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Ensco, the UK-based drilling services company, is buying rival Pride International, a specialist in deepwater projects, in a cash-and-stock deal worth about $7.3bn to create the second-largest offshore driller, reports the FT. The deal gives a boost to deepwater drilling, which has suffered delays in new US permits after BP’s oil spill last April in the Gulf of Mexico – a key deepwater frontier area. SeaDrill, a Norwegian drilling contractor, owns 9.4% of Pride, but share prices on Monday suggested investors did not expect it to launch a rival bid. Pride’s shares rose 16% in New York afternoon trading to $39.80, just below the $40.36-a- share offer. The combined company, to retain the Ensco name, will have 74 rigs – behind Transocean with 138. Lex says that “pride came before the fall” for Ensco’s shareholders who dumped the stock on Monday, though the deal “looks pricier than it is”. The WSJ adds that SeaDrill reacted coolly to the deal and said it would “keep its options open”. Read more