* Offers $6.50 per share; a premium of 6 pct to Union's
* Union shares trade above the offer price premarket
Sept 25 Sidewinder Drilling Inc, controlled by
private equity firm Avista Capital Partners, plans to buy Union
Drilling Inc for $139 million to tap into rising
exploration and production activity in North American shale
Sidewinder's $6.50-per-share offer represents a premium of 6
percent to Union's Monday close of $6.13 on the Nasdaq.
Union Drilling shares were trading above the offer price at
The transaction needs at least 67.2 percent of Union
Drilling's outstanding stock to be tendered to the offer for the
deal to close, the companies said.
Sidewinder has received support from Union Drilling
stockholders representing 51 percent of the outstanding shares.
The deal, which the companies said is expected to close in
the fourth quarter, values Union Drilling at $242 million.
Oil and gas drillers have ramped up activity using
technologies such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal
drilling to unlock vast supplies of oil and gas.
Houston-based Sidewinder, which owns and operates a fleet of
land rigs, will fund the deal with debt.
RBC Capital Markets is advising the Fort Worth, Texas-based
Union Drilling, which owns 53 rigs, including 2 under
Union Drilling shares have gained about 81 percent of their
value over the past two months.