Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why Did Halliburton Buy an Oil Cleanup Company 8 Days Before the Oil Spill?

There are innumerable bits of information floating around in the battle over the narrative of this national disaster. This one is particularly disturbing. From AOL’s Daily Finance just over a week before the spill:

“…the days of independence have come to an end for Boots & Coots as the company has agreed to sell out to Halliburton (HAL) for $240.4 million.”

M&A in the industrial and oil services sectors is totally normal, but the timing in this case, is not. Boots & Coots sure seems like the perfect company to own if it would soon become necessary to get more involved with some oil disaster (emphasis mine):

Boots & Coots has two core businesses. First, there is Pressure Control, which involves prevention and risk-control services for oil- and gas-well fires and blowouts. A key to this area was the acquisition of John Wright, which developed sophisticated technologies to measure well integrity.

Next, Boots & Coots has a Well Intervention division, which helps enhance production for oil and gas operators. This business is likely to benefit nicely from the trend toward unconventional resource plays (such as extracting energy from shale). Boots & Coots greatly expanded this division with the acquisitions of Oil States International and StassCo.

Does this strike readers as a coincidence? If so, it’s a pretty lucky one for Halliburton.


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