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Halliburton, Baker Hughes expand window for a deal

Shares in Baker Hughes and Halliburton were briefly halted Tuesday as the companies announced that they had extended the time period for closing a proposed merger.

The companies said in a statement that they expect their timing agreement with the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division would expire without reaching a settlement or the DOJ initiating litigation to block the transaction. The two oilfield service providers said it was unlikely they would be able to settle with the U.S. Department of Justice by Tuesday, the earliest closing date for the deal, and they extended the deadline for closing the proposed merger to April 30, 2016.

"The DOJ has informed the companies that it does not believe that the remedies offered to date are sufficient to address the DOJ's concerns, but acknowledged that they would assess further proposals and look forward to continued cooperation from the parties in their continuing investigation," the statement said.

Halliburton's proposal to acquire Baker Hughes, first announced last year, was originally expected to close in late November, but Halliburton's acting chief financial officer said last week that the deal would likely to close in 2016 as talks with U.S. regulators continued.

The companies' stocks reopened around 3:10 p.m. ET after an approximately 15-minute halt.

Read More Halliburton strikes deal to buy Baker Hughes

The companies said in their Tuesday statement that they continue to support the proposed merger.

"Halliburton and Baker Hughes believe that the proposed merger is good for the industry and customers. The merger is expected to create a strong company and achieve substantial efficiencies enabling it to compete aggressively to provide efficient, innovative and low-cost services," the statement said. "Completion of the transaction would allow customers to operate more cost-effectively, which is increasingly important due to the current state of the energy industry and oil and gas prices."

Baker Hughes and Halliburton said that had "engaged in extensive and productive discussions with the DOJ" throughout the last year.

The oilfield service companies had agreed to divest $5.2 billion in overlapping businesses to address concerns that the merger would lead to higher prices and less innovation.

The deal has so far won regulatory approvals in South Africa, Turkey, Colombia, Canada and Kazakhstan, but is awaiting approval in countries such as Australia and Brazil.

The European Commission has been reviewing the proposed deal since Nov. 27 when Halliburton re-filed a request for approval after an earlier application was dismissed as providing insufficient data.

The commission's preliminary scrutiny is scheduled to end on Jan. 12.

Halliburton was to meet EU antitrust regulators this week and would likely be told about competition worries over its bid for Baker Hughes, Reuters reported on Friday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

—Reuters contributed to this report.