The family that controls Champion Technologies Inc. is seeking a sale of the closely held company, one of the world’s largest makers of oilfield chemicals, said people with knowledge of the matter.
Descendants of the late Willard M. Johnson, who first bought a stake in Champion in 1959, hired Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. and Lazard Ltd. (LAZ) for advice on a potential divestiture, the people said. The company may be near a deal with a larger competitor that would value Champion at around $2 billion, one of the people said.
Champion competes against some of the largest oilfield- services companies, including Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB), Halliburton Co. (HAL) and Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI), making ingredients that are pumped underground to clean wells and boost production. Ecolab Inc. (ECL) bought rival Nalco Holding Co. for $5.4 billion last year.
A message left for Champion’s chairman, Steve Lindley, and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Amonett wasn’t returned. Representatives of Tudor Pickering and Lazard declined to comment.
Schlumberger, the largest oilfield-services company, expanded in drilling fluids with the $11 billion purchase of Smith International Inc. in 2010, while No. 2 Halliburton bought Multi-Chem Group LLC for $650 million last year to add chemicals for hydraulic fracturing.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Magnablend Inc., another closely held oilfield chemicals company, was seeking a buyer with help from Lazard and might fetch as much as $800 million.
Willard Johnson co-founded a company called Permian Mud Service Inc. that bought a stake in Champion more than five decades ago, according to the company’s website. Johnson’s family owns 80 percent of Permian Mud, according to a study of the oilfield chemicals industry published by Freedonia Group. He died in 2000.
The family behind Champion would be the latest in the oil business to seek to sell a multi-billion-dollar company. The Yates family of New Mexico is seeking a buyer for Yates Petroleum Corp., which may be worth billions of dollars, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. Family-owned Samson Investment Co. of Tulsa, Oklahoma, sold for $7.2 billion to KKR & Co. last year.
By Zachary R. Mider and David Wethe
Courtesy of Bloomberg News