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Another potential buyer reportedly eyes Halliburton, Baker Hughes assets

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Another buyer reportedly is interested in acquiring assets that Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc. are trying to divest to help move their mega-deal along.

Washington, D.C.-based private-equity firm Carlyle Group LP has thrown its hat into the ring, according to the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, both citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

The WSJ reports that the assets could be valued at more than $7 billion.

Halliburton and Carlyle declined to comment to Reuters. Baker Hughes and General Electric did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

The Houston-based oil field services companies’ $34.6 billion deal has faced significant regulatory scrutiny since it was announced in November 2014. Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit to try to stop the deal, “alleging that the transaction threatens to eliminate competition, raise prices and reduce innovation in the oilfield services industry.”

The companies have proposed selling billions of dollars’ worth of assets but have yet to secure a buyer. Connecticut-based General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) reportedly has been in talks to acquire the assets.

Even if Halliburton and Baker Hughes do reach a deal to divest a significant amount of assets, it might not be enough to appease the DOJ. However, the companies previously said they plan to seek full judicial review of the transaction, arguing that the acquisition is “pro-competitive and will allow the companies’ customers to benefit from a more flexible, innovative and efficient oilfield services company.”

Halliburton and Baker Hughes are the seventh- and eighth-largest Houston-based public companies, based on their 2014 revenue of $32.87 billion and $24.55 billion, respectively. They are the second- and third-largest oil field services companies, but the combined company would still be No. 2 behind Schlumberger Ltd.


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