Houston-based Sidewinder Drilling will buy Fort Worth-based Union Drilling for $242 million in cash, or $6.50 a share, and likely consolidate operations in Houston if the deal concludes, the companies announced today. The offer is a 27 percent premium over the price of Union Drilling's shares (ticker: UDRL) on Monday. The companies said Union Drilling's board is backing the deal, which requires acceptance of the offer by 62.5 percent of Union's outstanding shares, and that Sidewinder has already won the backing of shareholders of 51 pecent of Union's shares. The deal is expected to close in the year's fourth quarter, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals. Union Drilling, which moved its headquarters to Fort Worth from Pennsylvania in 2006, has 53 rigs, plus two under construction. Sidewinder, which is controlled by Avista Capital Partners, was formed in April 2011 by former executives of Scorpion Offshore.
-- Jim Fuquay