Candover consortium closes in on Expro

The battle between a private equity consortium and oil giant Halliburton for the services business is drawing to a close as Candover and its team sweeten its agreed bid.

The Candover consortium closing in on Expro, a FTSE 250 oil and gas services company, has delivered a potential knock-out offer by raising its bid to 1.615 pence per Expro share valuing the business at approximately £1.806 billion.

The revised bid trumps a £1.705 billion bid from Halliburton, the oil giant and has the recommendation of Expro’s independent board and shareholders, who voted at an EGM on 9 June.

Candover will take a more than 40 percent stake in Expro. Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, the captive arm of the investment bank, will take a similar stake, and AlpInvest Partners, the Dutch investment firm, is looking to acquire the remainder.

Expro measures, improves, controls and processes the flow of oil and gas wells.

Halliburton has been in due diligence with Expro since Candover agreed its £14.35 per share bid for the company.

The Candover consortium has assembled a large syndicate of banks to support its bid. RBS, Lloyds TSB, HSBC, HBoS, DNB Nor, the Norwegian financial services group and the Royal Bank of Canada, which provided slightly less than £1 billion in debt, according to Candover.

Last year Candover managed to secure victory in one of the more competitive bidding wars for a listed company since the credit crunch began. It eventually managed to buy Stork, the Dutch conglomerate, for €1.5 billion ($2.4 billion) by partnering with a consortium of Icelandic rival bidders, which had built up a blocking stake in the company.