Image courtesy of Halliburton.

Services giant Halliburton is in early talks to acquire rival firm Baker Hughes.

Baker Hughes confirmed Friday that it has “engaged in preliminary discussions with Halliburton.”

Talks are reportedly moving quickly although there has been no official signal that the companies are close to inking a deal, the Wall Street Journal said.

But an anonymous source close to the deal told Bloomberg that an agreement could be forged by as early as next week.

It is unclear if international regulators would approve a merger.

Neither company has disclosed a possible price for a deal.

Texas-based Baker Hughes has a current market value of about $22 billion.

Shares in the company jumped 25 percent Thursday on rumors of the talks.

Halliburton, also based in Texas, and Baker Hughes are the second and third largest oil service providers in the world by revenue.

Analysts said a merger could help the companies weather slumping oil prices and the wave of capital expenditure cutbacks coming from upstreams.

Halliburton booked a record $8.7 billion in third quarter revenue, a 16 percent increase over the third quarter last year.

Baker Hughes pulled in record revenues of $6.25 billion for the third quarter quarter, up 5 percent over the second quarter.


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