Weatherford International shares fell sharply on Tuesday after the oilfield services firm announced a deal to sell fracking assets to Schlumberger that are worth $105 million less than what it would have received under the companies’ original joint venture agreement.
The revised deal calls for Schlumberger to acquire Weatherford’s U.S. pressure pumping and pump-down perforating assets for $430 million. The world’s largest oilfield services company had agreed in March to pay Weatherford $535 million as part of the now-aborted OneStim joint venture.
Weatherford would have taken a 30% stake in OneStim, potentially adding to its earnings. In trading Tuesday, its shares fell 17% to $3.46 while Schlumberger shares jumped 3.1% to $69.52.
CEO Mark McCollum said the sale to Schlumberger “represents another step on our path toward building a solid and strong company and unlocking the potential that exists within Weatherford” and would “lead to a leaner organization with lower debt and significantly higher profit margins.”
“In addition, retaining 100 percent of our leading land-based multistage Completions business allows for significant upside potential for Weatherford,” he added.
But investors apparently focused on the lower value of the deal and the loss of potential income from the joint venture in the booming pressure pumping market.
“Early feedback from the buy side (energy hedge funds, predominantly) purports that this is a negative outcome for [Weatherford] in that it is receiving less cash than originally contemplated, and is releasing the additional upside in its frac business had the [joint venture] been finalized,” investment bank Simmons & Co. wrote in a client note.
As Reuters reports, pressure pumping and completions businesses have been a bright spot for U.S. oilfield services companies still recovering from the crash in oil prices. In December, Keane Group announced a $115 million investment to expand fleet, owing to high demand and improving economics.
At the time the joint venture was announced, Weatherford had a fracking pump capacity of 800,000 to 1 million horsepower, while Schlumberger had 2 million. The partnership was expected to make Schlumberger more competitive with Halliburton, the world’s largest provider of fracking services.