CUSTOMER HIGHLIGHT: General Electric to combine oil and gas ops with Baker Hughes

General Electric, banking on a recovery in oil prices, said on Monday it would merge its oil and gas business with No. 3 oilfield services provider Baker Hughes.

The new entity would be controlled by GE. Under the terms of the agreement, Baker Hughes shareholders will receive a special one-time cash dividend of $17.50 per share and 37.5 percent of the new company. GE will own 62.5 percent of the new company.

The companies said on Monday the deal was expected to add 4 cents to GE's earnings per share by 2018 and 8 cents by 2020. The transaction is expected to close in mid-2017.

The deal comes after Baker Hughes's planned merger with bigger rival Halliburton fell through in May due to opposition from regulators. That deal was valued at $34.6 billion when it was announced in November 2014.

The combination of GE Oil & Gas and Baker Hughes will create the second-largest player in the oilfield services industry in terms of revenue after Schlumberger.

The GE-Baker Hughes deal comes at a time when North American oil and gas producers are putting rigs back to work after a near freeze in activity caused by a slump in oil prices that began mid-2014. Global oil prices have risen by a third this year to trade near $50 a barrel.

GE said last week it believed the oil market had bottomed, but that demand for the gear the company makes would take longer to recover, probably until after the first half of next year.

GE's oil and gas business, which makes blowout preventers, pumps and compressors used in exploration and production, accounted for 14 percent of the company's total revenue in 2015.

Baker Hughes supplies a variety of oilfield services, products, technology and systems.

"This transaction creates an industry leader, one that is ideally positioned to grow in any market," GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said in a statement.

"Oil and gas customers demand more productive solutions. This can only be achieved through technical innovation and service execution, the hallmarks of GE and Baker Hughes."

Lorenzo Simonelli, chief executive and president of GE Oil & Gas, will be CEO of the new company. Immelt will be chairman and Baker Hughes CEO Martin Craighead will be vice chairman.

The companies said on Monday the deal was expected to add 4 cents to GE's earnings per share by 2018 and 8 cents by 2020.

GE and Baker Hughes had said on Thursday they were in talks over potential partnerships. The Wall Street Journal first reported that the companies were in discussions.

Baker Hughes shares were up 12 percent at $66.20 in premarket trading on Monday. The stock had closed at $54.55 on Thursday ahead of the Journal report.

GE's shares were up 0.3 percent at $29.32 in light trading.