Noble Corporation, based in Sugar Land, has agreed to merge with Maersk Drilling in an all-stock transaction worth $3.4 billion. Maersk has its head office in Denmark and is listed on the Copenhagen stock exchange.
The combined company will have 20 floater rigs and 19 jackup rigs that can operate in harsh environments such as the North Sea. The fleet will be the second largest behind Valaris, though Transocean is the largest offshore operator by revenue.
Noble is taking an active role in the consolidation of companies in the offshore drilling market. Having exited bankruptcy in February 2021, it acquired Pacific Drilling for $357 million in an all-stock transaction in March 2021.
The shareholders of Noble and Maersk will each own 50% of the combined business. The company will keep the Noble name and will continue to be based in Houston.
Noble Chairman, Chuck Sledge, will become Chair of the combined company, while Noble CEO, Robert Eifler, takes the combined CEO role. Claus Hemmingsen, Chairman of Maersk, will be one of the three directors designated by Maersk. Noble will appoint three directors in addition to Mr. Sledge.
Other positions on the executive leadership team are to determined. Richard Barker is the CFO of Noble. He joined in March 2020 and has an investment banking background. The current CFO of Maersk is Houston-based Christine Morris. She joined in January of this year. Ms. Morris was previously CFO at BJ Services and Head of Financial Planning and Analysis at Halliburton.
The company expects to achieve $125 million in annual cost synergies within two years. The Maersk office in Copenhagen will be scaled down significantly. However, the Maersk Stavanger office in Norway will become the hub for North Sea operations.
The deal is expected to close in mid-2022.