General Electric (GE), the $157 billion US-based multinational conglomerate, is close to buying UK's Wellstream Holdings, a manufacturer and supplier of flexible pipe systems and solutions to the offshore oil and gas industry, for little over £755 million (($1.2 billion plus).
Without revealing the source of its information, the Financial Times yesterday said that after having rejected GE's two earlier offers, "the two sides are understood to have come to an agreement on price in recent days," and the deal is expected to be announced today.
New York-based GE had said in October 2010 that Newcastle-based Wellstream had rejected its offer of 750 pence a share, which valued it at £755 million. (See: Wellstream rejects GE's £755 million bid)
But Wellstream shareholders have been urging chairman John Kennedy and the board not to be rigid in their demand for 800 pence a share or £805 million and be more flexible at an in-between price range.
The company has been at the centre of widespread takeover rumours for some months and in mid-September Wellstream's management confirmed having received a number of preliminary approaches.
Though the company declined to reveal names, among companies said to be interested are Houston-based manufacturer of land-based and offshore rigs National Oilwell Varco and Italy's oil and gas industry contractor Saipem.