Companies Baker Hughes Inc., Houston, signed a definitive agreement with Petrolite Corp., St. Louis, and its principal shareholder, Wm. S. Barnickel & Co., to acquire Petrolite in a stock swap valued at about $692 million. Terms call for a tax-free common stock exchange in which 11.36 million Petrolite shares will be converted into Baker Hughes common, based on an average Baker Hughes $61/share price during a 10-day period shortly before closing. Assuming all approvals, closing is expected in second or third quarter 1997. Petrolite is to be merged into Baker's Performance Chemicals division. British Gas plc effectively ceased to exist Feb. 17 when...

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