updated 12/13/2010 10:10:53 AM ET 2010-12-13T15:10:53

U.S. conglomerate GE says it is buying British oil and gas services group Wellstream Holdings PLC for 800 million pounds ($1.3 billion) to bolster its energy unit.

GE said Monday that Wellstream intends to unanimously recommend the deal to shareholders. The company hopes to complete the sale in the first quarter of next year.

Wellstream, which manufactures pipes for the oil and gas sector, has previously rejected two lower offers from GE and had received approaches from other unnamed suitors.

The British company has a big presence in Brazil, where exploration is expanding.

GE says the deal will also enhance its ability to capitalize on growth in Africa and Asia.

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