Fredriksen Boosts Seadrill Stake After Shares Slump

Seadrill Semi-Rig West Pegasus
Photo of Seadrill’s West Pegasus, via Captain Freeman

By Mikael Holter

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) — Billionaire John Fredriksen bought shares in Seadrill Ltd. for $33.5 million, boosting his stake in the offshore driller to 23.9 percent as the stock fell close to the lowest in more than five years amid a slump in oil prices.

Hemen Holdings Ltd., indirectly controlled by trusts established by Fredriksen and the biggest owner of Seadrill, bought 2.7 million shares at $12.4 apiece on Dec. 5, the Hamilton, Bermuda-based rig company said in a statement. Seadrill dropped as much as 4.5 percent to $11.78 in New York that day, the lowest price since May 2009, and closed at $12.32.

Seadrill and a series of other oil-service companies have been hit by a drop in oil prices since June that has weakened demand, leading to dividend cuts, write-downs and takeovers. Seadrill, one of the world’s biggest offshore drillers, has fallen 36 percent since it suspended dividends on Nov. 26.

The shares rose as much as 8.2 percent in Oslo today, the most since Feb. 26, 2010, and traded at 91.4 kroner as of 9:28 a.m. local time.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg.