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Weatherford scraps joint venture, sells a business to Schlumberger

From Reuters - December 29, 2017

HOUSTON (Reuters) - U.S. oilfield services company Weatherford International Plc (WFT.N) on Friday sold a U.S. oil-well business to rival Schlumberger NV for $430 million, abandoning a planned joint venture.

Weatherford has struggled with losses and has been looking to sell units and raise cash to reduce about $7.9 billion in debt. It suffered a $875 million loss on $4.21 billion in revenue for the first nine months of this year.

In March, the company agreed to put its North American pressure pumping and well completions operations into a venture with Schlumberger in exchange for $535 million in cash and a 30 percent stake in the resulting business, called OneStim. The effort was designed to better compete against market leader Halliburton and fast-growing companies such as Keane Group.

On Friday, the joint venture was abruptly called off as Weatherford sold its U.S. pressure pumping assets used to hydraulically fracture shale rock to release trapped oil and gas, and transferred about 100 employees to Schlumberger.

The new deal delivers cash proceeds that enable our company to begin the deleveraging process, Weatherford Chief Executive Mark McCollum said in a statement. Keeping the U.S. and Canadian well-completions operation allows for significant upside potential, he added.

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