GE in talks to buy Baker Hughes: report

NEW YORK: General Electric is in talks to buy oilfield-services company Baker Hughes in a deal that could be the US industrial giant’s biggest, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

GE had approached Baker Hughes about a takeover, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. Details about the talks could not be learned and the negotiations may not produce an agreement, they said.

Baker Hughes, based in Houston, Texas, has a market value of $23 billion, and could fetch more than $30 billion in a takeover, given the typical premium, the newspaper said.

GE has a market value of $259 billion.

Baker Hughes had struck a deal to be acquired by Halliburton for $34.6 billion in 2014. But the transaction died in May after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block the proposed merger on antitrust grounds.

GE is a sprawling industrial conglomerate with 333,000 full-time employees worldwide. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, the company has businesses in the oil and gas sector, including surface and subsea drilling and production systems, and equipment for floating production platforms.

A takeover of Baker Hughes could dwarf GE’s acquisition of French company Alstom’s power and grid businesses last year for 9.7 billion euros ($10.6 billion).