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Halliburton-Baker Hughes Merger Scrutiny Resumed by EU

The scrutiny of Halliburton Company’s HAL $35-billion merger deal with Baker Hughes Inc. BHI has been resumed by the European Union (EU) authorities. Last month, the European regulators stopped the investigation as they wanted more detailed information from both the oilfield services’ players.  

The commission will likely come up with its final decision – of either acceptance or rejection – by Aug 11. Previously, the European authorities said that if the two leading players merge, there will be plenty of opportunities for the combined company to take unfair advantage of the oilfield services market. The primary threats to the market include elimination of competition and rising prices. The merger might also impede innovations in the industry. However, Halliburton, in order to clear regulatory approvals, has been intending to divest sufficient properties from both the firms.  

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block the accord. Investors should know that if the merger somehow materializes, there will be two major players in the oilfield services industry. One will be the combined Halliburton and Baker Hughes and the other will be Schlumberger Limited SLB, the largest oilfield service player.  

If the merger fails it will be bad for Halliburton as the company will have to forcefully pay break-up fees as high as $3.5 billion to Baker Hughes.

Houston, TX-based Halliburton currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), implying that it will perform in line with the broader U.S. equity market over the next one to three months.

A better-ranked player in the energy sector is Vanguard Natural Resources LLC VNR. The stock sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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BAKER-HUGHES (BHI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SCHLUMBERGER LT (SLB): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
HALLIBURTON CO (HAL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
VANGUARD NATURL (VNR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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