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Little change expected after Sooner takeover

Keywords: Tags  Sooner, OCTG, oil country tubular goods, Marubeni-Itochu Steel, MISI, Oil States International, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Market sources are expecting little change at Sooner Inc. after its takeover by Japanese trading firm Marubeni-Itochu Steel Inc. (MISI).

"As long as the top people stay, I don’t see any major changes," one trader said following the announcement that MISI had reached an agreement to buy the U.S. oil country tubular goods distributor for $600 million (, Sept. 9).

Sources said that Houston-based Sooner had been operating successfully for a number of years, so significant changes likely would not be in MISI’s interest. "I would guess that if they’re smart, they’ll let Sooner run the business the way they have," one southern distributor source said.

Sources said that Oil States International Inc. had been looking to sell Sooner for about a year as it is facing shareholder pressure to spin off some of its businesses, while MISI, a joint venture between Marubeni Corp. and Itochu Corp., was looking to expand its presence in the domestically sourced pipe market.

"It had to do with maybe expanding (MISI’s) ability to sell domestically in this country and being able to sell domestic product," the southern distributor source said.

The trader estimated that more than 80 percent of Sooner’s supply comes from U.S. mills.

MISI and Sooner did not return requests for comment.

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