Whether finally seduced by the relief a merger can usher in or surrendering to the security of making a joint venture permanent, the more distressed companies in the oil patch are de-stressing themselves by succumbing to the safety that mergers and acquisitions (M&A) offer. As companies have readjusted to a world where $60 oil can quickly become $40 oil, businesses – particularly the hard-hit, physically challenging services sector – have been watching their dollars dwindle from each bottom line. The biggest companies have seemed safe enough, but there’s been plenty of angst to go around. And so it was startling, but not shocking, in November when Halliburton bought Baker Hughes Inc. in a largely stock-for-stock deal worth $34.6 billion. Somewhat similarly, in recent days, oilfield services giant Schlumberger Ltd. revealed its plan – in a joint press release with joint venture partner Cameron International Corp. – to take over […]