Baker Hughes confirms it is in preliminary talks with Halliburton

Baker Hughes confirmed Thursday it is in preliminary talks with Halliburton regarding a potential business combination in a release.

"Baker Hughes does not intend to comment further on market speculation or disclose any developments unless and until it otherwise deems further disclosure is appropriate or required," the release said.

Earlier on Thursday, Dow Jones reported that Halliburton is in talks to buy Baker Hughes on, citing sources.

The potential deal would combine two of the largest players in the oil field service sector.

Following the news, Baker Hughes shares rose to end Thursday about 15 percent higher, while Halliburton ended lowe.

The S&P energy sector pared losses on the news. It was last down about 1 percent, having tumbled nearly 3 percent earlier.

Baker Hughes has a market cap of more than $22 billion and operates in 80 countries. Halliburton, on the other hand, has a market cap of $47 billion.