* Seadrill ups Scorpion offer to NOK 40.50/shr from NOK 40
* Ensco says won’t go beyond NOK 40
(Adds Ensco dropping out, fresh Seadrill offer, share prices)
By Gwladys Fouche and Richard Solem
OSLO, May 28 (Reuters) - Rig firm Seadrill (SDRL.OL) is the only bidder left in the running for Scorpion Offshore SCORE.OL, having raised its offer twice on Friday, forcing rival Ensco International (ESV.N) to pull out.
Ensco said it would abandon its takeover attempt after Seadrill advisor Pareto Securities said Seadrill would increase its bid to 40.50 Norwegian crowns ($6.34) per share.
The companies had been engaged in a bidding war for the control of the Oslo-listed owner of jack-up drilling rigs.
It was still unclear if Seadrill’s conditions of reaching 50 percent ownership in Scorpion had been fulfilled.
Ensco launched a recommended tender offer on Thursday aimed at winning control of Scorpion Offshore, trumping an earlier bid from Seadrill, which owns about 40 percent of Scorpion. [ID:nLDE64Q04J]
Seadrill raised its bid twice, with an all-cash offer valuing Scorpion at $567 million. Ensco advisor Arctic Securities said Ensco would not go beyond 40 crowns.
While oilfield services deals have hogged much of the attention in the past few quarters, bankers and investors are increasingly scanning the M&A horizon for offshore drilling rigs as that industry steadily pulls out of a slump. [ID:nN01243805]
Earlier this month, Seadrill, controlled by Norwegian shipping tycoon John Fredriksen, launched an offer of 36 crowns per share, with the world’s No.2 deepwater-driller saying it wanted to try to get to 100 percent in Scorpion. [ID:nN15244177]
Seadrill shares closed down 3.4 percent in Oslo trade on Friday, while Ensco’s fell by 3.7 percent in New York at 1652 GMT. Scorpion shared closed at 40 crowns in Oslo trade.
Ensco was also advised by investment bank Goldman Sachs (GS.N). (Editing by Will Waterman) ($1=6.390 Norwegian Crown)