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By Ole Petter Skonnord
OSLO, April 23 (Reuters) - Oilfield services group Seadrill SDRL.OL wants talks with U.S. driller Pride International PDE.N on a strategic transaction and has no hostile aims towards it, Seadrill said on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Houston-based Pride International said Oslo-listed Seadrill had taken a near 10 percent stake in it, and said it disclosed the holding against Seadrill’s wishes in the interest of other shareholders.
“Seadrill has written to Pride and asked for a meeting to discuss potential strategic benefits for both parties of a transaction between the two companies,” Seadrill said on Wednesday.
On Tuesday it had said the stake was a financial investment.
Pride said on Tuesday that Seadrill has a 9.9 percent stake in it through share purchases and forward agreements.
Seadrill said that it owns 200,000 Pride International common shares and forward agreements to buy 16.3 million, which at Pride’s Tuesday closing price have a gross value of $708 million, including $140 million in unrealised gains.
Seadrill board member Tor Olav Troim, right-hand man of Seadrill’s main owner John Fredriksen, told Reuters that Seadrill had no hostile intentions but wants to work with it.
“We have not set any agenda yet,” Troim said.
“What we have said so far is that we think we can do something strategic, but that we will not do anything that all parties do not agree is a good deal,” he said.
“That goes for both parties,” said Troim, a director of many other Fredriksen companies. Fredriksen’s holding company Hemen has a third of Seadrill’s shares.
Seadrill shares traded down 0.8 percent at 154.75 crowns by 1131 GMT, valuing the company at about 63.4 billion Norwegian crowns ($12.79 billion). (Reporting by Ole Petter Skonnord; Writing by John Acher; Editing by Quentin Bryar)