Not wasting any time following recent Chapter 11 bankruptcies, Noble Corp. and Pacific Drilling Co. LLC announced plans to merge on March 25.

In a joint release, the two providers of offshore drilling services said they had entered into a merger agreement for Noble Corp. to acquire Houston-based Pacific Drilling in an all-stock transaction that would give Pacific Drilling’s shareholders roughly 25% equity ownership of the pro-forma company.

The transaction is a step in the right direction for the deepwater rig industry, according to analysts with Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. (TPH) who expect more consolidation in the space.

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