Funds managed by private-equity firms Candover Investments, Alpinvest and Goldman Sachs have again raised their offer for oilfield technology specialist Expro International through buyout company Umbrellastream.
The latest and third offer values the UK company at £1.8billion or £16.15 a share, representing a premium of 74.3% to where Expro’s share price stood on February 28, the day before it said it had received a proposal about a possible offer.
Shares in Expro closed yesterday up almost 3% at £16.63, suggesting the market expects a still higher bid remains likely.
Expro said earlier this month it was continuing talks with US oilfield service giant Halliburton which may or may not lead to a takeover offer. The company confirmed yesterday it was still in discussions with Halliburton, although there was no certainty an offer would be forthcoming.
It said it would not postpone two court hearings scheduled for June 23 and June 25 to approve a scheme of arrangement through which the Umbrellastream takeover would be carried out unless another bidder made a higher cash offer before a deadline of June 20.
Umbrellastream had its original offer of £1.61billion or £14.35 a share agreed by Reading-based Expro’s independent directors on April 17.
That was later raised to £15.50 a share by Umbrellastream after Halliburton made an indicative approach at £15.25 without making a formal offer.
The improved offer was also agreed by Expro’s independent directors, who said yesterday they considered the latest revised offer to be fair and reasonable.
Oil and gas industry service companies such as Expro have benefited as record energy prices prompt oil operators to lift spending on exploration and development.
This has attracted interest from private-equity firms and trade buyers, with Expro a target following other deals in the sector.
Expro, whose chief executive is Aberdonian Graeme Coutts, employs more than 4,000 worldwide, including about 700 in Aberdeen.
It specialises in technology to optimise well flows.