Billionaire John Fredriksen boosted his stake in rig company Seadrill Ltd. after the stock dropped on a market downturn, a longtime adviser left, and amid uncertainty over a Russian deal.
Fredriksen’s Hemen Holding Ltd. yesterday bought 2 million shares in the world’s biggest offshore-rig company by market value, boosting its stake to 115.1 million shares, or 23.34 percent of the total, Seadrill said in a statement. At yesterday’s closing price in New York, the acquisition would have cost $56.8 million.
The purchase shows Fredriksen’s commitment to Seadrill, his most valuable asset, after the company fell more than 20 percent in the past three weeks. The decline is due to a worsening rig market, risk that a $4.25 billion deal with Russia’s OAO Rosneft could fall through because of international sanctions, and the departure from Seadrill’s board of Fredriksen’s top adviser for two decades, Tor Olav Troeim.
Seadrill rose as much as 2.9 percent in Oslo trading, the most since Aug. 11, and gained 0.3 percent to 178.4 kroner as of 10:09 a.m.
In addition to its share holding, Hemen has total return swap agreements with exposure to 3.9 million shares in Seadrill, the company said in the statement. Famatown, which is indirectly controlled by trusts established by Fredriksen, owns call options over an additional 2 million shares.