Baker Hughes Inc. and General Electric Co. said Monday they have reached tentative agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to allow their mega-merger to be completed by mid-year.
The merger, estimated to be worth more than $32 billion, would create the second largest oilfield services operator after Schlumberger Ltd. GE would be the majority shareholder in the revamped Baker Hughes.
Under a proposed consent decree filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, GE agreed to sell divest GE Water & Process Technologies once the merger is completed. GE had said in March it would sell the water unit to Suez for $3.4 billion. No other remedies are required by the proposed consent decree. The companies already have been cleared unconditionally by the European Commission to complete the transaction.
Baker Hughes has scheduled a shareholder vote for June 30. The companies continue to target a mid-year close.
Also Monday, Jeff Immelt, 61, who was to become chairman of the combination, said he would retire effective Aug. 1. Current GE Oil & Gas chief Lorenzo Simonelli is to become CEO/president of the combined company while Baker Hughes Chairman/CEO Martin Craighead was named vice chairman.
Immelt, GE's chairman and CEO since 2011, is being succeeded by John Flannery, 55, a 30-year GE veteran who has run the the health care unit since 2014 and previously worked in the financial business unit. In a meeting with employees, Flannery said he wanted to start "with a fresh look around the company overall. I want to go through a deep review with a sense of urgency."