friday.

Based on 102.48 million of Diamond's outstanding shares, a Reuters calculation puts the deal value at $1.59 billion.

The deal will lead to a combined backlog of $6.5 billion, with Noble owning and operating a fleet of 41 rigs including 28 floaters and 13 jackups.

"We believe Noble's acquisition is highly strategic, and the addition of 12 offshore floaters is expected to strengthen the company's revenue and cash flow visibility through the long-duration offshore upcycle," said Evercore ISI analyst James West.

Noble said it would fund the cash part of the deal - expected to add to its free cash flow per share immediately -through a new secured financing of $600 million.

The deal is also expected to result in pre-tax cost synergies of $100 million, 75% of which should come within a year of the deal closing in the first quarter of 2025, Noble added.

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