Baker Hughes, General Electric expected to merge in 2017

Baker Hughes and General Electric Oil & Gas announced an agreement Oct. 31 that will merge the two companies into Baker Hughes, a GE Company, with GE owning 62.5 percent of the new Baker Hughes. If approved, the deal is expected to close mid-2017, company officials said.

Stephanie Cathcart, global head of external affairs for GE Oil & Gas, said no information is yet available on how the companies’ agreement may affect the Tomball area. Tomball is home to existing Baker Hughes’ facilities—including the Western Hemisphere Education Center estimated to train about 66,000 employees annually—located at the intersection of FM 2978 and FM 2920. GE facilities are also planned for Tomball.

“It’s far too early for us to say how it will affect specific communities,” Cathcart said.

Baker Hughes and General Electric Oil & Gas are working toward a merger expected to close in mid-2017 that will form the “new” Baker Hughes, a GE Company. Baker Hughes and General Electric Oil & Gas are working toward a merger expected to close in mid-2017 that will form the “new” Baker Hughes, a GE Company.[/caption]

Kelly Violette, executive director of the Tomball Economic Development Corporation, said she believes the merger will positively affect Tomball.

“I would say that Tomball is in a good position to benefit from such a merger due to the quality of Baker Hughes’ existing facilities in the city, which should be attractive to GE as they contemplate future [or] consolidated campus locations,” Violette said.

GE’s water and power distribution branch is slated to relocate from The Woodlands to a 38,000-square-foot facility in the Tomball and Business Technology Park, employing about 75 employees. No exact timeline for the relocation has been given.

While no specifics are available, Lorenzo Simonelli, GE Oil & Gas president and CEO, said the merger will yield a more stable company.

“Both companies’ employees will benefit significantly from being part of a larger, stronger company that is positioned for long-term growth,” he said in a statement.

Baker Hughes shareholders and regulatory agencies must approve the deal before it can be finalized, officials said.

A merger agreement between Baker Hughes and fellow energy industry giant Halliburton was terminated in early 2016 after an antitrust lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Should the deal between Baker Hughes and GE be approved, existing Baker Hughes shareholders will receive a one-time cash dividend of $17.50 per share, courtesy of GE’s $7.4 billion contribution, according to a press release.

“With employees of Baker Hughes and GE Oil & Gas coming together, the new company will be an industry leader, well-positioned to compete in the oil and gas industry while pushing the boundaries of innovation for our customers,” Baker Hughes CEO and Chairman Martin Craighead said in a statement.

By Anna Lotz

Editor, Tomball/Magnolia & Conroe/Montgomery

Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor for the Tomball/Magnolia edition. She began covering the communities of Conroe and Montgomery as well in 2020. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.