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Ensign moves up Trinidad bid deadline; target prefers Precision Drilling offer

Ensign Energy Services Inc. is giving Trinidad Drilling Ltd. shareholders less time to think about its hostile takeover bid. The Calgary-based company is moving up the deadline for acceptance of its $1.68 per share offer made in August to Nov. 27 from Dec. 13. The Ensign Energy Services Inc. logo is seen in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Ensign Energy Services Inc. *MANDATORY CREDIT*

CALGARY — Ensign Energy Services Inc. is giving Trinidad Drilling Ltd. shareholders less time to think about its hostile takeover bid.

The Calgary-based company is moving up the deadline for acceptance of its $1.68 per share offer made in August to Nov. 27 from Dec. 13.

It insists the cash value of its offer of about $470 million now outweighs the all-shares offer by larger Precision Drilling Corp. because its rival’s stock value has fallen by more than 25 per cent since it made its bid on Oct. 4.

Trinidad’s board, however, says it prefers the friendly merger with Precision because its shareholders will own 29 per cent of the resulting company.

It is recommending investors hang on to their shares and vote in favour of the Precision bid at a special meeting on Dec. 11, despite the market value of the bid having dropped from about $540 million to less than $400 million at Friday’s closing price.

Oilfield services analysts have been split on which way shareholders should go but most agree no other bidder is likely to emerge given recently sliding world oil prices and poor prospects for drilling in Canada.

 

Companies mentioned in this article: (TSX:ESI, TSX:TDG, TSX:PD)

The Canadian Press