The new company, named Noble Corporation, will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Copenhagen, with the merger potentially closing in mid-2022.
It will be headquartered in Houston, but will also maintain an operating presence in Stavanger to support Norwegian and wider North Sea customers.
The boards and major shareholders have unanimously approved the plan, with the new company providing a fleet of 20 floaters and 19 jackups for benign and harsh environments.
Noble’s chairperson of the board of directors, Charles M. (Chuck) Sledge, said: “The combination of Noble and Maersk Drilling will create a leading offshore driller with global scale, a strong balance sheet and significant free cash flow generation potential.”
Maersk Drilling Chairman Claus V. Hemmingsen added: “With the combination we are creating a differentiated provider of offshore drilling services, which will be able to enhance the customer experience through increased scale, global reach, and industry-leading innovation.
“The combination will…offer investors a unique opportunity to benefit from the market recovery, a robust financial position and strong free cash flow potential…”
Maersk Drilling CEO Jørn Madsen said: “In the short term, the combination will, unfortunately, impact our organisation, but it will also create a larger and stronger company, which will provide future opportunities for growth and new jobs.”
The merger could lead to annual cost synergies of $125 million being realized within two years of closing of the transaction. Initially, the board of directors will comprise three directors appointed by Noble and three more appointed by Maersk Drilling, one of whom will be Hemmingsen.
Sledge will be the chairman of the combined company, with Robert W. Eifler, Noble’s president and CEO, taking on the same roles.