Noble Corporation acquires Pacific Drilling

Texas-headquartered offshore driller Noble Corporation has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Pacific Drilling Company which will see Noble acquire Pacific Drilling in an all-stock transaction.

The agreement has been approved by a majority of Pacific Drilling’s equity holders, and no shareholder vote is required to close the transaction. Pacific Drilling’s equity holders will receive 16.6m shares of Noble, which is around 24.9% of the outstanding shares of Noble.

Noble says the deal will realise annual pre-tax cost synergies of at least $30m, and additionally it will move to sell two of Pacific Drilling’s seven drillships, Pacific Bora and Pacific Mistral. The pair have a combined value of $69.15m according to VesselsValue.

Robert Eifler, president and CEO of Noble, commented: “The acquisition of Pacific Drilling will enhance our position in the ultra-deepwater market through the addition of its technologically-advanced ultra-deepwater drillships, which are highly complementary to Noble’s existing fleet. By bringing these modern drillships into the Noble fleet, we will be able to better serve the needs of our customers globally and to participate in a wider range of drillship tender activity. The combination brings together two companies who share a common culture prioritizing safety and operational excellence. Additionally, the acquisition expands and further solidifies our relationship with certain key customers, facilitates re-entry into both the West African and Mexican regions, and strengthens our presence in the US Gulf of Mexico.”

Bernie Wolford, CEO of Pacific Drilling, said: “Bringing together the Pacific Drilling and Noble fleets creates a stronger and more stable combined company with the scale to provide solutions for our clients on a global basis. This combination will advance the ongoing recovery in the industry and will allow Pacific Drilling equity holders to fully participate in that recovery. I would like to personally thank the entire Pacific Drilling team for their unwavering commitment to delivering safe, efficient and reliable services to our customers, and we look forward to working with Noble to successfully integrate the two companies.”

The transaction is expected to be completed next month, and no changes to the Noble board or executive management team are planned.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.
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