More Rig Wrangling

With offshore dayrates booming, everyone wants a piece of today's existing rig fleet. Two moves on Tuesday merit a mention.

Speculation always swirls around Norwegian newcomer Seadrill. When Noble's (NYSE: NE  ) chief executive abandoned ship, Seadrill was suspected to be a suitor. The takeover rumors were no more than scuttlebutt, but on Tuesday, Seadrill proved that it's still on the prowl.

Pride International (NYSE: PDE  ) has always been viewed as takeover bait. A former executive oversaw such poor execution that I wouldn't touch his new endeavor. Of course, the firm has long had a "poison pill" in place to deter aggressive acquisitors. In light of a revelation that Seadrill has snapped up just less than 10% of Pride, the latter firm has tightened the screws, lowering the threshold to 10% before punitive "shareholder rights" are triggered.

I've previously pointed out Pride's failure to hit the margins of Noble or Diamond Offshore (NYSE: DO  ) . You can add the excellent ENSCO International (NYSE: ESV  ) to that pair. If Pride does get taken out, you won't hear any complaints from me.

Speaking of takeouts, remember when DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS  ) went off the deep end and took a stake in Ocean Rig? The curious company has caught full-blown rig fever, making a mandatory bid for the entire business, which is valued a bit north of $2.2 billion. Judging by DryShips' share price jump, investors appear to approve of the move. It's really not so strange to see a different market reaction this time around -- whoever didn't like DryShips' sudden strategic shift has probably bailed by now.

So there you have it, just another day in the deepwater drama. I'd give you a preview of the next episode, but your guess as to what's around the corner is as good as mine.

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