UK-based offshore driller Noble has agreed to acquire offshore drilling contractor Pacific Drilling in an all-stock deal.

Under the agreement, shareholders of Pacific Drilling will receive 16.6 million shares of Noble for each share held. This translates to a stake of around 24.9% in the latter at closing.

Upon the completion of the deal, Noble will have a fleet of 24 rigs, which include 11 drillships, one semisubmersible, and 12 jack-ups.

Noble said that the acquisition will have a proforma backlog of around $1.7bn, which is planned to be divided across a range of customers and regions of operation.

Pacific Drilling CEO said: “Bringing together the Pacific Drilling and Noble fleets creates a stronger and more stable combined company with the scale to provide solutions for our clients on a global basis.

“This combination will advance the ongoing recovery in the industry and will allow Pacific Drilling equity holders to fully participate in that recovery.”

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By GlobalData

Post-acquisition, Noble intends to dispose of the Pacific Bora and Pacific Mistral drillships, which are currently owned by Pacific Drilling.

Noble president and CEO Robert Eifler said: “The acquisition of Pacific Drilling will enhance our position in the ultra-deepwater market through the addition of its technologically advanced ultra-deepwater drillships, which are highly complementary to Noble’s existing fleet.

“By bringing these modern drillships into the Noble fleet, we will be able to better serve the needs of our customers globally and to participate in a wider range of drillship tender activity.”

Noble expects the acquisition to strengthen its footprint in the US Gulf of Mexico and enable its re-entry into the West African and Mexican regions.

The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is anticipated to be closed next month.