Expro Said to Attract Halliburton, GE as Arle Weighs Sale

Expro International Group, the oilfield-services business controlled by Arle Capital Partners LLP, has attracted interest from Schlumberger Ltd. and General Electric Co. as the U.K. buyout firm prepares to sell, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.

Halliburton Co., which bid for Expro in 2008, may also look at the asset, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The potential buyers haven’t decided to make an offer for the business, which could fetch about 3 billion pounds ($4.9 billion), they said.

Arle, private-equity firm Alpinvest Partners NV and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which jointly own Expro, are working with Goldman and Deutsche Bank AG to advise on options, the people said. While Arle is soliciting bids for Expro, the London-based buyout firm sees an initial public offering as bringing the highest valuation, two of the people said.

Expro, based in Reading, England, provides exploration and appraisal testing along with drilling technologies and services.

Energy-services companies are attracting interest from potential acquirers as exploration expands in deepwater oil and gas fields and unconventional resources such as shale gas. Irish engineering firm Kentz Corp. last month agreed to pay $435 million for the field-solutions unit of U.S.-based Valerus, allowing it to expand into shale-gas production.

Amec Plc, the second-biggest U.K. oil and gas engineer, agreed earlier this month to buy U.S.-traded Foster Wheeler AG for $3.2 billion to expand foreign and fuel-product business.

A spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs referred questions to Arle, whose spokesman declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Alpinvest declined to comment. A Deutsche Bank spokeswoman declined to comment, as did representatives for Schlumberger, GE and Halliburton.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.