Diamond Offshore will remain independent after failing to attract any satisfactory takeover offers. The company had put itself up-for-sale back in August and hired Goldman Sachs as its financial advisor.
The offshore driller owns four drillships and nine semisubmersibles. It exited bankruptcy in April 2021, having converted $2 billion of debt into equity. Its stock is not currently publicly-traded.
As part of the sale process, the company approached four offshore drilling companies that had sufficient scale to acquire Diamond and were not in bankruptcy (isn’t that all of them?).
- Company A submitted an indicative offer that was deemed inadequate. When asked to raise their bid, they walked away.
- Companies B, C and D submitted indicative bids that were deemed worthy of further engagement. After commencing limited due diligence, companies B and C backed out.
- In November, in light of various communications from Company D, the independent committee appointed by Diamond decided it would cease discussions with Company D.
Litigation with largest shareholder
Interestingly, back in July, Avenue Capital Management, a hedge fund that is the largest shareholder of Diamond with a 17% shareholding, sued the company. It was trying to force the company to hold an annual meeting, at which Avenue would put forward its own nominees for directors. The company and Avenue settled the lawsuit in August. As part of the settlement, the company disclosed details of the proposed takeover offers to Avenue.
In November 2021, Avenue delivered to the company a purported list of nominees for the next annual meeting. The company notified Avenue that the nominations were invalid because they were not in accordance with the bylaws. After a second settlement agreement with Avenue in December, the litigation and the nominees proposed by Avenue were withdrawn.
AGM in January
An annual meeting of stockholders will now take place on January 21,2022. There are three directors up for re-election, namely;
- Adam Peakes – former CFO at Noble
- Patrick Lowe – former COO at Ensco (now part of Valaris)
- John Hollowell – former CEO of Shell Midstream.
All three were part of the four-person independent committee that was set up to explore strategic alternatives.