EU stops Halliburton, Baker Hughes merger over missing information

March 21, 2016 | Mergers, Acquisitions & JVs, North Sea & Western Europe

London, UK | – Halliburton Corporation’s bid to buy oil-services rival Baker Hughes Inc. was stalled for a third time by European Union regulators who said the companies have once again failed to supply key information about their proposed deal.

The European Commission said it stopped the clock on the review earlier this month after it hadn’t received data it was seeking, following a similar delay last month. Halliburton already faced months of delays after last July’s EU rejection of an initial merger filing because crucial details were missing.

“To comply with merger deadlines, parties must supply the necessary information for the investigation in a timely fashion,” Ricardo Cardoso, an EU spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. “Failure to do so will lead the commission to stop the clock. ”

Halliburton agreed to buy Baker Hughes in November 2014 in a cash-and-stock deal that at the time was valued at about $35 billion. The transaction was scheduled to close last year, but has been delayed as the companies seek to resolve antitrust concerns in the U.S. and Europe.

Halliburton has been adding assets to the list of businesses it plans to sell to gain antitrust approval. The company plans to divest Baker’s offshore drilling-and-completions fluids division and the bulk of Baker’s completion systems, people familiar with the matter said last month.

The EU merger authority opened an in-depth probe into the deal on Jan. 12, citing concerns that combining the second- and third-largest suppliers to oil exploration companies may impede competition and increase prices. It identified more than 30 product lines with potential competition problems.

Halliburton and Baker Hughes didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.