Noble, Maersk Drilling Merger Clears Another Hurdle

Noble, Maersk Drilling Merger Clears Another Hurdle
The Norwegian Competition Authority has not objected to the proposed merger between Maersk Drilling and Noble Corporation.

The Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA) has not objected to the proposed merger between Danish offshore drilling contractor Maersk Drilling and U.S.-based Noble Corp.

Noble Corporation said that the completion of the merger between the two drillers was conditioned on, among other things, clearance by antitrust and foreign direct investment authorities in the United Kingdom, Norway, and Denmark, as well as certain other jurisdictions as agreed between the parties.

According to the company, initial filings have been submitted. The governmental agencies from which the duo seeks approvals and consents generally have broad discretion in administering the governing regulations.

Noble and Maersk were recently advised that the Norwegian Competition Authority has reviewed the merger proposal and that it has no objection to it.

“The process for obtaining the other approvals is ongoing. The parties cannot provide any assurance as to whether all required approvals and consents will be obtained or the timing of, or conditions to, such approvals if they are obtained,” Noble Corporation said.

To put everything more into perspective, Maersk Drilling and Noble Corporation agreed to create a combined company with a fleet of 20 floaters and 19 jack-up rigs via a primarily all-stock transaction in November 2021.

Maersk Drilling and Noble Corp. shareholders will each own approximately 50 percent of the outstanding shares of the combined company.

According to some estimates, the combined market capitalization of the two companies is estimated at approximately $3.4 billion. The combination is expected to generate estimated annual run-rate synergies of $125 million.

The business combination agreement has already been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of Noble and Maersk Drilling. The transaction is targeted to close in mid-2022.

After the merger proposal was announced, Standard Drilling, one of Noble’s shareholders said it would vote against the deal. Standard claimed that it fully supported industry consolidation in the offshore drilling market but that the merger was not one of equals.

If the merger goes through, the combined company will be named Noble Corporation. It will be headquartered in Houston, Texas, but will maintain a significant operating presence in Norway, to retain proximity to customers and support operations in Norway and the broader North Sea.

To contact the author, email bojan.lepic@rigzone.com


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